Pam Morrison, executive director of the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association, with Larry Cundiff at Oxford Mower and Repair.

During this unprecedented time when the entire planet is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, people are longing for good news, and the equine industry has been a shining example of the positivity that can result from people working together to help each other and the horses they love. The latest such example is the aptly named “Now More Than Ever” campaign created by Equine Equipment to help equine charities in this time of need. Working with Exmark and local dealers, Equine Equipment has facilitated the donation of eight 21” Exmark commercial mowers valued at $1,200 each to local charities in Florida. Similar donations are in the works for other locations around the country with up to 50 charities receiving support.

“We’ve always tried to do our part to give back to the industry, and we believe that to be more important than ever right now,” said Steve Andersen, founder of Equine Equipment, which helps the horse industry save on a variety of equipment and products from Exmark, Toro, New Holland, Tenda and FarmPaint. “These great charitable programs all operate with limited budgets, so we are more than happy to help them out with these donations so that they can continue to do their important work.”

The donations are designed so the equine charity can either use the Exmark mower at their facility or raffle/auction it off to raise funds.

“We urge everyone to support these charities, and we are proud to donate Exmark commercial mower to them,” said Tommy Gilbert of family run Gilbert’s Hardware, which has served the Ocala community for nearly 35 years and provided four Exmark mowers.

The eight Florida organizations receiving mowers are:

Stirrups ‘n Strides Therapeutic Riding Center plans to use the Exmark mower at its facility in Citra, Florida.

“Stirrups ‘n Strides Therapeutic Riding Center is thrilled to being chosen as a recipient of the Exmark walk-behind commercial mower,” said Betty Gray, executive director. “Stirrups ‘n Strides is a therapeutic riding center that provides horseback riding and carriage driving to children and adults that have physical, mental or emotional challenges. Since we have just moved into our new covered arena facility, a mower is #1 on our needs list! A huge thank you goes out to Gilbert’s Hardware and Equine Equipment for their donation. Thanks for being one of our ‘Angels.’”

The Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Inc. will include an Exmark mower as part of its annual online auction of items and services. The auction will run June 9-11 at www.starquine.com.

Since 1964, Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ has helped horsemen in need, and their families, with rent, utilities, food and scholarships.

“We are deeply grateful for companies like Exmark and dealers like Tommy for their support; together we will emerge stronger,” said Debbe Wojack, executive director of the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers’. “The donation is well-timed; mowing season will certainly be upon us in June.”

The Florida Thorobred Fillies began in 1962 to establish a closer rapport between women in Florida’s horse industry, to provide social activities, to establish a program of meetings beneficial to members and the farms they represent, and to participate in civic activities to benefit the organization and community life. The organization plans to hold a raffle this summer for the mower.

The organization is well known for the cakes and pies they bake from family recipes and sell at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company auctions, and over the past decade alone they have donated nearly $60,000 to a variety of local charities.

“We are so excited to have this opportunity to fundraise thanks to the donation of the Exmark mower,” said Joan Dilbero, president of the Florida Thorobred Fillies. “The women in our club are thrilled to be able to hold this fundraiser since we were unable to hold out traditional cake table sales at the Spring Ocala Breeders’ Sales.

Tomorrow’s Equestrian in Williston is the fourth Ocala-area organization to receive an Exmark mower. The therapeutic riding program serves the North Central Florida region at little or no cost to those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities that benefit from riding horses. The program is run entirely by dedicated volunteers, so every dollar and donation helps.

In addition to those four, the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association, which serves more than 120 people annually with programs that foster physical, emotional and mental well being, received a mower through Oxford Mower and Repair.

Step Ahead Thoroughbred Retirement Inc., which rehabilitates, retrains and re-homes retired Thoroughbreds in the Tampa Bay area, received a mower from Al’s Lawn Care Products and Service Inc.

Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbred (HART), a Thoroughbred After Alliance-accredited program in Central Florida, received a mower from Keep’em Runnin’.

Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation Inc., another TAA-accredited organization in the Sunshine State, received a mower from Horizon-Stuart.

“We are very thankful to Exmark and all the dealers involved for partnering with us on this worthy endeavor,” added Andersen. “The horse industry has always been very generous and willing to help others in need, and this partnership is another great example of that.”