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Oct, 2017


Equestrians Helping Hurricane Harvey Victims

Many people worked hard to help Hurricane Harvey equestrian victims. The Horse Gazette reached out to a few of them and here's one of their stories. You can find more stories in this issue of the Horse Gazette

John Mason, chief trainer Tex-Over Farms delivering hay after Harvey.
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John Mason, chief trainer Tex-Over Farms delivering hay after Harvey. For two days I stayed full-time at the barn. As the hurricane went over us I would go to the front and back property lines to see how far and fast the water was rising because of the San Jacinto River being nearby. We mostly got high winds, some rain and a lot of small limbs were down.
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John Mason, chief trainer Tex-Over Farms: Our place made it through okay. We are near the top of a hill. However across the street the neighborhood was 50 percent flooded. We have about 60 horses on the property and a full-time groom lives there. I live 15 minutes from the barn and for two days I stayed full-time at the barn. As the hurricane went over us I would go to the front and back property lines to see how far and fast the water was rising because of the San Jacinto River being nearby. We mostly got high winds, some rain and a lot of small limbs were down. As soon as things started to clear I began getting calls, 30 or so, from all over the country and it was people asking me what we needed and where they could send it. The HDS (Houston Dressage Society) President Chris Renne on Tuesday had arranged for hay to be delivered from Dallas. There was closer to 500 bales from Dallas and Equine Express delivered half and the two donators, Kristin Cordiak and Nanni Baker, delivered the rest!!!! Equine Express (out of Dallas) brought it down half of it in two trucks. It was a big delivery. Overnight, Mike Alexander of Equine Express had raised $15,000 in donations so we would begin stocking supplies such as buckets, muck buckets, hook picks, shavings, medical supplies, and such. At Tex-Over we began hand walking the horses twice a day because we couldn't turn any of them out just yet. The Great Southwest (equestrian facility in Katy) opened up for refugee horses. Some barns had already evacuated such as Christy Raisbeck's Freestyle Farm out in Fulshear because she knew she would get flooded. We decided to make the Great Southwest as a sort of centralized focal point for supplies because it could serve all points of the compass and had not flooded. Amazingly the roof had held and things like that. Amy Uniss who runs the Great Southwest deserves a medal of honor. Vince Flores, the trainer of WV Farms, Sammi Jo Stohler, my groom and I plus two trucks from Equine Express all then went to Beaumont which had no water and was flooded. The sheriff had held off on equine rescues until he knew he had a secure safe facility with some infrastructure to put the horses and livestock. As we traveled in it was like a war zone. There were Black Hawk helicopters and when we had to drive on a stretch of road that was underwater by at least two feet of water for a mile. There were at least 50 stalled out cars on that stretch. All our trucks were high enough to make it. When we first got to Beaumont [the Ford Arena] the sheriff only had two horses there. But by the time we finished unloading all the supplies and hay there must have been 60 because the sheriff put out the word he now had enough supplies on hand for the high water rescue horses. Because there was no drinking water, we convinced a fire truck to fill up the 50 buckets we'd brought and all the clean muck buckets with drinkable water for the horses. We made a makeshift triage area for some of the horses and used what medical supplies we'd brought on the worst cases (cuts and such). All the horses were in shock. It was as if they'd been aced. I didn't get home until 2 in the morning. A trip that normally would have taken about one-and-a-half hours took us over six-and-a-half. All along support was our number one concern for the horses and the support we've received has been mind blowing. We are so grateful to everybody and especially Equine Express.