Sunday, September 26, 2004

IVAN Floods Threaten Horses in Texas: What Would YOU Do?

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by David Templeton:

Floodwaters at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Chartiers inundated stables along the fairgrounds' racetrack, and horse owners who rent the stables had to release their Standardbred horses when fast-rising water rose stomach-high on the horses in the stalls.

"It was the heroic efforts by a couple of people to get them released," Wayne Hite, a horse owner and trainer, said, referring to Janis McGhee and Joe Behanna. "Those are real heroes there. They were up to their chins in water releasing these animals."

Water flowing swiftly into each end of the stables and exiting through the middle door created the effect of a raging river. Two released horses got caught atop concrete barriers and will be lost for the rest of the racing season, if not permanently, with significant leg injuries.

The four stables -- Hite Racing Stables, Bruce McGhee Stables, Sharon Donella Stables and Joe Behanna Stables -- lost tack, 12 jogging carts, six racing bikes or sulkies, helmets, racing colors, a Ford Explorer, a Ford Excursion, a track-maintenance truck, medications, a $54,000 horse spa, farrier equipment and grain and hay. The flood also damaged horse trailers. The loss will exceed $100,000 and could reach $200,000, said Trudy Hite of Somerset Township.

"Everything is gone, and it will take years to rebuild," she said.

Because the fairgrounds' track was destroyed, the county will have to rebuild it.