The ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19 are far reaching, including into the rolling hills and pastures of the “Horse Capital of the World.” In response, The Ocala Horse Alliance (OHA) has established an emergency feed fund for Marion County horse owners whose circumstances during the pandemic may have left them unable to keep their horses fed.
“These are unprecedented and precarious times for many horse owners,” notes an OHA press release issued on May 1st. “Some owners have faced significant and sudden income loss, coupled with great uncertainty of when things might turn around. Federal and state assistance has not been accessible to many in a timely fashion. This scenario can place horses at risk… risk of either not being fed properly or being given up by owners who feel they have no options.”
Alliance officials offer that the OHA mission is to unify, promote, educate and grow the horse industry in Marion County.
“Simultaneously, the role of The Ocala Horse Alliance is to ensure we work as a community for the welfare of horses,” the release states.
The OHA has established the Emergency Feed Fund for Horses (EFFH) to assist as many horse owners in desperate need as possible, the release indicates. The opening deposit in the fund came from the OHA. In addition, many OHA executive committee and leadership members made individual contributions. The OHA is seeking additional revenue from its membership and the Marion County horse community.
“We believe that many horse owners, fortunate enough not to be in dire straits through this pandemic, will assist as we try to feed horses in need,” an OHA official shared in the release.
To donate, visit www.ocalahorsealliance.com/feed-fund-donation
Those needing assistance with hay and grain can find the EFFH grant application at www.ocalahorsealliance.com/effh
Grant decisions will be made within 48 hours, according to the release. Approved applicants will receive a voucher that can be redeemed for their choice of hay and/or feed at a designated feed store. The grants are intended to bridge the gap for owners until they get some economic relief. Applicants are allowed to resubmit if needed. The OHA will help as many horses as donations and funds allow.
“The OHA is depending on applicants to be honest and forthright about their circumstances so those most in need can be helped,” the release notes. “Equally important, the OHA is hoping and relying on the horse community to assist in helping horses at risk.”
Applicants and grant recipients will be kept confidential. Donors will be recognized on the OHA Facebook page and website.