Horses in danger now safely relocated
Flooding turned pastures into ponds, horses now rescued
A ranch owner in Punta Gorda whose horses were trapped by recent flood waters is getting some much needed help tonight. She turned to Four in your Corner Troubleshooter Mike Mason. He shows us how her horses are now headed to higher ground. When floo Video by fox4now.comvideo
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - A ranch owner in Punta Gorda whose horses were trapped by recent flood waters is getting some much needed help tonight. She turned to Four in your Corner Troubleshooter Mike Mason. He shows us how her horses are now headed to higher ground. When flooding turned her pastures into ponds this rancher pleaded for help and got more than she expected.
More than a dozen horses, a few ponies and a miniature donkey all found themselves surrounded by floodwater after the recent storms. But now they're headed to greener pastures.
Dawn Schmertmann: "We were able to move some to the neighbors down here we have 6 horses down there and we've got 3 ponies and a donkey on this side."
Dawn Schmertmann runs Riding Star Ranch, a non-profit which provides equine therapy to at risk children and military veterans. When Fox-4 aired her story, pleading for the public's help, plenty of people came forward.
Dawn Schmertmann: "A lot of phone calls, donations have come in on the website and everything so it's been really a blessing so thank you guys very much."
Dawn was desperate because horses develop a series of health problems if they're forced to stand in water. You can see how after only one day this horse's hooves have already begun to rot away. After our report, viewers offered to bring these horses to higher ground. Dawn's plea for help brought a community closer together, she didn't know her neighbors here a quarter of a mile away, now they're the ones giving her 3 ponies and this miniature donkey a place to stay.
Jeannine Orndorff: "There are a lot of people who care and hopefully it reenergizes her to keep going and doing all the good stuff she does with the horses in our community."
Some folks offering to let Dawn use their stables, others donating money, one family letting her use this trailer. This man taking in the last two horses.
George Kloszewski: "We just said bring them out and let them eat out here until they need to go back home when they dry out."
Dawn is grateful the community came forward to help her get back in the saddle so she can continue helping others less fortunate.
Dawn Schmertmann: "We haven't seen anybody get lame or have swollen legs or anything we moved fast enough to avoid that.
Mike Mason: "Cause people responded."
Dawn Schmertmann: "Absolutely it was wonderful thank you."
Riding Star Ranch also offers riding lessons and summer youth programs. They spend $750 a day just for the horse's food and always need donations. If you'd like to learn more about the ranch head to our website and click on the Big Red 4.