Horse Owners’ Needs Still Urgent after Katrina and Rita

It’s a common trend–people don’t break out the checkbooks months after a disaster event as readily as they do immediately after the crisis. Time passes, other calamities arise, and well-meaning donors change their focus. The salty water drowned

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It’s a common trend–people don’t break out the checkbooks months after a disaster event as readily as they do immediately after the crisis. Time passes, other calamities arise, and well-meaning donors change their focus. The salty water drowned pastures in Louisiana and Mississippi months ago, but the needs of horse owners in those areas left incapacitated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita remain critical, according to area residents and veterinarians. Just about all horse owners on the Gulf Coast needs quality square bales of hay and good horse feed.


Ky Mortensen of the Louisiana State University Equine Health Studies Program has been corresponding with several veterinarians on shortages in Vermilion Parish. He said one veterinarian “confirmed that the horses in this area have no pasture, hay is like gold down there, and that the vaccines would help.


“The biggest problem is that the folks down there are really suffering a financial burden due to all of the losses they have incurred,” Mortensen added. “The salt content of the pastures is still quite high and no grass is growing. They need hay to support their herds, and they simply don’t have the money to purchase hay and vaccines for all of the horses under their care.”


Andrew Granger, county agent with the LSU Ag Center, said Vermilion Parish horse owners are currently trying to get about 800 horses through the winter. He did the math and thinks that about 6,400 square bales of good-quality hay are in order, since it will be mid-March before grass should begin to come back

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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