Losing it all – Tornado destroys trainers’ horses


June 3, 2013


Ellis and his wife Jennifer Short

Horror stories come out of Oklahoma by the hundreds. With the death toll now up to eighteen and thousands of homes destroyed, it’s more than a major catastrophe. For many life will never be the same. In less than a minute, the things you love and cherish are swept away – houses, cars, jobs, businesses, friends, schools and loved ones.

Horses are part of that, for some a very big part. During that first storm, there were a reported 120+ horses killed in the worst way imaginable. The second series of tornados swept through even more farms and ranches. We’ll probably never know the true total number of horse deaths and injuries.

As with most news stories, given a certain number of fatalities tells the story of how bad things were, but it doesn’t really strike home until we hear one person tell his story. In this case, it’s Jon Ellis, a trainer, who took eight of his horses to Oklahoma to race. None of them survived.

You can read the story at CBSAtlanta.com, written by Bernard Watson. Even better, just click on the video. You can tell from his voice that he loved his horses, and that his only remaining horse, Derbydaydelight, misses her friends.

As you probably know, Habitat for Horses will respond to hurricane disasters along the coast, as we did in Katrina, Rita and Ike. When disaster strikes, first responders have little to no time to organize, much less send out organized pleas for help. We’ve been there, done that, and I can speak from experience in saying that it’s a mind-boggling task to keep everything and everyone organized.

That’s why I’m offering a tip of the hat to Horse Feather’s Equine Rescue in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Those guys are right in the middle of it all and working like mad to help out with injured horses, hay, supplies, identifications, returning horses to the right owners – doing everything we would do in a hurricane. Horse Feathers is a Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) verified rescue. I don’t know them personally, but to be verified by GFAS, you have to be doing it right.

To see how truly busy they are, visit their Facebook page, encourage them, thank them, donate to help the horses they are trying to save.


Habitat for Horses is a 501.c.3 nonprofit equine protection organization supported solely by donations. As of this morning, we have 162 donkeys and horses under our care, plus one mule. Most of them are here because law enforcement removed them from their previous owner. Our ability to rehabilitate and rehome them comes from the financial support of people like you. Please support us by making a donation for the horses we all serve. Click HERE to donate

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • sherriey

    my heart goes out to all that lost….i don’t think i could cope with such a pain.
    huggs and love to all…
    may God bless and comfort.

    June 3, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    I feel so sad for this family losing so much. I can understand their pain. I pray for God’s comfort to this family.

    June 3, 2013
  • Linda Jackson

    We have our share of bad storms along the Florida panhandle and when a hurricane approaches the horses are usually turned out of their stalls. They have a sense of avoiding debris and fare better than being crushed in their stalls. I pondered this when watching these events on the news. Were they turned out?

    June 4, 2013
  • Daryl

    So sorry for all your loss and we are praying for you, hope you can keep the faith, & pray the Lord will be with you .

    June 4, 2013