New Campaign Assists Vermont Horse Owners Affected by Irene

A newly launched campaign in Vermont hopes to assist owners affected by the storm care for their horses.
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Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene battered the Eastern Seaboard, a clearer picture of the damage sustained to Vermont’s horse industry is emerging. However, the full extent of the damage to the state’s equine population is still unknown as horse owners start to pick up the pieces, some with the help of a newly launched campaign in Vermont.

"We’re still assessing the damage," said Jennifer Lavalley, a Registration & Licensing Specialist at the Vermont Department of Agriculture. "Things are coming in case by case. We’re asking people to report damages to the USDA Farm Serves Agency, and we’re just starting to mobilize teams to get out to the farms.

"Everyone was dealing with the human emergencies–the dire emergencies–first off. We’re just able to start getting out there between yesterday and today. We don’t have a full picture of the overall impact on our horse industry."

Lavalley said that while the department had not yet received any reports of serious injuries or fatalities to horses in Vermont, several horses were displaced in the storm. She added that all the displaced horses she’d heard of had since found shelter

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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