Dr. Cesar Parra: Drought and Fire Threaten Horses

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Drought and fire continue to threaten horse sanctuaries, farms, and other rural establishments. Dr. Cesar Parra remains optimistic about the care animals are receiving, as well as the future.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that drought and fire have threatened equestrian organizations for the better part of the summer—and continue to do so. With a shortage of hay and several burned barns, many individuals are worried for the safety of horses across the United States. Dr. Cesar Parra, founder of Piaffe-Performance, remains optimistic about the issue because he trusts animal owners to be attentive to their horses. With the summer season nearing its end, he hopes that the equestrian community will come together to assist one another in overcoming this challenge.

According to the article, drought has caused both extreme living conditions and a loss of crops. For owners of horse rescue organizations, like Tony Caldwell, this means less food is available for the animals. The owner of Indiana Horse Rescue, an 80-acre sanctuary for horses, Caldwell appreciates his proximity to the Ohio River. By being close to the river, his land has suffered less than others from the drought. Even given this advantage, though, Caldwell notes that horse owners are being forced to tap into their hay reserves.

"Everybody is using their winter hay now," states Caldwell. "The pastures are destroyed and they probably won't recover before winter. The price of hay has doubled, and the availability is down by 75 percent."

But the destruction of crops is not the only issue that horse owners are facing. Niki Dawson, the Director of Disaster Services for the Human Society of the United States, asserts that fires are proving as destructive—and financially ruinous—as the drought.

"Because of the fires we have fields burned, barns burned down, horses being injured," comments Dawson. "Owners need assistance to cover medical bills, and we don't want their first reaction to be to relinquish [the animals]."

The Humane Society has, to date, provided 80,000 pounds of hay to struggling horse and cattle owners. Additionally, it is offering grants, which individuals can apply for at the Humane Society's website.

Dr. Cesar Parra understands that these issues have created a highly dangerous environment for horses and their owners; however, he is remaining optimistic about the circumstances.

"The equestrian community is a strong one," comments Dr. Parra. "When we face challenges, we band together to overcome them. I believe that horse owners will continue to work together to keep horses and other animals safe and fed during this difficult time. The work of the Humane Society demonstrates how such activities have already been set in motion. I encourage any horse or cattle owners who are in the position to share resources to do so."


Dr. Cesar Parra, founder of Piaffe-Performance, runs a full-service equestrian organization. Through his classes, Dr. Cesar Parra teaches students the principles of classic German training methods. Additionally, Dr. Cesar Parra reinforces integrity, courtesy, sharing, self-control, perseverance, and strength of character amongst his staff and students. Dr. Cesar Parra encourages riders to build strong, trusting relationships with their horses in order to work together to achieve their goals.

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Michael McGarety
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