Press Release
Realtor® Louisa Barton

Realtor® Louisa Barton: Helping Horses Displaced by the Hurricane

OCALA, Fla. – The request came through Facebook Messenger. Louisa Barton, an agent with Showcase Properties of Central Florida in Ocala, recalled:

“An acquaintance had a friend who lives in Englewood and was stranded with 34 horses. She had lost all her feed and hay supplies when Hurricane Ian hit. The roof had come off the barn, her fields were flooded, fences gone, and she didn’t have a way to turn horses out to even eat grass.”

A lifelong horse lover, Barton hosts a podcast called The Horse Talk Show, so it’s no surprise she got that request for help. She immediately jumped into action, creating the Save The Horses GoFundMe campaign with the support of the Ocala CEP Equine Initiative.

An accomplished horsewoman, the director of equine engagement for Ocala CEP and a real estate agent who has lived in Marion County for over 20 years, Barton specializes in farms and horse properties. She has developed a strong network of connections and relationships in the region.

In the aftermath of Ian, she immediately realized the urgent need of communities like Fort Myers, Englewood and Venice, and started coordinating with volunteers and donors. They began collecting and delivering donations of food, bedding, fencing materials and other supplies to coordinated drop locations in the beleaguered coastal areas.

Larson Hay suppliers jumped in to offer feed, and Jiffy Transport donated their rigs, time and fuel to help with the deliveries. It was a major undertaking with challenging logistics, yet it was organized in record time.

"Even on a good day without hurricane damage to deal with, those areas don’t have the resources we have here in Ocala in the Horse Capital,” Barton explained. “We delivered supplies to people who have lost literally everything, and there are a lot of horses down there. We just started making trips.”

She said, “What started out with a small mission turned into an overwhelming number of people offering donations and time. It was predominantly helping horse owners, but we helped dog and cat owners, as well. At one point, we even brought diapers.”

The GoFundMe allowed them to buy additional stores of food and water, as well as medicines, stabling and shelter, grooming, saddle and tack, blankets, along with any services that people are willing to donate, such as farriers, veterinarians, transport and trailers.

“We bought more than $17,000 worth of fencing and raised over $100,000 to help. We got the word out on Facebook and through social media. It was amazing,” said Barton. She used the $23,000 she collected through the GoFundMe account for the cause.

“If you’ve never been in that situation, you don’t know what to do,” she said. “It was a blessing to be able to help.”

To learn more about the Ocala CEP Equine Initiative, go to:

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