After just three weeks of fundraising, Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation President Eve van den Bol says the regional equestrian community has banded together to help horses effected by hurricanes, in a big way.
“We’ve raised about $200,000 so far, and we’ve just started another PR push to continue the fundraising.”
van den Bol says it all started when the Cayman Islands Humane Society contacted her about possible relief efforts in lieu of the recent hurricanes.
“They’d received an email from a vet in Tortola after Irma but before Maria, asking for help, and buried in the email was a request for horse feed and live stock feed.”
In a call to action, the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation along with United States Equestrian, Equestrian Canada and the Pan American Equestrian Federation formed ‘The Caribbean Equine Relief Fund’.
“We took the ball and ran with it with the horses, first approaching Humane Society International whose on the ground in Tortola” says van den Bol.
The group has focused their efforts on the Eastern Caribbean regions, such St.Thomas, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, Tortola, and Barbuda. van den Bol says it’s with good reason.
“The islands that are effected, typically the local humane societies, and the NGO’s (non-governmental organization) that help animals are very much focused on cats and dogs and small animals, the government tend to focus on livestock and farmers, the horses tend to fall in no bucket.”
van den Bol says many people, both locally and internationally are to credit for coordinating the initiative, with global ideating among equestrian professionals and philanthropists playing a key factor.
“In Puerto Rico where the need is so great, the humane society international would host these conference calls twice a week, and there have 30 to 40 industry participants from around the Caribbean and the US, all wanting to help, and we would all share information” say van den Bol.
A long-time rider herself, van den Bol says the efforts of so many is a touching reminder of what people can do when focusing on the greater good.
“It’s really gratifying to see people come together for a change instead of being divisive.”
People coming together to help animals in need.
To donate to the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund visit www.usef.org/donate