Heavy horse toll as twister destroys farm


Latest: Tales of survival from Orr Family Farm

orr-family-farmUp to 100 horses are feared dead after a massive tornado ripped through the Oklahoma City area.

Authorities say two people are known to have died in twisters that ravaged the area, and six are reported to have died in Texas as storms generated a series of deadly twisters.

Oklahoma and other Midwest areas remain on high alert, with fears the storm system could generate further twisters.

KFOR.com, Oklahoma’s Channel 4, in a live feed earlier today, reported on the devastation at the 106-acre Orr Family Farm in Moore.

The farm and an adjoining horse training and agistment facility took a massive hit from the tornado.

Footage revealed complete destruction, with the remains of stalls unrecognisable. Surviving horses could be seen in the footage.

The station reported that 75 to 100 horses had died in the area and completely destroyed the farm, run by Dr Glenn Orr and his family.

It is understood the farm’s stalls and barns took a direct hit from the tornado, which was estimated to be on the ground for 40 minutes as it took out everything in its path. It was estimated to be 3.2 kilometres wide.

Residents had about 16 minutes to seek safety.

The Orr family farm, responding to messages of support on its Facebook page, said: “Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We are sorry we cannot reply to each of you at this time, as we are focusing on our staff, families and the farm.

“We are physically alright, but we have sustained a large amount of damage at the farm, and adjacent properties.

“We are still assessing damage to both properties and animals.”

Orr Family Farm spokesman Tony Vann told Horsetalk that communications were difficult, but he managed to obtain a brief update by text-messaging Dr Orr’s son, Tom.

He said the family and staff were all right, but he did not have information on the animals.

He said he had heard the report of 75 to 100 horse deaths, but could not confirm that.

He said the block of land where Orr Family Farm stood also housed another business, Celestial Acres, which was a horse training and agistment facility.

It is understood the Orr family also own that business.

Vann said Orr Family Farm did not have 75-100 horses on its property. That raised the likelihood that at least some of the reported horse deaths may have occurred on the agistment property.

Vann said the neighborhoods devastated by the tornado seen on media footage were in some cases only a few hundred metres from the Orr property.

He said there were five staff and family in the farm’s administration office, plus seasonal workers, on site when the tornado approached. All were able to reach safety before it struck.




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3 thoughts on “Heavy horse toll as twister destroys farm

  • May 22, 2013 at 4:20 am

    A nightmare. My most sincere sympathy !

  • May 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Reporters on the scene counted 18 dead horses in one part of the 100+ acres at Orr Farm. The horse community is responding wonderfully with grain, hay, pastures and trucking for the remaining horses. Fences are down also. The Orr Family Farm Facebook page shows a huge outpouring of support to this awful tragedy from horse people around the world. Some are offering their spring foals and other horse stock to the family as donations. We extend our prayers and wish the Orr Family and their animals a rapid recovery.

  • May 23, 2013 at 5:27 am

    As a fellow horse person, I am very sorry for your loss. Please keep the horse community posted on how we can help. Sending caring thoughts from Virginia.


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