Nonprofit Herd of 230 Horses Hit With Strangles

Westernaires Horses
Westernaires Horses

Jefferson County, Colorado – A popular nonprofit riding program, Westernaires, with approximately 230 horses in its program has been hit with a strangles outbreak that threatens the financial solvency of the organization.  Over 80 of the equines in their care have contracted the disease.

Westernaires is a “mounted precision drill organization composed of Jefferson County, Colorado, youngsters from 9 to 19 years of age.”  They were founded in 1949 and have been serving the greater Denver area since then.

“Strangles is a highly contagious equine disease that’s like strep throat,” Westernaires Director Glen Keller told reporters. “It’s common among horses, but it’s not contagious to people or other animals. It is very contagious among horses and they get it by contact, either by touching each other or drinking out of the same water.”  Horses that have recovered from strangles are contagious for up to 6 weeks, and the organization is looking at a long and costly quarantine and rehabilitation process.

A voluntary quarantine has been put in place to prevent the entire herd from contracting the disease.  The loss of rental and lesson fees have led to an estimated loss of $15,000 per week for the organization.  The most recent available 990, 2016, shows a total cash reserve of just over $330,000, but the director is worried.  ““Even when you run a nonprofit you have to prepare for a rainy day,” Keller said. “We’ve tried to prepare, but it will certainly impact us in the long run, likely eliminating our ability to maintain equipment and things like that or what we use to transport the kids.”

A GoFundMe has been started to help Westernaires through this hard time: https://www.gofundme.com/WesternairesHerdHelp

Westernaires horses and riders.
Westernaires horses and riders.
Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773

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