Caring For Horsemen Hit Hard By COVID-19, One Clip At A Time
Freelance groom Tim Gaskell is organizing a second Clip-a-Thon to benefit EAF's COVID Emergency Fund for industry professionals.
Oct. 7, 2020 — The Chronicle of the Horse — COVID-19 has affected nearly every person in the world, including those in our equine industry. Some have lost their jobs. Most have taken a hard hit on income. Some couldn’t find work. Some had to find alternative work. No matter what the situation, 2020 has forced a lot of people to change or alter their plans to pay the bills.
Tim Gaskell, a groom who owns TAG Equine Services, LLC, a freelance grooming business based in Florida, felt devastated for many of the essential workers in the equine industry when the COVID-19 quarantine began. Gaskell knew that when the U.S. Equestrian Federation shut down horse shows from March to June 1, much of the equine industry would suffer financially.
“I was lucky; I only lost about one week’s worth of work at the beginning of the quarantine,” Gaskell said. “But I wanted a way to raise money in a short amount of time for all the essential workers, like grooms, braiders, jump crew, ring guys, office staff, that were taking a way larger hit than I was.”
The idea for the Clip-A-Thon came to him while he was hauling horses at the end of April. He’d seen a recent Facebook post from the Equestrian Aid Foundation about their COVID-19 relief grants. Since 1996, the EAF has been providing emergency grants to horsemen and women who have lost their income due to circumstances beyond their control, such as an illness or a debilitating injury. Now they’ve opened up their Disaster Relief Fund to specifically assist qualified applicants who need help with basic living expenses due to COVID-19 via a one-time grant of $250. In order to apply, a person must submit their email address and full name on the EAF website, and then the EAF will send the candidate an application.
“Two days after I left the EAF a message, they called me back to tell me how supportive and excited they were about my Clip-A-Thon idea,” Gaskell said with a laugh. “They were 100% on board.”
Kayla Wright, a former groom and rider, was Gaskell’s first call after he spoke to the EAF. “He said, ‘I have this crazy idea. Will you help me?’ ” Wright said. “As soon as he explained it, I was in.”