As the country endures a severe drought and devastating fires continue to burn, one young lady and her fellow coworkers from Snowden Racing have put their minds together to assist those in need.

With the impacts of the drought affecting most regions of eastern Australia compounded by recent bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland, Jess Bates and her fellow workers at Snowden Racing decided it was time to do something meaningful for those farmers doing it so tough.

Many of Jess’ workmates are from the bush originally and knew all too well from the experiences of their families, how difficult it was becoming to feed and keep animals on parched soils.

“We have been talking a lot about it lately, especially with the bushfires. We’ve got a lot of staff that are from the Central Coast and Port Macquarie area, who have been a bit nervous lately with the fires. My family as well, up in Queensland, have been under threat too,” she told TDN AusNZ. “A lot of our staff have horses just out of town and so we are always talking about these things every couple of days or so.”

Wanting to find something meaningful to contribute, it became clear that the answer was in the very stables they work in.

“We often do a little bit of charity now and then. We do things like hold cake days and things, to donate money to charities,” she said. “We are often trying to come up with ways we can give back to people. Something that I had always thought about is the feed that is wasted or left over at the stables. Ideally, you want the horses to eat everything, but you always end up with a bit of leftover feed. It’d be great if we could put that to use.”

Encouraged by her workmates, Jess took the idea of ‘rescuing’ the leftover feed to head trainer Peter Snowden.

“He said that as long as we can co-ordinate to collect it and get it out there, then he’s more than happy for us to do it,” she said.

“We started calling around a few people and looking at organising it and Rural Aid have been good enough to help us out,” she said.

“We’ve collected some of ours, and we are waiting to hear back from Rural Aid as to when they can pick it up in the next day or so. Then they will work out the logistics of getting it out to people. Carmel Size has also come on board and is helping us out as well. So we are starting to reach a few different people by getting the word out, so they can help out.”

It’s a small but meaningful gesture, which Jess hopes can grow into something which the entire thoroughbred industry can get behind.

“That’s one thing that I’ve always loved about the industry, it doesn’t matter what the issue is, we are able to get together and help out,” she said.

“When push comes to shove, we are like a family and we can help one another.”

She realises the feed rescue program does have its limitations, but in the wake of the fires, there’s a lot of people desperate for help right now.

“A few people have brought up about how the feed can go off quickly, but it’s not only for horses, it will also go to sheep and cattle, who will eat anything,” she said.

“There’s a lot of desperate people out there and they will take anything they can get their hands on.”

Stables interested in donating feed are asked to contact Rural Aid, or Jess Bates or Lindy Wharekura at Snowden Racing.

Credit: TDN Aus/NZ