Equestrian organizations in the Cayman Islands, the Americas and Canada have joined to help provide hurricane relief for horses on Caribbean islands affected by the recent storms.

The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation, Equestrian Canada, U.S. Equestrian and the Pan American Equestrian Confederation have set up the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund, a fundraising and equine relief effort for horses affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation became aware of the need for equine hurricane relief after Irma, when the Cayman Islands Humane Society passed along an urgent request for horse feed from a veterinarian in Tortola, BVI, a press release states.

“Realizing that the cost of providing feed and supplies to horses located in the British Virgin Islands would be more than it could afford, the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation turned to its counterparts in the Pan American Equestrian Confederation for help. The response was immediately positive, and the foundation for the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund was formed. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean, increasing the need for the fund,” the press release states.

“We intend to take direct action as well as to partner with other animal/equine welfare organizations to deliver the most broad, effective, sustainable and cost-effective response possible within our available funding,” said the initiative’s co-organizer, Mark Samuel, who is chairman of Fédération Equestre Internationale’s Group IV, which comprises Canada, the U.S., Antigua, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Virgin Islands.

The fund organizers said their efforts are focusing on the Caribbean, where there is an “urgent need for hay and feed, potable water, vet supplies, veterinary care, fencing and portable stalls.”

Organizers said that horses on St. Thomas, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, Tortola, Barbuda and other islands “are in dire need of help.”

“While the human toll is massive, one of the goals of the fund is to ensure the welfare of horses whose owners have lost everything,” the release states.

Eve van den Bol, president of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation, said, “We are calling upon our equine communities to come together and step forward, as they are able, in support of these horses and horse people in dire need. Time and finances are critical resources at this moment.”

Donations to the fund can be made through both U.S. Equestrian and Equestrian Canada, as accounts serve the same fund. Organizers said 100 percent of the money raised will go toward the cost of providing feed and medical supplies to the horses, ponies and donkeys in the Caribbean.

To donate, visit www.equestrian.ca/donate or www.usef.org/donate. A foreign transaction fee may apply.

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