Hurricane Irma, now downgraded to a tropical storm, wreaked havoc on Florida on Sunday and continues to plow a path of destruction across the southeast. Horse lovers in Florida, however, refused to surrender.
Hurricane Irma, a storm of historic proportions, ravaged Florida over the weekend and continues to claw its way north into Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama despite weakening to a tropical storm. Millions across Florida are without power as winds toppled trees and littered roads with debris, with some coastal regions still facing storm surge as well. Prior to making landfall in the Florida Keys, Irma decimated the Caribbean islands of St. Martin, Turks and Caicos, Barbuda, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, as well as the north coast of Cuba. Irma is still causing extensive damage across the Southeast and our thoughts are with all of those affected.
Encouraging reports are coming in from equestrians in Florida, including friends of Horse Nation at the Horse Radio Network based in Ocala who all safely weathered Irma, horses included.
In true equestrian spirit of ingenuity and resilience, these horse owners got creative when it came to keeping their horses safe during this historic storm, and we give them a special Horse Nation salute:
Horses That Help, a non-profit horse program for at-risk and special needs youth, brought eight horses into the concrete block living room after moving out the furniture. Thanks to a quickly-changing forecast, Horses That Help’s evacuation plan didn’t pan out. After 32 hours inside, the horses are turned back outside and made it through the storm A-OK!
Riding out #Irma with 8 horses in our concrete block living room! 16 hours in, not sure how many more to go! #HorsesThatHelp #donottrythisathome ????
Posted by Horses That Help on Sunday, September 10, 2017
When your house is made of poured concrete, it’s the safest place for everyone. Georgia Mott in Okeechobee County, Florida brought her horses into the laundry room. According to Facebook updates, these horses are also turned back outside in great shape now that Irma has passed.
Posted by Georgia Mott on Saturday, September 9, 2017
Sherri Stoy, faced with aged horses that she felt would not have handled the stress of evacuation well, moved her horses into some temporary stalls in her living room, and it looks like everyone was pretty happy despite the weather!
Hey Irma,Our bodies may be beaten, battered, and cut up preparing for your wrath, but there is one thing you cannot…
Helping those affected by Irma
The following charities are accepting donations to assist with Irma relief efforts in Florida and the Caribbean. Since this is still a developing crisis, other charities will likely emerge as well as Irma continues to pound the Southeast.
- UNICEF: in addition to assisting with Harvey relief, UNICEF is also raising funds to assist children in the wake of Irma and ensuring that students can return to school
- Salvation Army: manning shelters and aiding in cleanup relief
- GlobalGiving: raising funds to be dispersed to vetted local charities in the Caribbean and the United States so that money gets to where it’s needed most post-Irma
- Best Friends: donations will go directly towards helping reunite pets and owners and to support animals turned in at shelters in the aftermath of Irma
- Brooke USA: raising funds to be channeled directly to US Equestrian Disaster Relief Fund for horses. (Note: US Equestrian has not yet called for Irma donations)
We will continue to follow this story as Irma continues to work across the United States. Stay safe, and go riding.