Equine rescue starts free blanket bank for horse owners in need

WEST TOWNSHEND — Gerda's Equine Rescue, a nonprofit horse rescue organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes mainly slaughterbound horses, is offering a free blanket bank to help horse owners in need of a little help this winter.

“We want to help keep horses in good, caring homes. This program is a simple way we can do just that,” said Gerda Silver, president and founder, in a news release.

“Lots of people experience financial hardship at some point of their lives,” Silver continued. “Horses are expensive, there's no doubt about it, and cold New England winters mean an increase in expenses. Horses need a lot more hay to give them enough calories to help keep them warm.”

A blanket, she said, “can make a world of a difference to a horse, especially a young horse whose winter coat hasn't grown in thick enough yet, or an older horse whose coat is thinning.”

GER accepts donations of new and lightly used blankets and tack, and each year ends up with a surplus, which will now help local horses in need. The rescue will do its best to help all horse owners in need, but blankets are based on availability.

Silver says the program otherwise “has no qualifications, no hassle, and no questions....just a nice warm blanket!”

All blankets must be picked up at the rescue in West Townshend. Contact [email protected] with your name, your horse's name, and the type and size of the blanket you need (a rain sheet or a mid-weight blanket).

The rescue will reply to confirm they have a suitable blanket and make it available to be picked up outside the front gate at the donor's convenience.

The rescue will gladly accept donations of any clean rain sheets and mid-weight blankets in all sizes in good condition with no tears or rips. Email [email protected] or call 802-874-7213 to arrange a dropoff time.

And, if horse owners need assistance with hay this winter, Silver says that Dorset Equine Rescue, a member of the Vermont Hay Bank in East Dorset, is accepting applications to provide temporary hay and feed assistance to horse owners in the state facing financial hardship. The application and eligibility guidelines can be found at dorsetequinerescue.org/about-vermont-hay-bank.

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