Jacksonville, FL — It’s not only people who are evacuating their homes ahead of Hurricane Florence.
After enduring Hurricane Irma last year, and needing to find places to take their horses, members of the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society recognized there is a need to help those in similar situations right now.
“It’s scary, having a barn full of horses and knowing that the storm is coming to this magnitude, and not knowing where to go,” says NFES Board Chair Peggy Fuller.
NFES runs the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and they’ve opened their doors to evacuees, including drastically cutting rates for stall rentals.
“I’ve been in that situation before, so it makes me and us feel good to be able to offer that,” Fuller says.
They have 423 available stalls, with several dozen horses already committed to move in through Wednesday.
“Everything we care about is here- our family, our animals, our horses, and our dogs,” South Carolina evacuee Gia Fazio told our partner Action News Jax.
Fazio is homing eight horses at the Equestrian Center until the storm is over, saying she didn’t want to risk riding it out in South Carolina.
The stalls are self-service, but NFES has been reaching out to volunteers to provide help for people who are handling a large number of horses. Fuller says they’ve gotten a great response from the community.
There are also RV sites on the grounds, for people who want to stay on site.