Skip to content

Hurricane Horses Being Reached

From the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (via USEF)



BATON ROUGE, LA — As southern Louisiana reaches the one week anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, rescue efforts continue on a large scale for horses affected by the storm and subsequent flooding. 


Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, the central staging area for horses recently retrieved from the New Orleans area, currently houses 90 horses and mules yet to be claimed by their owners. 


“Nineteen carriage horses and mules were reached last night from the downtown area,” said Bonnie Clark, President of the Louisiana Horse Council.  “We have them here and the veterinarians and student veterinarians have been working to stabilize these horses and prepare for the next to arrive as we anticipate a good number of additional horses to be reached and retrieved before the end of the day.”


Working tirelessly since the beginning of the catastrophe, LSU Field Service Veterinarian Dr. Dennis French has been the primary veterinarian in charge of efforts at Lamar-Dixon and has coordinated all health monitoring duties with the assistance of a number of LSU veterinary students who have worked diligently under his supervision for days.


“We’ve had a few health issues with horses that have come in that have been drinking the saltwater from the flooding,” said French. “The students and I have administered fluids and are working to stabilize them right now. I’m not seeing any depression or any fevers, nothing that would indicate a contagious condition, so at this point I think that all of the symptoms I’m seeing are purely the result of these horses being in a traumatized state.” 


“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these students,” continued French. “These kids have been with me day in and day out down here, they’ve taken all of the animals in, they have an identification and medical records system in place and have been with me step for step as we’ve gone through triage and worked to stabilize the animals we’ve received. “


Continuing to head up efforts at the LSU Horse Hurricane Helpline center in Baton Rouge, Drs. Rebecca McConnico and Rustin Moore have been heavily engaged in identifying horses that still need to be rescued and working to line up teams that can help when the time comes.  “At this point, we’ve been given the primary assignment by the State Veterinarian’s Office to assume the role of coordinating these rescue efforts as best we can” said McConnico.  “It’s a matter of locating them (the horses) and finding out how to get them since many roads are not accessible because of flood waters, downed trees and power lines. Helicopter surveillance would provide a time-efficient way to assess the big picture, but this will likely have to wait until the stranded people are successfully evacuated. In the meantime, we need to get people on the ground who are in the area to go in and assess the situation at individual stables and then get rescue teams safely in and out, which to this point has been the challenge.  We really need more people that can be available at a moments notice since this is such a dynamic process.”


“Currently more than 300 horses remain to be reached in the New Orleans area that we know of,” continued McConnico. “Teams continue to be dispatched with law enforcement accompaniment as logistics fall into place for each rescue effort.  We’ve basically been prioritizing them by where we can go physically, and by which horse’s we know are in the most immediate need of rescue based on their circumstances.  We still have horses that are up to their necks in water. It’s a challenge, because the logistics of each circumstance vary according to their location and condition.”


Those interested in providing financial assistance to the effort are encouraged to make their contributions to the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association’s Dr. Walter J. Ernst, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  This fund is established specifically for emergency efforts to help animals.  By simply visiting, potential contributors can click on “Hurricane Relief Fund” on the home page to download the form.  Simply designating “Horse Rescue” on your check will ensure its use for the equine rescue effort.  For more information or to make donations, please call the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine at 225-578-9900 ( or the LVMA at 1-800-524-2996.



Donations can also be made to the United States Equestrian Federation Hurricane Equine Relief Fund, established assist those agencies working directly with the equine victims and refugees from Hurricane Katrina. The money will be used to support efforts to deliver food, veterinary services, and shelter for horses and ponies in the hurricane stricken areas. All donations are tax deductible, and gifts of any size are appreciated.

Donations can be made online at, click on the Hurricane Katrina area on the right side of the homepage. If you wish to pay by check please make it out to the USEF Hurricane Equine Relief Fund and send it to:

The United States Equestrian Federation
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511

To Donate by Fax:

More Stories

  • Bobbie Jo Jaakkola Wins AMHA Young Adult Alliance Judging School Scholarship

    The American Morgan Horse Association Young Adult Alliance (YAA) presented their fifth annual Judging School Scholarship to Bobbie Jo Jaakkola of Northwell, Michigan. The Professional Development Project created by this passionate group awards a $1,500 scholarship to one individual aged 21-40, professional or amateur, who is interested in attaining their Morgan R judging card. Read More
  • Spring Fling Horse Show to debut in its new location of the Equestrian Center at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids, IA, April 5-8, 2018

    Spring Fling Horse Show to debut in its new location of the Equestrian Center at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids, IA, April 5-8, 2018... Read More
  • Des Moines Springfest announces location

    The Des Moines Springfest Horse Show is scheduled for April 26 – 29, 2018.   We are pleased to announce the show will be held in the beautiful, state of the art Jacobson Arena at the Iowa State Fairground, Des Moines, IA. Read More
  • Coming Home Again

    Kevin Michael made a triumphant return to the show ring at Carousel Charity Horse Show Friday morning behind the elegant and high-stepping Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony CH Heartland Resplendant owned by Sandra Surber of Calistoga, California. Read More
  • ASHA Seeks Executive Director

    The American Saddlebred Horse Assocation (ASHA) is currently seeking to hire its next Executive Director. Founded in 1871, the ASHA’s mission is to safeguard the integrity of the American Saddlebred breed, to promote the use of American Saddlebreds, and to expand the public knowledge of the American Saddlebred.  Read More
  • Prize Lists Available for Asheville Saddlebred Classic

    The inaugural Asheville Saddlebred Classic is fast approaching and prize lists are now available at The entries closing date is April 20th and entries can be submitted online until that date. Hard copies of the prize list are available upon request... Read More
  • Blue Ribbon Opening

    Read More
  • Hall of Famer Dies

    Ronald E. “Ronnie” Graham passed away on Tuesday, March 13, during the Gasparilla Charity Horse Show. The horse world mourns the loss of this talented trainer, astute ground man, and friend to all. The recipient of the 2015 UPHA Tom Moore Professional Horsemen’s Hall of Fame Award, Ronnie was the first to lend a hand to those in need... Read More
  • Royal Crest's Mister Stone Now Being Offered For Your Consideration

    Consistently in the ribbons, this wonderful gelding has proven to be an absolute star in whatever division he is entered in: Walk and Trot Equitation, Open English Pleasure, Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure - he can do it all and he is ready for his next young rider! Direct inquires to Country Meadow Farm. Read More
  • HS Queen Of The Castle Now Being Offered For Your Consideration

    A lovely mare that will get you noticed! Shown successfully in Junior Exhibitor and Adult Show Pleasure and Park Pleasure with lots of wins to her credit. She is suitable for a more advanced rider - let her win for you! Direct Inquiries to Jennifer Dixon. Read More