Category Archives: Equestrian Assistance

Jose Aguilar Wins $2,000 EAF Grooms Class at Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show

Class sponsor Missy Luczak-Smith with winner Jose Aguilar and Fearless, owned by Emily Durlach. Photo by Sally Floyd Kay.

Blowing Rock, N.C. – July 30, 2018 – Jose Aguilar and his charge Fearless, a 6-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Emily Durlach, topped a field of 14 entries to win the $2,000 Equestrian Aid Foundation Hunter Grooms Class at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show on Sunday.

“So much of a groom’s work happens behind the scenes, but these individuals are the heart and soul of the equestrian community,” said Missy Luczak-Smith, who has organized and sponsored the class since 2013. “The Grooms Class is a wonderful way to recognize their dedication to the horses they care for and to the sport in general.”

The top six entries were awarded cash prizes, and all class entries received gifts from FarmVet and a supply of Shapley’s Superior Grooming Products. Luczak-Smith said that the continuing partnership between Equestrian Aid Foundation and Shapley’s, which began earlier this year, is especially meaningful because both organizations share a commitment to the wellbeing of the equestrian community.

Aguilar also took home an Equestrian Aid Foundation rain jacket, donated by Luczak-Smith from The Clothes Horse. Second place winner Daniel Gomez, handling Caroline Moran’s Bacardi, took home an Equestrian Aid Foundation vest, also donated by Luczak-Smith from The Clothes Horse.

Luczak-Smith has been involved with the Equestrian Aid Foundation since 2005 and has served on its board of directors for over a decade. A consistently successful competitor in the Amateur Owner hunter division, she currently trains with Karen A. Kelley of Sims Hill Farm. The North Carolina-based training facility is a proud Equestrian Aid Foundation Stable Partner, a designation given to stables whose members work collectively to support the foundation’s mission of helping fellow horsemen recover and thrive following catastrophic illness or injury.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

US Equestrian Safe Sport Ban and Temporary Suspension Communication Policy Update

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian recently updated our notification process for Safe Sport temporary suspensions and lifetime bans.  US Equestrian continually evaluates our communication strategy to ensure we provide our members with meaningful information in a timely manner.

Currently, we post the temporary suspensions and banned individuals list online which is available to the public. We suggest members and the media check this list on a regular basis to stay informed.

We also notify competition management regarding temporary suspensions and bans to ensure show management has the information they need to make certain these individuals do not participate in competitions and are not on the grounds.  Notifications go out directly to all competition managers and secretaries from our IT database to ensure 100% reach.  Additionally, we inform key USEF staff, the affiliate, and the FEI based on the individual’s specific breed or discipline.  US Equestrian has been directly reaching out to individuals who have received bans or temporary suspensions with phone calls to supplement the e-mail notification they receive from The U.S. Center for SafeSport.

For members, US Equestrian will feature a special Safe Sport section in the Equestrian Weekly member newsletter with a link to the current banned and temporary suspension list, as well as important Safe Sport news and updates.  US Equestrian will consider broader communication to press and members when deemed appropriate to ensure enforcement and awareness to effectively implement a ban including removing their name from past accolades and preventing future recognition.

Lastly, we have posted Safe Sport Frequently Asked Questions on our website and will continue to update this reference material on an ongoing basis.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Equine Non-Profits Granted Nearly $40,000 by USA Equestrian Trust

Next Grant Application Period Opens Early 2019

July 25, 2018 — Lexington, KY — USA Equestrian Trust has awarded nearly $40,000 in grants to help fund equine-focused projects by four non-profits. Since the inception of its grants program, the Trust has awarded nearly $2.1 million in grants.

The projects funded as part of the grant application period ending in May were:

ASBURY UNIVERSITY ($5,000) to fund scholarships for students participating in the university’s service mount program, which trains horses for service with police, military, and national park rangers.

MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AT GULFPORT FOUNDATION ($3,212.75) to provide helmets and safety education to young riders.

RACING SURFACES TESTING LABORATORY ($25,423) to examine the effects of weight on the behavior of show horses’ hooves and legs while in the air. The research will compare horses with corrective and performance shoeing to flat-shod horses.

SACRAMENTO AREA HUNTER JUMPER ASSOCIATION ($5,000) to offer a free training clinic to its members, who are entry-level exhibitors and low-budget owners. The money for this grant was allocated from funding reserved for Hunter/Jumper activities in California and Nevada.

The Trust’s next grant application period will begin early in 2019. Equine non-profits wishing to make a request for funding during that application period will be required to fill out the online application form at http://trusthorses.org. To be notified once the application period has opened, please email grants@trusthorses.org.

About USA Equestrian Trust

USA Equestrian Trust’s mission is to assist in preserving and/or enhancing the quality of equestrian sport in the United States of America. Its objects and purposes are exclusively charitable, educational, and dedicated to the fostering of equestrian sports. The Trust is a private foundation pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code.

Contact: Press Link
Phone: 516-848-4867
Email: dderosa1@optonline.net

Safe Sport Frequently Asked Questions

US Equestrian has prepared responses to frequently asked questions regarding interim measures issued by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The following information is an additional resource to help further educate US Equestrian members and the public around these important matters.

Safe Sport

What is the U.S. Center for SafeSport, what is their jurisdiction and how is the Center empowered?
The U.S. Center for SafeSport launched in March 2017 as an independent entity charged with (i) providing education and outreach about athlete abuse; and (ii) investigating and resolving reports of sexual misconduct. Their jurisdiction is exclusive as it relates to allegations of sexual misconduct and it retains discretionary jurisdiction over non-sexual misconduct allegations, i.e. bullying, harassment, physical and emotional misconduct.

The Center was authorized by Congress on February 14, 2018, through S. 534 – Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.

The bill amended the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978 by designating the U.S. Center for SafeSport to serve as the independent national safe sport organization, with the responsibility for developing policies and procedures to prevent the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of amateur athletes.

What are the reporting requirements?
All USEF members and participants must report to the U.S. Center for SafeSport conduct of which they become aware that could constitute (a) sexual misconduct, (b) misconduct that is reasonably related to the underlying allegation of sexual misconduct, and (c) retaliation related to an allegation of sexual misconduct. This report must be made within 24 hours of learning about the alleged misconduct.

Importantly, the obligation to report requires reporting any conduct that comes to a member’s or participant’s attention, which if true, would violate the U.S. Center for SafeSport Code or USEF Safe Sport Policy.

Individuals should not investigate or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of allegations involving sexual misconduct, as a condition of reporting to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

What happens if I do not report conduct that I am required to report?
The failure to report is a crime under federal law and it is punishable as a criminal offense. In addition, the failure to report is a violation that could result in a sanction against the individual.

Am I required to report about suspected abuse that occurred several years ago?
Yes. There is no statute of limitations applicable to reports of incidents of sexual misconduct made to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

What resources are available to learn more about Safe Sport?
The USEF website links to the Center with extensive resources, including:

  • Reporting forms and process
  • 24 Hour Helpline
  • Definitions
  • Safe Sport Training
  • Safe Sport Code
  • USEF Safe Sport Policy
  • Safe Sport Sanctions List

Suspensions, Bans, and Enforcement

Who decides whether to issue a temporary suspension for sexual misconduct?
The U.S. Center for SafeSport has exclusive jurisdiction over reports of sexual misconduct and determines whether interim measures, including suspensions should be imposed.

Does the U.S. Center for SafeSport issue a temporary suspension in connection with every report of allegations of sexual misconduct?
No.  The U.S. Center for SafeSport issues a temporary suspension when they deem the facts and circumstances warrant it.

What is the criteria for a temporary suspension?
The U.S. Center for SafeSport may impose interim measures, i.e. a temporary suspension, when they deem it is appropriate to ensure the safety and well-being of the Reporting Party, Athletes, other Non-Athletes or the Responding Party.  Interim measures may be appropriate where an allegation against the Responding Party is sufficiently serious that the Responding Party’s continued participation could be detrimental to the sport or its reputation.

For more information refer to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport Practices and Procedures, please visit: https://www.safesport.org/files/index/tag/policies-procedures.

Is there a process for a person to seek relief from a temporary suspension?
Yes. An individual may request that the U.S. Center for SafeSport stay the temporary suspension in certain circumstances, e.g. participation in a certain event. In addition to, or in lieu of, a request for a stay, the individual may request an interim measures hearing, which will be afforded within 72 hours of such request. The interim measures hearing is conducted before an independent arbitration body.

Can a suspended person request that USEF lift their suspension or permit them to participate in some activities?
No, any request for relief from a suspension must be directed to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and decisions will be made in accordance with their Practices and Procedures.

How are individuals notified they are under a temporary suspension?
The U.S. Center for SafeSport notifies the Responding Party by e-mail.

What is the scope of an interim measures hearing on a temporary suspension?
An interim measures hearing is limited to determining whether reasonable cause exists to justify the temporary suspension. It is not a full hearing on the merits of the case.

Is there recourse against someone who intentionally makes a false accusation?
Someone who abuses the process, falsifies information or maliciously abuses the process is subject to sanctions.

Does the USEF know the reporting party?
No, the U.S. Center for SafeSport will not identify or use the name of a Third-Party Reporter nor will it publicly release a Reporting Party’s identifying information.

Why can’t everyone know everything about an investigation?
Sharing details about allegations made, or an investigation, can impede the ability to thoroughly investigate a matter without interference. In some cases, law enforcement may be involved and the fact that an investigation is underway could compromise the ability of law enforcement to secure the evidence necessary to pursue an indictment.

Once a determination is made that a violation occurred, what guidelines does the U.S. Center for SafeSport follow to determine appropriate sanctions?
According to the U.S. Center for SafeSport Practices and Procedures, the following guidelines are used:

Sanctioning Guidelines

Sanctions will be reasonable and proportionate to the Code violation and surrounding circumstances with the intended effect of protecting relevant participants. One or more of the following sanctions may be recommended or imposed singularly or in combination: (a) written warning; b) educational or behavioral programs; (c) loss of privileges; (d) probation; (e) suspension or other eligibility restrictions, up to and including permanent ineligibility. The Officer reserves the right to lessen or broaden any range of recommended sanctions in the case of mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior.

Factors relevant to determining appropriate sanctions include, without limitation:

  • Seriousness of the Violation;
  • The Responding Party’s prior history;
  • Ages of individuals involved;
  • Whether the Responding Party poses an ongoing threat to the safety of others;
  • Voluntary disclosure of offense and/or cooperation by the Responding Party;
  • Disposition of an investigation by state or federal law authorities;
  • Real or perceived impact of incident on the Reporting Party, NGB(s) or USOC; and
  • Other mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

For more information refer to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport Practices and Procedures, please visit: https://www.safesport.org/files/index/tag/policies-procedures.

What is USEF’s responsibility to enforce sanctions?
Federal Law requires USEF to enforce sanctions imposed by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and interim measures, including temporary suspensions. Communicating the information to members and the media is an important way to ensure protection of our members and participants in equestrian sport.

When did USEF’s Safe Sport program start?
USEF established a Safe Sport Policy, effective December 1, 2013, prior to the Center being created.  The Policy covered the areas of prohibited conduct (sexual misconduct, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, bullying, harassment, and hazing), training and education, criminal background checks, reporting and enforcement.  Program requirements included Safe Sport Training and criminal background checks for USEF Staff, Licensed Officials, Board Members and Team Chefs and Coaches.

What is the responsibility of USEF Recognized Affiliates and their associated organizations and activities?
A suspended or banned person is prohibited from participating, in any capacity, in any activity or competition authorized by, organized by, or under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies recognized by the United States Olympic Committee, including US Equestrian, and/or any US Equestrian Affiliated Organization.  This prohibition affects a person regardless of whether or not they are a USEF member. Competition licensees and management are responsible for ensuring that no banned or suspended person is on the competition grounds.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

EAF Salutes Julie Ross for Her Longstanding Commitments to the Equestrian Community

Photo: Julie Ross with her son Robert Ross.

Wellington, Fla. – July 5, 2018 – As the mother of a professional rider who worked his way up through the ranks, Julie Ross has a keen understanding of the equestrian community from her view at the periphery. She knows about the drive and dedication of the equestrian community.

Ten years ago, Julie Ross, mother of Equestrian Aid Foundation co-founder and board member Robert Ross, made a commitment to the equestrian community. “I asked my son what he wanted for Christmas.  He said he would love it if I made a donation to the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” said Julie. “So I did, and I have not stopped as it feels pretty good to give and contribute to the Equestrian Aid Foundation.”

Through her unwavering monthly commitment, Julie has singlehandedly funded over 100 doctors’ visits for horsemen whose lives and livelihoods depended on the care they received during times of medical and financial crisis.

“Her contributions help ensure Equestrian Aid Foundation has the funds to get critically ill and injured equestrians back on their feet and, in most cases, earning a living by doing the work they love,” said board member Scot Evans.

Julie is the motivation for the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s Change Rein Monthly Giving Program, an initiative that encourages members of the equestrian community to donate on a monthly basis.

“Each month your spare change can effect a huge change for an equestrian struggling to become self-sufficient again,” said Janise Gray, Director of Grant Recipient Services. “As one of our recipients told me, you’re not giving a hand-out; you’re giving a hand up.”

For questions about the Change Rein Monthly Giving Program or help setting up your donation, please contact Janise Gray at Janise@EquestrianAid.org.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Equestrian Aid Foundation Helps Breeder with Necessities after Catastrophic Accident

Photo courtesy of the Wight family.

Committed to a life of serving others, Loren and Nancy Wight once suspended their Egyptian Arabian breeding operation and moved to Honduras for a year, where Loren helped local communities as an ophthalmic technologist. Now, he is learning to be on the receiving end of help.

In an unsuspecting moment on the family’s Idaho ranch, life changed forever. Loren was teaching a new employee how to operate their tractor when it lurched forward and knocked him down. He was trapped under the tractor’s giant rear wheel, and the only way to get him out was to back over him again.

Loren suffered a catastrophic crush injury to his lower legs, and in the resultant fall, he also sustained a traumatic brain injury. Even after numerous surgeries and rehabilitative therapies, the fate of his lower right leg remains uncertain and may require amputation. The blow to his head left Loren legally blind and impaired his memory, effectively ending both his livelihood as an ophthalmic technologist and a horse breeder.

It’s been a daily struggle since Loren’s accident. Nancy and his daughter work tirelessly to fill his shoes financially and as a farm worker — caring for the horses and other animals, overseeing the breeding operation, and milking the dairy goats. Loren assists where and when he can. Ever resourceful, the family supplements their income by selling eggs, hand-knit mittens, and soaps and lotions made from goat’s milk.

Amidst the day-to-day bustle of farm life, Loren’s health struggles loom in the background. Once self-sufficient and able to provide for his family, Loren relies for the time being on funds from the Equestrian Aid Foundation to keep food on the table and the house warm. Thanks to our donors, however, these necessities are in place.

“I don’t know how, but I vow to give back to the Equestrian Aid Foundation once we get through this tough time,” Loren says. In the meantime, he is grateful for the compassion of the equestrian community as he and his family work toward a brighter future.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Safe Sport Updates from USEF President and CEO

Safe sport has been a topic of national conversation recently and we take this issue very seriously. USEF has been proactive for several years under the leadership of our General Counsel Sonja Keating to develop and implement safe sport programs and we want to share additional steps we are taking to ensure our children and young athletes are safe while practicing and competing in the sport they love.

Expanding Mandatory Requirements for Safe Sport Training

Currently, Safe Sport training is required for designated individuals including persons that the USEF formally authorizes, approves or appoints to a position of authority over athletes or have frequent contact with athletes. At the June meeting, the US Equestrian Board of Directors will consider expanding this rule to require mandatory Safe Sport training for all participants at USEF licensed competitions. Safe Sport training is done online with the initial course taking approximately 90 minutes and the refresher course required annually taking approximately 30 minutes. This would be a personal responsibility rule and compliance would be done by US Equestrian and not by competitions.

Newly Created Safe Sport USEF Staff Position

US Equestrian has recently hired a staff member dedicated to all elements of our Safe Sport program including education, communication and compliance.

New Training Resources for Parents and Participants

It is essential that all members educate themselves regarding Safe Sport. Not only to understand when and how to report, but also to recognize the signs in order to prevent abuse before it occurs. To further your education and participation in this movement, US Equestrian provides numerous Safe Sport Initiative resources on our website at www.usef.org including the following:

  • Safe Sport Training – FREE to members! Three modules that take just under ninety minutes to complete initially, with refresher training (currently voluntary);
  • New resources developed by the Center and designed specifically for parents of equestrian athletes of all ages are available on our website. The training video is free. Parent toolkits are available too for parents of preschool age children, middle school age children, school age children, and high school aged adolescents.
  • A banned list that identifies the person by name and reason for their ban; and
  • The U.S. Center for Safe Sport has partnered with RAINN to provide a 24-hour victim services hotline, reached at 1.866.200.0796.

Know the New Federal Legislation Reporting Requirements –they impact you

In addition to the resources offered by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Equestrian, it is extremely important you are aware of legislation that passed on February 14, 2018, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.  It requires amateur sports organizations and its members to report sex-abuse allegations to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and to local or federal law enforcement, within 24 hours of such knowledge. Failure to do so is a crime.

Bully, Harassment and Unsportsmanlike Behavior

Not all misconduct is sexual. Bullying, harassment and unsportsmanlike behavior are also violations of our Safe Sport policy and unacceptable. All reports will be properly investigated and appropriate measures taken should those investigations result in a finding of a violation.

Under the Safe Sport policy, bullying and harassment are defined as follows:

  • Bullying – Repeated and/or severe (a) aggressive behavior (b) among Minors, (c) that is intended or likely to hurt, control, or diminish another person emotionally, physically, or sexually. Such misconduct between adults does not constitute bullying; the conduct must be directed toward someone under 18 years of age to be actionable as bullying under the Center’s Code or our Safe Sport Policy.
  • Harassment – Repeated and/or severe conduct that (a) causes fear, humiliation or annoyance; (b) offends or degrades; (c) creates a hostile environment; or (d) reflects discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on age, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, national origin, or mental or physical disability; or (e) any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law. Whether conduct is harassing depends on the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the behavior.

Reporting

Sexual and non-sexual misconduct have two distinct reporting processes:

  • All sexual misconduct should be reported directly to the U.S. Center for SafeSport by phone at 720-524-5640 or online at safesport.org.
  • All non-sexual misconduct or violations of the Safe Sport Policy should be reported directly to US Equestrian. Reports through US Equestrian can be submitted using the USEF Incident Report Form, or by email or phone to Sonja Keating, General Counsel, skeating@usef.org, 859-225-2045, Sarah Gilbert, sgilbert@usef.org, 859-225-2022, or Emily Pratt, epratt@usef.org, 859-225-6956.

Both the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Equestrian will accept anonymous reports, but please note that it can be very difficult to investigate anonymous complaints.

US Equestrian is dedicated to bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible and part of that joy is making sure you have the resources available to assist you in making safe choices for our children.  In the same way that our members look to US Equestrian, US Equestrian looks to the Center for the answers to our questions so that we do all we can to make your experience safe and fulfill our responsibilities as an NGB.

Please contact Sonja Keating in our legal department for all Safe Sport inquiries. She can be reached at skeating@usef.org.

Murray S. Kessler
President

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

US Equestrian Federation
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511
P. 859 258 2472 , F. 859 231 6662

Real-Life Horse in Line at Charity Movie Screening Fills More UNBRIDLED Seats Than All Other Films Combined

Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (May 6, 2018) — A real life horse named Blaze upstaged the charity film screening of UNBRIDLED at Celebration Cinema in Mt. Pleasant, MI on April 25, one day before National Help a Horse Day (April 26) during the special 7:00 pm Eastern Time charity movie screening.

Moviegoers were intrigued and amused as they walked up to the ticket box office only to brush up against Blaze, who was also waiting in line to see the movie based on real-life stories of horse centers, including benefactor HopeWell Ranch of Weidman and Remnant Fields of Midland, MI, that pair abused women with rescued horses, resulting in mutual healing.

The screening was preceded by remarks by HopeWell Ranch director Jodi Stuber to the overflow crowd in the packed auditorium that drew more patrons than all other films combined. Ms. Stuber talked about HopeWell Heroes including horses and human volunteers.

UNBRIDLED, set for nationwide release this summer, stars Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), T. C. Stallings (War Room), Rachel Hendrix (October Baby), Jenn Gotzon (Frost/Nixon), and introduces sex-trafficked teen Sarah, played by Tea McKay, whose “journey of healing evokes tears that transcends into heartfelt joy,” says the film’s producer Christy McGlothlin.  UNBRIDLED Trailer

Unbridled Executive Producer Troy Buder also produced Queen of Katwe with Lupita Nyong’o. Producer Christy McGlothlin & HopeWell Ranch Director Jodi Stuber.

UNBRIDLED MOVIE PRODUCER CHRISTY MCGLOTHLIN has nine children, including a special needs child, yet still finds time to make movies and host her online TV Talk show, Mommy Talk Live! Her first film, A LONG WAY OFF (Robert Davi, Jason Burkey), was a modern re-telling of the Prodigal Son story.

Her latest movie, UNBRIDLED, has won numerous film festival awards including the prestigious EQUUS WINNIE Award. Christy lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband Jerry and their children.

For NBC Television coverage of Unbridled Director John Ware, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/jdware2/videos/10214908146519624/

CONTACT: To schedule an interview, contact co-Executive Producer Gerald McGlothlin at 919-437-0001 or email jerry@specialguests.com or HopeWell Ranch Directory Jodi Stuber at 989-289-0465 info@hopewellranch.org.

Press Link, Diana De Rosa, 516-848-4867, dderosa1@optonline.net

Equestrian Aid Foundation Helps Eventer Kim Meier Cope after Life-Altering Injury

Kim Meier with Bart (top) and Test Run. Photos courtesy of Kim Meier.

Wellington, Fla. – Apr. 9, 2018 – Kim Meier reached the pinnacle of eventing before tragedy struck. In 2007 she was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a freak accident. For Kim and horse people like her facing catastrophic injury and illness, life becomes a struggle.

Kim carved her career in classic eventer fashion, riding homebreds and doing all the work herself. She developed her work ethic at the summer camp her family owned, fell in love with the horses and was determined to be an eventer. Largely self-taught, she also worked with Denny Emerson, Ralph Hill and Donnan Sharp.

Test Run or “Merle” was her ticket to the big time. She had bred his sire and his sire’s dam. In 2002, Kim and the gray Thoroughbred finished Bromont. Then in 2003, they competed at Foxhall Three Day Event, their first three star, then Fair Hill. At the Rolex (now the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event) Four Star Event in 2004, they had a top-10 finish out of 72 starters. They competed at Burghley and finished. She was 45 and looking forward to great things.

In 2005, Merle was sidelined due to an injury. Then, Kim’s barn endured a frightening and emotional experience with the EHV-1 virus. Merle got through it and they got back to work.

“I did three Intermediates that year in the summer and fall, planning my big comeback at Rolex in 2007,” Kim said in an article she wrote for Eventing Nation. “We did one Intermediate, and that next Tuesday I was doing a jumping school when IT happened. On the way to a vertical, he stepped on his bell boot and went down on his knees. I slid down his neck and caught the rail on the base of my head.”

As a result of her fall, Kim suffers from paralysis from the C5 vertebra down. Despite extensive rehabilitative therapies, Kim’s doctors said she could never ride, stand or walk again and would forever be wheelchair bound.

“It’s great how the Equestrian Aid Foundation jumped right in to help from the very beginning right after I got hurt,” Kim said.

The Foundation provided financial assistance to help Kim with basic living expenses. Her daughter and friends help her with daily activities and make certain she has the care she needs.

Though it’s been a long, tough road, Kim remains resilient and has the courageous spirit to stay as active as possible. She works judging unrated horse shows when she can, gives some lessons and does the occasional clinic.

Your donation to Equestrian Aid Foundation provides much-needed support for horse people like Kim facing catastrophic injury and illness.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Luminary Award Presented to Stephanie Riggio Bulger for Service to Equestrian Aid Foundation

Photo by EQ Media.

Wellington, Fla. – March 12, 2018 – Equestrian Aid Foundation founders, board members, staff and friends honored Stephanie Riggio Bulger with their Luminary Award for her invaluable service to the organization. Founders Robert Dover, chef d’Equipe of the U.S. Dressage team, and Robert Ross hosted a private party Sunday, Feb. 4, at their home in Wellington’s Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. Dover, Ross and fellow founder R. Scot Evans paid tribute to Bulger.

“Stephanie infused the Equestrian Aid Foundation with her energy and clear vision for our mission,” Ross said.

“Her focus is helping us navigate new paths to define our future. We are grateful for the legacy Stephanie bestowed upon us all,” said Monique Keitz, Equestrian Aid Foundation board vice president.

Ross and Evans introduced Bulger to the Equestrian Aid Foundation nearly a decade ago. The organization provides financial support for horse people facing catastrophic illness or injury. She served as a member of the board of directors for eight years, four years as the president of the foundation.

“I was so surprised!” Bulger said about her award. “When Robert got the mic and asked for Stephanie to come up, my initial thought was that there was a new grant recipient named Stephanie who was going to speak. I had no idea I was about to be recognized and honored.”

Bulger says that she is especially proud of several projects that she tackled during her leadership. The last major project she led was producing the recipient resource guide, a succinct handbook that details where and how injured or ill horse people can find additional help. It provides helpful links, phone numbers, an explanation of various government programs and benefits and more.

“I am so happy with how the recipient resource guide turned out,” Bulger said. “I am also thrilled with the Show You Care horse show program that we launched last year.”

Bulger said that the Equestrian Aid Foundation gave her an outlet to give back to the community.

“Horses and the people I have met have formed the most significant and meaningful relationships in my life,” Bulger said. “I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for my horses and horse friends. Working with the Equestrian Aid Foundation was my way of saying thanks.”

With the changing times and challenges facing nonprofit organizations, Bulger says she hopes the Equestrian Aid Foundation continues to look forward to help horse people in crisis.

“There is so much more work to be done and more people who need help,” she said. “We have been told time and time again that the Equestrian Aid Foundation saves lives. It is a vital part of the greater equestrian community and I know that it will continue to have an impact.”

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.