So far the Texas Thoroughbred industry appears to have escaped the worst of Hurricane Harvey, which battered the Gulf Coast with damaging winds when it made landfall Aug. 25 and has since saturated the Houston area with a record 49 inches of contiguous rain.
Sam Houston Race Park, which is located northwest of downtown Houston and adjacent to the Sam Houston Tollway, has not sustained any major damage or flooding, according to Roland Tamez, who is with the track’s security team. The track did not have any racehorses on the grounds when the storm hit because its live racing season ended in May.
The barn area is now being used to provide free shelter for horses being evacuated out of flooded areas. Several horses had been sent to the track ahead of the storm because their owners had experienced flooding in the past.
“We’ve got over 100 horses in three barns right now,” said Tamez, who added that anyone who needs shelter for their horses can call the track at (281) 807-8790 and arrange for a security officer to assist.
“These stalls do not have gates,” Tamez said. “So horse owners need to provide a gate or stall webbing, hay, feed, bedding, tubs, and buckets. The track is providing water.”
Tamez said the roads around the racetrack are clear, and he noted there is no flooding along the nearby segment of the tollway and the feeder roads. He said roads also are clear between the racetrack and I-45.
Sam Houston president Andrea Young said the barn area will be available as long as necessary.
“There are areas that may take three weeks to a month before people can get back into their homes, because that’s how long it will take for the water to go down,” Young said. “We’re prepared to help as long as we need to.”
Heavy rains much farther inland did effect the Gillespie County Fairgrounds, which had to cancel live racing this weekend at its track near Fredericksburg and will conduct three of its Quarter Horse stakes races at Retama Park in San Antonio, which is about 70 miles away. No damage was done to the facility, but state stewards determined the saturated racing surface was unsafe.
Aside from the horses being sheltered at Sam Houston, the Texas Thoroughbred Association has not fielded many calls for assistance over the past few days, according to TTA executive director Mary Ruyle.
“We are compiling and will publish a list of resources,” Ruyle said. “But it is surprising we haven’t heard more.”
One reason, she said, may be because a majority of the farms are located inland from the hardest hit areas. James Leatherman, racing secretary at Retama, said the racetrack only got two inches of rain with winds of 45-50 mph, which caused only minor damage to some fencing.
In Louisiana, the Equine Sales Company has announced that its Consignor Select Yearling Sale set for Aug. 31 in Opelousas, will be held as scheduled starting at 10 a.m. local time. The sales facility and the surrounding area have not been significantly affected by Hurricane Harvey.
(Washington, DC)- In the wake of one of the worst tropical natural disasters to hit the United States, the residents and animals of Texas need your help. A record 49 inches of rain has fallen in the Houston area, and even more is expected. So what can you do?
There are several equine specific disaster relief funds that you can donate to that will support the efforts of emergency response groups and organizations that are helping horses impacted by the flooding.
Additionally, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations and will be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Please share with your fellow members of the horse community, and with anyone wanting to help all those in need!
Sweeping across the Gulf Coast of Texas as a Category 4 hurricane over the past weekend, Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic flooding has put the Houston and surrounding area equine community in a state of distress. Declared a major disaster and weather event, hundreds of horses and livestock have been affected.
Banding together as a community, emergency rescues, fellow equestrians opening up their barns for shelter and extensive veterinary care has been required over the last several days. As the rain continues to fall, rising flood waters will make extended care for displaced large and small animals on an ongoing need.
Supporting the efforts of emergency response groups and organizations that are helping horses impacted by the flooding, US Equestrian is providing financial assistance through the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund.
Developed in 2005 during the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund was formed to help ensure the safety and well-being of horses during trying times. Since its inception, over $370,000 has been donated to aid horses across all breeds in disaster-related situations. All money donated to the fund is strictly used to benefit horses and horse owners.
Make a donation to the USEF Disaster Relief Fund here.
US Equestrian will be working with the Houston SPCA to support their rescue and rehabilitation efforts through the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund.
Encouraging donations to help the horses affected by Hurricane Harvey, US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney said, “as part of our commitment to the health, welfare, and safety of horses, the USEF disaster relief fund was created to assist horses impacted by devastating natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. The outreach and generosity of the equestrian community to support the ongoing emergency assistance in this and future disasters allows us to provide direct financial assistance to the groups involved in the ongoing rescue efforts.”
For more information on the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund, please contact Vicki Lowell, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation’s Equine Disaster Relief Fund is accepting aid to help horses in Texas, Louisiana and other states affected by Hurricane Harvey. Fund donations will be distributed among credible programs and organizations that are helping with recovery and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath and towards preparedness efforts for future disasters.
The AAEP Foundation will work with agencies and veterinary members in Texas, Louisiana and other affected states to identify the needs of the equine community. Supplies are not being accepted currently as the catastrophic storm is still occurring. Once the Foundation receives an assessment of need and distribution protocols from the agencies and veterinary members in the afflicted areas, the Foundation will work to support them with supply needs as well.
“The AAEP, AAEP Foundation and the equine veterinary community are saddened by the tragic loss of life and incredible destruction and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey,” said AAEP President R. Reynolds Cowles, Jr., DVM. “We are compelled to reach out, together with our members, horse owners and industry leaders, as part of the effort to support the disaster’s equine victims.”
To support the impending needs of these equine victims, please donate online at
If you wish to offer assistance with supplies or other resources, please email Keith Kleine at email@example.com and you will be contacted with further instructions.