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.

The campaign Lavalley is overseeing was launched almost inadvertently, but is helping to fulfill the needs of owners whose properties were damaged in the storm.

"We heard of three draft horses who had been displaced, and the person housing them didn’t have enough feed for them," she explained. "All of the horses’ owner’s barn and feed had been swept away. We were trying to get (help for) that on