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Challenges of Caring for Rescue Horses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Saving the horses. That is the biggest part of Dana Luther’s life out at Horseshoe Creek Riding Stables. From early childhood Dana has saved horses from devastating situations and she continues her crusade still. Her non-profit organization, Equine Second Chance is wholly supported by her riding stable business and through occasional donations. With more than (22) horses to care for this it is a costly endeavor.

The recent crisis of COVID-19 has affected Dana’s situation dramatically. As with many small businesses that are considered non-essential Dana is experiencing a complete loss of revenue. Also, donations have understandably trickled to nothing with the current economic panic. This is becoming a critical situation in a hurry for Dana and the horses. These animals still have to be fed, receive medical attention, and grooming care.

Feeding is top priority. With the rainy conditions of the past few months the pastures are a mess with little grass. Because of this feeding hay has continued through the spring at higher levels than usual. On top of that Dana estimates about a 1000 pounds of feed is used in a month.

Walking through the stables and pastures at Horseshoe Creek with Dana it is clear these horses are well cared for and loved. They approach us nuzzling for treats and attention. Each has a unique personality and many have a story that started with tragic or pitiful conditions. All were brought here to be cared for and saved. Many of the horses now participate in the trail rides that serve to keep the farm going. One of these is Patch. This sweet-natured mare is about 22 years old and was surrendered to Dana’s care about a year ago. Patch loves to be ridden and obviously loves attention. This horse would not have survived in her previous environment but now she is thriving. But again saving the horses takes money.

Now it is hard to talk about causes these days with so many needs surfacing during this pandemic. But this is a cause worth supporting. Right now Dana is trying to get donations for grass seed and lime to reclaim the pastures for grazing. This could help lessen the burden of cost for so much hay and grain. Other costs like the farrier and the veterinarian still must be met as well. With so much uncertainty about the resuming of business and if it resumes what it will look like Dana worries about the future.

No matter what Dana plans to keep saving the horses. After all they are her family.


If you want to donate to Equine Second Chance  and help save the horses go to Horseshoe Creek Riding Stables’ homepage and click the link. Or you can contact Dana directly. All donations go to maintaining the health and well-being of these horses. And after all who doesn’t deserve a second chance.

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Horseshoe Creek Riding Stables

Horseshoe Creek Riding Stables has plenty for you and your family to see and do.  Guided horseback rides or covered wagon tours are offered 7 days a week on unique and historical trails.  Take 1 - 5 hour rides and be sure to bring your camera and a picnic basket for a quiet lunch in the smokies!

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