Port Stephens based Hunter Horse Rescue inundated in recent rain

Missy, one of the horses caught by the rising water.


WHEN the skies opened last week many four-legged residents of Port Stephens were caught by the deluge.

Hunter Horse Haven is a local horse rescue which provides community programs.

The charity normally covers 80 acres of lush pasture.

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“By midnight the big paddock on the right started getting bad,” said the charity’s founder, Deb Barber.

“We had to rescue our rescue horses.

“All they have left now out of 80 acres is half a hill.”

There are currently thirty horses at the haven, twenty-two of those are ‘turned out’, living in paddocks.

The remaining eight have higher needs- requiring rugs, shelter and round the clock attention.

When the water started rising it did not catch Deb by surprise.

She has long planned for such events, seeing it as part of her responsibility to the animals.

What did surprise her was how fast and deep the water was when it came.

Faithful volunteers answered Deb’s call to move the horses to higher ground.

This meant people and animals slogging through flood water.

Authorities often warn against this due to the dangers of contamination and submerged debris.

In the case of the horses, it was a do-or-die situation.

Some of the animals being moved were ponies and already at risk due to their size.

“The things we need the most right now are rugs and feed,” Deb explained.

“Even horses, in this weather, they get wet and cold and start to shiver.

“At the moment- with no grass, we’re having to hand feed and we’re going to have to get feed in for all of them.”

Deb and her volunteers face many challenges.

Many of the animals are already in delicate health and will be vulnerable to the effects of the flooding.

Hunter Horse Haven is currently seeking donations and anyone wishing to reach them can email hunterhorsehaven@gmail.com.



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