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$17,000 Distributed to Fire Victims from USEF’s Disaster Relief Fund

By Joanie Morris

, KY − The California wildfires caught the attention of the world in 2007 and humans weren’t the only ones affected. Hundreds of horses were displaced, their winter hay supplies up in flames and their barns destroyed.


The USEF’s Disaster Relief Fund lent a hand. After a call to action which reaffirmed the tie that binds horse people, money poured in from all over the Unites States, corporations got involved and the rebuilding effort began.


The USEF worked closely with organizations on the ground in California to determine where a donation from the Disaster Relief Fund would be best utilized. The USEF formed a partnership with the United States Humane Society who established a separate account to maintain the USEF’s funds and distribute them, as needed, to equine victims of any breed affected by the Southern California wild fires.


$14,500 was allotted to the Humane Society of the United States to aid equines of any type directly affected by the wild fires.


Both Smart Pak Equine and the Leighton-Oare Foundation made very generous donations of $5,000 each and money came in all denominations from every corner of the horse world. Rod’s Western Palace, which had made a significant contribution in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, continued their support of the Disaster Relief Fund following the California fires, getting the word out to thousands of people on their mailing list and raising $4,482 from their customers. 


Ernie and Betty Oare are lifelong participants in equine activities ranging from steeplechase racing to the show ring and they felt that this was an opportunity to support a cause that they couldn’t ignore.


“Betty and I obviously love horses and we also have a lot of horse friends in Southern California,” said Mr. Oare. “We are hoping to try to help in some small way.”


In a separate tragic occurrence in upstate New York, 26 horses were killed in a barn fire on November 27. In addition to this tragic loss of life, the facility and all the equipment at Burgundy Hill Farm were completely destroyed. Under the direction of USEF CEO John Long, $2,500 was allotted to aid in rebuilding this facility.


For more information about the Equine Disaster Relief Fund please see  or contact Joanie Morris at

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