Guthrie, Okla. July 30, 2013—FEMA Corps member volunteers at Horse Feathers Equine Ranch. The horse shelter provided numerous resources for horses impacted by the recent storms in Oklahoma. Photo by Mary Burns/FEMA Corps
FEMA Corps members were among the volunteers that helped Horse Feathers Equine Rescue in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The workers at Horse Feathers Equine Rescue provided assistance to disaster-impacted horses following the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding in Oklahoma on May 18-June 2.
Horse Feathers Equine Rescue is a nonprofit organization that provides shelter for abused and neglected horses. The humane sanctuary also provides food, water, medical care, gentling and training in hopes of preparing the animals for adoption.
Owner Cheri White Owl is an experienced horse rescuer with more than 20 years of experience. After helping build horse shelters in other states, she saw a need for a shelter in Oklahoma. With a little encouragement from her husband, the idea for Horse Feather Equine Rescue was born.
“We opened here in 2006,” she said. “There weren’t many rescues here.”
The workers at the ranch have expanded their reach following the recent devastation in the state. They are welcoming more volunteers to help with the daily tasks at the shelter. FEMA Corps group Alpine 5 was one of the groups that recently volunteered at the horse shelter.
“Our independent service coordinator had to look up places for us to volunteer that were related to disaster recovery,” said FEMA Corps member Gabrielle Centeno.
After hearing about the unique form of disaster relief given at the shelter, the group members were excited to offer their help. They took time to care for horses and prepare the location for the growing demand.
“We cleaned out stables, water pumps and drinking containers,” said Centeno. “We also took down the training arena and fed horses. It is a good experience if you want to learn to work with horses.”
White Owl had to have surgery before the work load increased and was happy to have the extra set of hands to help with the needs of the shelter.
“Those guys were totally awesome,” said White Owl. “The influx of new people is a good desensitizing tool for the horses. It’s calming and relaxing for the people who are here too.”
White Owl and her team are also supplying horse owners who were impacted by the disaster with the resources they need to help their animals fully recover.
“We found that a lot of horse owners needed assistance,” said White Owl. Her team has helped supply water tanks, hay, grain, electrolytes and other resources. They were even able to provide transportation for injured horses to local hospitals.
The owner is continuing to access the needs of her animals by preparing for the winter months now. To learn about volunteer opportunities visit Horse Feathers Equine Rescue.