Darren Weir opens up property for bushfire-affected horses
Disqualified Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has opened his 160-hectare Baringhup property to aid horses affected by the bushfires.
Weir, currently serving a four-year ban from racing for the possession of “jiggers” and facing charges for animal cruelty and conspiracy offences, manages cattle at the property, but has given permission for his daughters Taige, 21, and Bonnie, 16, to take in horses seeking refuge from the devastating fires.
Taige Weir, a veterinary nurse, said about six to 10 horses were already lined up to travel from fire-ravaged Mallacoota to Baringhup, but transportation was an issue.
“I’ve got a few calls from a certain lady from Mallacoota that’s helping out and she’s passed on my number to a few people that actually own the horses,” she said.
“They’re just struggling. The main thing is they’re struggling to find transport. We had one man call up and they don’t have a float because it burnt down so I think me and a few others from around Maldon are going to do a trip next week and get them from Mallacoota.”
Weir said her father had been very supportive of letting her take in those horses seeking refuge on his property, which can cater for up to 60 horses.
“I asked him, ‘Look Dad, we’ve got all these yards here, we may as well use them’, and he said, ‘Yep, if you want to do it, go for it, I am so happy to help’,” she said.
“He’s going to donate some hay and feed for me so I don’t have to be out of pocket there, so he’s pretty much handed it over to me and my little sister to do but he’s helping financially for me.
“I work full-time Monday to Friday but I’ll be doing a feed run morning and night, checking all their waters and picking up their manure and everything, and my little sister Bonnie, she’s just turned 16 and she’s on school holidays at the moment and she’s going to do most of the work for me.”
Weir said she had no idea what condition the horses would arrive in.
“Originally I said I’d take on the evacuated horses, but I can take on whatever,” she said.
“If they need some veterinary treatment, I work at the vet clinic so that will obviously help as well. I can take them to the vet if they need.
“But until I talk to the owners of these horses, I’m really not sure what to expect.
“They’re planning on calling me tomorrow with the horses’ names and breeds so I know what I’m expecting.
Weir said anyone interested in sending their horses to Baringhup or who can help out with transportation can contact her at email@example.com
“That’s the most important thing, the transportation of these horses,” she said.
“I had a man ring me the other day and say, ‘I’d love my horse to come to yours but it’s three-and-a-half hours away’. It is a fair distance from where the fires are, but he said, ‘If I could get transport, they’d be on a truck going’.
“If anyone can do anything about transportation, that would be the best.”