Horses Impacted by Eastern Kentucky Flooding

13 counties were declared federal disaster areas, and efforts are being made to help the horses in need.
Please login

No account yet? Register


Flooding in Eastern Kentucky, July 2022
In addition to compromising horses’ homes, the flooding destroyed hay stored for the upcoming winter. | Courtesy Bernice Amburgey

At the end of July, officials declared 13 Eastern Kentucky counties federal disaster areas after catastrophic flooding devastated the region. The immediate emergency response was focused on rescuing and protecting the humans involved. Now, while the primary focus is still on human welfare, efforts are underway to ensure affected horses are being cared for and have the resources they need.

Sarah Coleman, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC), told The Horse, “The Horse Council went through and contacted every county through the extension offices, who are very tied in with the horse owners. We had four counties who said they have no horses affected, six counties whom we are working with very closely, and three other counties we have not heard back from–they are still very entrenched in the human welfare side of it.”

On Thursday, Aug. 11, Coleman helped coordinate delivery of 400 small square bales and 22 tons of feed to the counties in need. With the aid of Appalachian Horse Project’s Bernice Amburgey, they organized supplies at three pickup locations.

“Many of the roads are still impassible for larger trucks and trailers,” said Amburgey. “So it’s been extremely helpful to have a drop-off location where people can come and pick up supplies they need.”

Coleman said working with the Appalachian Horse Project has helped ensure the horses that need help are getting it. She said it’s “very helpful to have someone who is eyes on the ground and knows what is going on and that the people taking the goods are truly in need.”

Hay for Eastern Kentucky flood victims
Small bales of hay are currently in high demand, as they can be easily transported to the horses who need them. | Courtesy Sarah Coleman

Bringing in hay and grain to feed the horses is the main priority; however, Coleman said the concern is shifting to the increased risk of vector-borne diseases. The KHC has worked closely with Fernanda Camargo, DVM, PhD, from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and other local equine organizations to secure vaccine donations to ensure flood-affected horses are protected. Merck, Zoetis, and Boehringer Ingelheim have provided donations, and Neogen and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute have donated needles and syringes.

Tick prevention and fly protection, such as fly spray, are also in high demand. Thus far, Pyranha, Absorbine, and Neogen have donated fly spray, but requests for these donations are ongoing.

Unfortunately, said Coleman, the flooding damaged many storage facilities in the region, meaning storing large quantities of supplies is not currently an option. “Some need halters and lead ropes and buckets, but we don’t need 200 of those things,” she said, because they have no place to keep the excess.

Because of the limited storage, Coleman said the process of making sure the impacted horses are cared for is a marathon, not a sprint. Her team is making plans to “bring loads of hay down in September and October to keep things going and in November before it gets cold.” Much of the hay stored for winter was destroyed, so making sure owners have enough to get through the upcoming year is imperative. Amburgey and Coleman are focusing on providing small square bales, which are easier to transport than larger bales.

Safe living conditions for the horses is also a concern. Amburgey said they have a “running list of possible placements for horses in need. We’re thankful for these offers, our community is very close-knit. The horses in need of temporary homes and pastures have been able to be relocated often just down the road or in the same county.”

“At this point we are aware of less than 200 horses that have been affected,” Coleman said. Amburgey added that the count “continues to rise as people gain access to roads and drives that have previously been washed out and begin coming to drop-off locations for supplies.”

For those who are not local but want to help, Coleman encouraged making monetary donations through the Kentucky Horse Council. She said all donations with a memo stating the funds are for aiding in the flood relief will go toward those horses.

Donations have been coming in strong in Kentucky and nationally. “There is nothing like the horse community to rally when there’s a crisis,” Coleman said.


Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What signs does your horse show when he has gastric ulcers? Please check all that apply.
7 votes · 14 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!