The National Horse Center, which is a collection of two dozen national and regional equine organizations located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., together with the park are sending out a plea for items to help the horses and horsemen who are victims of Hurricane Katrina. "Countless images of suffering people and animals have bludgeoned our consciences in the past week, and we have all felt rather helpless," said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. "Now it's time for the 'Horse Capital of the World' to step up to the plate and do something. In no way are we diminishing the first priority of helping the people who have been affected by the hurricane, but we have received numerous calls and email from people who want to know what they can do to help the animals in that region and in particular, the horses. One of our objectives at the Kentucky Horse Park is to help promote equine welfare, so we are honored to be working alongside the folks at the National Horse Center to meet the urgent needs of these horses and horsemen." The National Horse Center release noted that carriage horses, mounted police horses, racehorses, show horses and pets have suffered a similar fate as their owners. The animals who have survived are displaced, injured, hungry and sick. Many are still awaiting escape from the floodwaters and in frantic need of rescue efforts. Spearheading the effort is Remi Bellocq, CEO of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which is located at the Kentucky Horse Park. "Last week, our office started receiving desperate calls for help from the horsemen of Louisiana and Mississippi," he said. "These people are in deep trouble and so are their horses. Entire farms have been completely destroyed and many are still under water. It is our personal and professional obligation to do whatever it takes to ease their suffering. Our organization is all about horsemen helping horsemen, so we're collecting items for horses and horse people which will be shipped immediately to Louisiana Downs in Shreveport, Louisiana for distribution to the horse owners and caretakers in the region." Items which are needed for horses include feed, grain, bedding (shavings and wood chips), Bute, Banamine, Gentocin, Dormosedan, first aid supplies such as Furacin, wraps, standing bandages, hydrogen peroxide, Vetwrap, cotton sheeting, antibiotic cream, etc. They also need lead ropes, halters, stall webbings, hay bags, buckets, hoses, double-sided snaps, duct tape, fly spray and bottles, pitchforks, muck buckets, grooming supplies, hoof picks, etc. (For the convenience of those who would like to donate sweet feed and grain, it can be purchased from Dever's at the Kentucky Horse Park and loaded directly on to the truck.) Donated items for other pets will also be accepted, such as dog food, cat food and cat litter. Items being requested for horsemen include helmets, boots, flak jackets, exercise saddles, bridles, saddle pads and girths, so they can get back to making a living. In addition, toiletries, baby items such as baby food, diapers, blankets, bottle liners and non-perishable food items, household supplies, bathroom supplies and cleaning supplies are needed. They have also requested linens, clothing, folding chairs and cooking supplies. Donations may be dropped off at the Kentucky Horse Park beginning Thursday, Sept. 8, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., every day until two semi-trucks are filled.
Lexington Cartage (owned by the Young family of Overbrook Farm) has donated the use of their trucks, drivers and fuel to get the items to Louisiana and beyond. Hall of Fame Jockey Chris McCarron will be on hand at various times throughout the day Thursday to meet with the media and the public.