Helping Horses During the Pandemic

Horse and Rider|Summer 2020

Helping Horses During the Pandemic
Hearts, Hope and Hay
Laurel Scott and Colleen Fitzpatrick

When COVID-19 swept through the United States this spring, the toll on human life and the economy soon followed. As hospitals sprang into action, businesses shuttered and the scramble for provisions began, animal rescue organizations started bracing for the worst, knowing that surrenders and possible starvation weren’t far behind.

At Drifter’s Hearts of Hope, a 501(c)(3) equine rescue in Franktown, Colorado, Jacqui Avis and Rachelle Nye sought to head this problem off at the pass. As president and director of fundraising for this group, they knew better than most that it’s seldom cheap to feed or care for horses, having rescued more than 460 to date.

“We had experienced an increase in owner surrender requests [people who ask to relinquish ownership of a horse to the rescue] and had seen a decrease in people interested in adopting new horses,” explained Colleen Fitzpatrick, the group’s director of community outreach. “In seeing how the COVID-19 financial impact was affecting the horse community, we set to work on our ‘COVID-19 Equine Assistance Program.’”

The idea was simple: Horse owners dealing with COVID-related hardships could submit an online application for emergency assistance. “The goal of the program is to keep the horses well-fed at home while their owners navigate these uncharted waters,” Fitzpatrick continued. “In this way, BY the ?? rescues are able to continue focusing on owner surrenders with the greatest needs and help additional horses, as well. This provides a bit of a cushion to the horse owners who have been hit hard financially due to the crisis, and gives them some time to get back on their feet.”

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Summer 2020