The COVID-19 pandemic is causing distressing financial effects on the equine industry in Alberta. The Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF) and other equine industry partners have teamed up to create Alberta Equine Partners for the Herd to raise money to assist with basic equine care over the 2020-2021 winter months. The goal is to raise $250,000 to ensure the health, safety, welfare and care of equines in Alberta. This relief will ensure the long term effects of the pandemic do not cause strain on care for the Alberta’s herd
It is estimated that Alberta is home to more than 320,000 horses, approximately 33% of the total horse population in Canada. There is not an industry more diverse than the equine industry, which includes, but is not limited to, racing, sport, ranching, breeding, boarding, pleasure, recreation, and companion animals.
Many in the equestrian community are dealing with financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and could struggle with basic care for their equines over the 2020-2021 winter months.
In a recent province-wide survey of the Alberta equine community, 1 in 5 respondents said that that they need help for their horses, donkeys or mules.
- 72% will require hay and veterinary assistance
- 52% are down to 3 months or less of reserves
- 43% will require pelleted feed and straw
- 33% will require shavings, salt and minerals
The AEF, along with other industry partners, launched “Alberta Equine Partners for the Herd”, a fundraising initiative to support the equine community during these difficult and uncertain times to come.
“We care wholeheartedly about Alberta’s horses and we are concerned about the risk to their well-being due to the financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic,” says Les Oakes, AEF Past President and chair of the fundraising initiative.
“Without support, many in the community may be faced with difficult decisions. We want to do what we can to ensure the health, safety, welfare and care of equines in Alberta,” says Oakes.
“I know we want to stand together because Alberta horses matter,” says Sandy Bell, AEF President Elect. “No matter if or how we are involved in the equine community, we share a mutual love for our horses, donkeys and mules. Together, we’ll get through this.”
The goal is to raise $250,000 in the month of August. One hundred per cent of donations will go towards helping those in the community by providing basis needs, such as salt, minerals, shavings, pelleted feed, etc.
“A generous financial contribution from John Anderson of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping has helped to kick start this initiative, and now we’re asking for Albertans’ help too,” says Oaks. “Along with support and expertise from industry partners and fundraising committee members, Horse Racing Alberta, CapriCMW Insurance, RCMP Livestock Investigators and Veterinarians, we hope to reach our goal.”
There are many ways Albertans can contribute to Alberta Partners for the Herd. Financial donations are invited, and hay and straw donations are also welcome. Albertan’s can also shop online for selected AEF products – proceeds will go towards the fundraising initiative.
A donation of $5 buys a salt block; $20 buys a bag of pelleted feed. If 50,000 Albertans donated $5, the fundraising goal would be reached. Donations of $50 or more are eligible for a charitable tax receipt through the Government of Alberta, Sport, Physical Recreation and Activity Branch.
See the fundraiser website for more information.