After tornadoes slammed Oklahoma in late May and early June, Bob Faath, a “horse whisperer” from Jupiter Farms, heard a call for help from that far off state.
The tornadoes killed at least 18 people and also left about 300 horses dead. Many people were injured and left homeless and so were some 200 horses. Money was needed to help not just the humans but also the steeds.
Sunday, at Jupiter Equestrian Park in Jupiter Farms, Faath hosted a riding clinic that benefited both local riders and those Oklahoma horses. Riders paid a $60 fee, all of which will go for the care of the those horses.
Faath, a native Texan who worked on large ranches there in his early days, has experienced tornadoes that killed and injured horses.
“None of the tornadoes I went through was bad as what happened in Oklahoma, but still I know what they’re going through with their horses,” he said.
By Sunday, Faath had raised more than $2,000, not just from participants in the clinic but from other contributors.
“In that area where the tornadoes hit, there are more horses than people,” said Faath’s wife, Gayle, who helped organize the event. “Veterinarians are working overtime, but they need money for medical supplies and feed. Horses aren’t like dogs or cats. You can’t put 80 of them in a van or truck when something like this happens and ship them across state lines for care. Money is needed there in Oklahoma.”
Sunday morning, 13 riders were gathered in a paddock where Faath was giving them instruction on how to better communicate with and control their horses. Faath says he is a horsemanship teacher who, in truth, does more listening to horses than whispering to them. He was trying to instill in his students that ability to connect with their horses. At one point, he had the participants ride one by one diagonally across the paddock with their eyes closed, trying to sense whether they were moving in the right direction just by using their legs and the signals they received through their hands on the reins.
Shannon Royal of Jupiter was a volunteer worker at the event.
“It’s extremely important to supply this kind of help,” she said. “You have people down there in Oklahoma who right now who have no roof over their heads themselves and they really need help taking care of their horses.”
Ray Williams, 59, of Jupiter, was taking the course from Faath astride his 18-year-old horse, Edward.
“I’m trying to learn whatever I can about my horse to become a better rider,” Williams said. “And at the same time we’re helping sustain the veterinary services and care for those horses in Oklahoma.
Faath said he was planning a similar “charity clinic” in the Delray Beach area. No date has been set. For information, he can be reached at 561-762-5229. He can also be reached through Facebook at “Cowboy Bob Faath” or https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/CowboyBobFaath?fref=ts
Where to donate
Tax deductible contributions for care of horses left injured and/or homeless by the Oklahoma tornadoes can be sent to: Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, P.O. Box 96, Blanchard, Okla. 73010. The memo line on a check should read “Tornado horse relief.”