Equine Rescue

Oklahoma Tornado: 34 horses Found Alive at Celestial Acres Training Center

Source: By Mary Rampellini of The Daily Racing Form

“People are giving horses water from plastic water bottles,”

Survivors of the CarnageA representative of the Celestial Acres Training Center in Moore, Okla., said 34 horses had been found alive as of Wednesday following Monday’s tornado, which packed winds of nearly 200 miles an hour.

The number of racehorses lost in the storm has been difficult to assess. Several trainers familiar with Celestial Acres estimate at least 80 horses were based there at the time of the storm. Tony Vann, a spokesperson for Glenn Orr and his son Tom, who own the facilities, said he is unable to give a “finite number” of horses stabled at the training center in part because those renting stalls were able to “come and go” as business dictated. As for the racehorse death toll, Vann said there is no accurate number that can be reported.

“There’s no way to quantify it at this point,” he said Wednesday. “Compounding things is that there are two other horse farms in that area and you can’t identify [the origin of some horses]. There’s a lot of things going on.”

A handful of racehorses were rescued from the rubble of the training center and were sent to Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Also, Heritage Place, the nearby sales complex, has agreed to receive any other rescued horses and hold them until their owners can be found, said Joe Lucas, executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma.

Lucas said five racehorses, identified by their lip tattoos and with proper paperwork in place, were shipped to Remington, which is in the midst of a meet for Quarter Horses.

“The racehorses that we could identify all had papers on file at Remington,” Lucas said.

Lucas, who is helping coordinate horse-relief efforts, on Wednesday was working on importing a water truck to Moore. He said some water sources were contaminated, and others were shut off due to the storm.

“People are giving horses water from plastic water bottles,” he said. “Dehydration is a problem. Vets are in the field giving electrolytes.”

Lucas said the field efforts are being spearheaded by Danielle Barber, executive director of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, and Debbie Schauf, executive director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association. Earlier this week, the organizations jointly established a charitable account to assist horsemen impacted by the tornado. All donations received will go directly to horsemen, according to a statement distributed late Tuesday.

“There are many horsemen who have been affected by this tragedy and have lost everything they own,” the statement said. “Both horsemen’s organizations, along with Remington Park in Oklahoma City, are working together in coordinating relief to horsemen that have been affected by the storm.”

Remington will race on Friday for the first time since the storm hit. A moment of silence in honor of the lives lost and the lives shattered due to the tornado will be observed prior to the start of the card, said Dale Day, a spokesperson for Remington.

The track, in addition to receiving horses, has also “adopted” 30 families impacted by the storm and is helping to meet some of their needs, said Day. Further, the employees of Remington on Tuesday sent four shipments of food prepared ontrack to the first responders command center in Moore. Remington on Friday will be hosting a blood drive from noon to 5 p.m., said Day. It is being held in conjunction with the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

The outpouring of support for the residents of Moore, as well as the displaced horses, has been outstanding, said both Day and Lucas.

“There was an anonymous person who gave $10,000 for feed and management [of the horses],” said Lucas.

Celestial Acres had four barns and a total of several hundred stalls, said Vann. Only one of those barns, on the north side of the five-furlong training track, was left standing after the storm. The 20 to 25 horses inside that barn all survived, according to Mark Lee, a trainer who lost the 12 horses he had stabled at Celestial Acres. The facilities also included several paddocks and an 85- by 200-foot arena.

“It’s just gone,” Vann said of the arena. “It’s just earth.”…(CONTINUED)

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17 replies »

  1. AWESOME !!!!The horses and the anonymous donor to the rescue again…………. The horses just cant stop giving can they !!!!!! I would have expected nothing less of the horses !!!!!!!! and those who Love them !!!!!


  2. Good news that some of the horses survived. Wishing for the remaining horses receive lots of love, kindness and good health. As for the horses that did not survive it remains a terrible tragedy from this unbelievable forceful twister. I sincerely hope that the people of Moore bring in a new light after this darkness was brought to their town. God Bless.


  3. Great news. It also shows the need for NAIS (National Animal Identification System). It failed last year because it included all livestock which got to be way too much. I personally think it’s a very good idea for horse owners and law enforcement trying to find out exactly who is abandoning or neglecting the animals that so easily wind up in kill buyer’s trailers. NetPosse is a believer and works closely with organizations that have a ‘chip’ program.

    So let’s change the name to NEIS (National Equine Identification System) and reintroduce it to Congress…



    • Dear Steve !!! excellent been saying this on here for years !!!!!! Connect it to a DATA BASE WHALA ALL HORSE IN QUESTION STATS RIGHT THERE………


    • Good idea but it also makes for becoming “one stop closer” to an ID system for slaughter horses. In OKILLhoma if – God forbid – they get slaughterhouses open,


  4. This is Beverly from Bev’s Equine Products. Our company is new and cannot send money but we can offer our wound products
    . They are based on Calendula with sulphur and tea tree oil and heal wounds amazingly fast. Anyone or institution that has a horse or horses that have severe wounds, we will send our products free of charge. We also will send Calendula tincture to give to the horse orally to help them heal quickly. Please contact me at 843-560-1385. Sent some out yesterday for a horse that had 23 gashes on their body. Thanks, Bev.


  5. “Also, Heritage Place, the nearby sales complex, has agreed to receive any other rescued horses and hold them until their owners can be found”….let’s hope killbuyers aren’t claiming horses, stealing horses, or preying on victims in their time of need.


  6. We do not need NAIS for the AVERAGE horse owner Steve (he left a comment below the story) because the NAIS is a system designed to monitor potential food animals and be able to trace where the animal has been in case of disease or tainted meat outbreak. Why should I as a person who is totally against horse slaughter in any way, shape, or form be subjected to the NAIS, pay the fees, etc just because we have people in our midst who “dump for FREE” horses by the dozens and/or hundreds every year into the slaughter pipeline because the horse can’t “do” for them anymore?
    We DO however need it for the mass production breeding farms, owners with multiple breeding stock horses and/or horses in training, and also ranches that have large numbers of working ranch horses and breeding stock…..THOSE are the people we need to identify and expose because they are the typical SUPPLIERS of horses into the slaughter pipeline and many of us would love to know who they are.
    To punish anti-horse slaughter people by making them pay and be monitored by the NAIS is a bunch of bullshit and I am past tired of being punished because we have users working the crappy system in place now (FREE disposal of horses at slaughter).

    And while I am happy that many, many horses were found alive, it behooves the local anti-slaughter horse people to start watching the kill sales and feedlots to see if there is a rise on horses going through because seeing as that facility more or less sounds like a bush track racing barn where owners/trainers rent stalls, many horses that were injured in the tornado and can’t race anymore are probably going to be discarded and end up going to slaughter.

    THAT is the reality in the horse industry of racing, so donations should only be given to people who will be monitored that they will be using the money to take care of the horses and not just be putting it in their pockets and discarding a horse or horses for free at a kill sale or feedlot that can’t “do” for them anymore.


    • I know this was posted as a “feel good” story, however, it behooves all caring horse people to protect those horses that survived that tornado from going into the slaughter pipeline and shipping to slaughter just because they were injured perhaps and can’t “do” anymore……..yes, I’m a bit jaded after being in the horse industry for over 40 years (including the race industry in the early-’70’s) but I’ve seen so many really heartless, greedy things done when good hearted people try and help with donations and the “bad people” just pocket the money and discard the horse anyway.

      So it’s up to we anti-horse slaughter people to continue to protect those horses, ponies, burros, etc and monitor and watch the people who are receiving free money that is supposed to be used to help and maintain the horses.


  7. Glad to see there are some Oklahomans who care about these magnificient creatures. Not sure how many support slaughter, but it was enough to convince Mary Fallin to Ok it. I find it funny that AQHQ and Thoughbred racing advocates are helping w donations for the horses….AQHA supports horse slaughter not euthenasia…and racing turns out many foals a year and if they arent fast enough to slaughter they go. Wonder how many lame horses from the storm that are products of these farm will end up on dinner plates cause they were injured and cant race or show?


  8. It’s certainly great news, but as others mentioned, it’s extremely important to monitor the generous gift given, for the benefit of the horses in need. I hope those who can, will look out for the welfare of those who survived and make sure they remain safe and not subject to slaughter. That would be an even bigger tragedy. A big “Thank You” to the anonymous donor for being so generous and thoughtful. (-:


  9. Dear Lisa, as I understand it, the Oklahoma slaughter legislation was rushed through very quietly and many anti-slaughter horseowners did not know about it until after it was a “done deal.” Dirty politics.


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