Rescued Horses in Puerto Rico are Now Living the Perfect Life Thanks to Strangers Across the Sea
Kelley Stobie runs an amazing thoroughbred racehorse rehabilitation and rehoming facility on her farm in Puerto Rico, but as you can imagine, funding is a constant struggle. This is even more so during a global pandemic.
Luckily, a couple of organizations came together recently in a huge show of support for the work Kelley does at Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, and it’s made a huge difference at just the right time.
Now, CTA has a five-month supply of hay and Kelley won’t have to scramble week after week to get food together for the horses she’s rehabilitating.
Kelley is known for being super resourceful—in truth she’s had to be. She was working at an equine facility in St. Maarten in 1995 when Hurricane Luis hit, and after Maria struck Puerto Rico she won awards for her bravery and dedication to saving horses at the demolished Camarero racetrack.
Over 800 thoroughbreds were left trapped in the wreckage and for weeks she got them out, arranged medical care, and coordinated emergency supplies and help from mainland USA.
Finding hay in Puerto Rico is a constant struggle. There just aren’t the rich pastures like you see in Kentucky, so Kelley is always on the lookout for five bales here and 10 bales there.
The rehabilitation facility is on her family’s farm, with an additional plot next door that her husband fenced in for them. They can only take in 20 horses at a time, so it’s always a race against the clock to get them rehabbed and rehomed.
Each time she gets a new horse, Kelley gets to work contacting other rehab organizations in Canada and the US and applying for funding to help support its care.
Recently, Kelley was awarded a $3,000 grant from After the Finish Line, a non-profit funding source for thoroughbred racehorses.
This enabled her to buy a load of hay, but she needed to find a way to get it from mainland USA to Puerto Rico. Kelley reached out to Trailer Bridge, one of the shipping and logistics companies that services the Jacksonville to Puerto Rico route, to inquire about a discount.
Ann Jones took the request right to the top of the company, to Trailer Bridge CEO Mitch Luciano, who decided that not only would they get the load there but they would provide the container and transport free of charge.
The hay funded by After the Finish Line and delivered by Trailer Bridge made it to the Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare farm last week, and it’s just such a great example of “it takes a village.”
Without the ongoing support of others in a position to make it happen, Kelley says she just wouldn’t be able to afford what it takes to keep this facility going.