Category Archives: Equestrian Assistance

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.

Hallie Coon and Caroline Martin Awarded USET Foundation Karen Stives Endowment Fund Grant

Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse. Photo: Shannon Brinkman.

Gladstone, N.J. – Feb. 27, 2018 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is proud to announce that Hallie Coon and Caroline Martin have been named as the recipients of the 2018 Karen Stives Endowment Fund Grants in the amount of $25,000 each.

Both riders will participate at the Houghton Hall CIC on May 24-27, before going to compete at the Bramham CCI3* in the U25 section from June 7-10. The riders will further their education in between the two events by visiting the United Kingdom-based stables of legendary coaches and Olympians, Carl Hester and William Fox-Pitt.

Coon and Martin will also visit steeplechasing training facilities and continue to practice and learn under the mentorship of Emerging Athlete Coach and British Olympic Gold Medalist, Leslie Law, who will also be coaching them at both competitions.

Coon, of Brunswick, Maine, said, “I’m so surprised and thrilled. I never thought I would have this opportunity, but we’re so lucky to have this funding and it was so generous for Karen to have left this for us. It’s just a great opportunity to have as Under-25 riders. I don’t think we’ve really had this much support in the past and I’m just really lucky to be doing this at the time I am. I’m really looking forward to it.”

When asked if she has trained overseas before, she said, “I haven’t. I’ve done the standard trip up to Bromont, but that’s hardly outside the U.S. I’m floored that we get to compete against the best Under-25 riders in the world, as well as everyone else in the class and be able to compare yourself to them.”

“I’m taking Celien,” Coon continued. “She’s my 3* mare and she’s great because she really handles the atmosphere well. She’s always cool and collected, so she’ll travel quite well. I’m very excited.”

The other recipient, Caroline Martin, also received this grant last year. She said, “It’s been a really great season so far. I had really good luck last year with two of my horses, Pebbly Maximus and Danger Mouse.

“Being able to win this and represent my country is just incredible,” Martin, of Ocala, Florida, continued. “I’m really proud to represent Karen Stives on the international stage and to be able to keep getting support from my country and the education competing overseas is unreal. It’s great to spend the month over there with a horse. Being able to be trained by Leslie Law for the entire time is really a great honor.”

The Karen Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour’s mission is to help event riders in the USEF’s Emerging Athlete program to prepare to represent the United States on an international stage in the future, strengthening the pipeline of qualified riders to create medal-winning teams. Stives is an Olympic Gold and Silver medalist who established this program with a benevolent gift of $1 million dollars to help talented up-and-coming evening riders.

Coon and Martin will travel to Great Britain in May to begin the Karen Stives European Emerging Athlete Tour, where they will gain valuable experience as they represent the United States on the international platform.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Equestrian Aid Foundation Helps Farrier Get Back on Track after Serious Injury

Trevor Lent and Blue. Photo courtesy of Trevor Lent.

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 22, 2018 – Trevor Lent made his living as a farrier until the day he was kicked so badly that both his kneecap and femur shattered. After an initial unsuccessful surgery, his doctor performed a total knee replacement that left him temporarily non-weight bearing and permanently unable to return to his livelihood of shoeing horses.

Without income from his work, the once self-reliant cowboy’s life fell apart. He lost his house and his marriage. For a period of time, a truck and stock trailer served as home to Trevor, his horse and his dog.

Then, a friend told him about Equestrian Aid Foundation and how the organization helps horse people facing financial catastrophe from illness or injury. Trevor asked – and Equestrian Aid said yes.

“The Equestrian Aid Foundation was a tremendous help to me during a tumultuous time,” he said.

After several years of hard work at odd jobs and with the support of Equestrian Aid Foundation and his friends, Trevor purchased a small tract of land at the foot of the Datril Mountains in New Mexico. Slowly but steadily, he built a barn for his horse and a shop. Trevor now works repairing tack and leather goods, and he creates custom tack for pack horses and mules. Eventually, he built a small home. Today Trevor lives there with his wife Tova, whom he met on horseback.

“I like living here,” Trevor said. “It’s big country and it’s beautiful. There’s not a lot of people and the people here are survivors. They have to be.”

Trevor will never be sound again but he, too, is a survivor. Despite the devastating physical, emotional and financial aftermath of his accident, he has rebuilt his life.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Do Twice the Good Today

Despite the natural disasters and tragedies that have tested our resolve in 2017, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has maintained its commitment to critically ill and injured members of the equestrian community. This year:

  • Claudia, an amateur dressage rider, was able to continue her cancer treatment, even after her farm was ravaged by Hurricane Irma.
  • Alena, an equine technician coping with the after-effects of TBI, received specialized therapy that will expedite her return to work and college.
  • Steven, a dressage trainer whose career was cut short by multiple critical illnesses, can afford basic living expenses.

And there have been so many more members of our equestrian community who have benefitted from the compassion of people like you.

Today, you can double your impact by taking advantage of a year-end matching grant.

Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000.

Our recipients thank you! Watch our video to hear their stories and see how you have made a difference in their lives.

Your compassion will create a brighter future!

Equestrian Aid Foundation
11924 West Forest Hill Blvd
Suite 10A-377
Wellington, FL 33414
800-792-6068
EquestrianAidFoundation.org

Valegro’s Shoe Donated by Carl Hester Earns Top Dollar to Benefit Equestrian Aid Foundation

Carl Hester coaching at the NEDA 2017 Dressage Symposium. Photo by Mary Phelps.

New Gloucester, Maine – Oct. 19, 2017 – A silver-plated horseshoe once worn by superstar dressage horse Valegro raised $5,000 for Equestrian Aid Foundation at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Carl Hester Symposium, held Oct. 14-15 in New Gloucester, Maine. The bidding was hot among the clinic attendees. In the end, Betsy Dangel from Newton Center, Massachusetts made the highest bid when the auction closed.

The top-priced auction items were presented to the winners on the closing day of the symposium. Hester admitted he took the silver-plated shoe from Charlotte Dujardin’s desk.

“We made nine of these shoes which have all been donated to charity,” Hester said. “Now I have to tell Charlotte the last one went to America.”

Other items included an original painting of Hester and his horse Nip Tuck titled “The Master” by artist Lisa Marie Bishop with Hester’s signature, and a signed banner photo collage of Hester, Nip Tuck, Dujardin and Valegro created by DressageDaily’s Mary Phelps.

In total, nearly $8,000 was raised for Equestrian Aid Foundation. Hester said he was thrilled that the auction went so well.

“Not only did I have great riders and horses to train, Valegro’s shoe raised $5,000 for the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” he said.

The auction was orchestrated by Markel’s Mary Phelps, a Gold Sponsor of the event. Phelps has been a supporter of Equestrian Aid Foundation since its founding in 1996.

“Let’s face it,” Phelps said. “Carl is a rock star and so is Valegro. People were stalking the bidding table until the closing bell.”

Janise Gray, Equestrian Aid Foundation director of grant recipient services, attended the event.

“We are grateful to Mary Phelps for the success of the silent auction,” Gray said.  “For two decades, Mary has exemplified our ‘Show You Care’ motto. The Equestrian Aid Foundation helps people across the country involved in all facets of the horse community.  It is through the efforts of our supporters like Mary and Carl that we are able to provide financial assistance, hope and dignity to help our recipients heal.”

Edited press release from HorsesDaily.com.

Equestrian Aid Foundation
11924 West Forest Hill Blvd
Suite 10A-377
Wellington, FL 33414
800-792-6068
EquestrianAidFoundation.org

Equestrian Aid Foundation Awarded Gold Status from GuideStar

Wellington, Fla. – July 26, 2017 – Equestrian Aid Foundation is proud to announce that it was awarded Gold Status from GuideStar, the world’s leading provider of information about nonprofit organizations. GuideStar’s Gold Status is awarded to recognize nonprofit transparency and accountability. Out of 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations listed in GuideStar, only .5 percent have achieved Gold Status. The Equestrian Aid Foundation is proud to be included in this tier.

To achieve the Gold Status, Equestrian Aid Foundation submitted information including its mission, goals, strategies and capabilities. Nonprofit evaluation is a vital practice that keeps organizations accountable and lets donors know that their charity of choice is trustworthy and reputable. The Gold level is given to organizations that commit to GuideStar’s high standards of transparency and management.

Click here to visit Equestrian Aid Foundation’s Gold GuideStar profile.

Equestrian Aid Foundation recently launched a new horse show program called Show You Care during Summer in the Rockies at Colorado Horse Park. They have an active retail program and have relationships with participating equestrian and non-endemic retailers. “Althea,” their 2017 major fundraiser, held during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, was a resounding success and out-raised previous events.

“We place importance on transparency and adhering to high standards,” said executive director, Louise Smith. “We are honored that GuideStar includes Equestrian Aid Foundation among the top tier of respected nonprofits in the country.”

About GuideStar
GuideStar gathers and disseminates information about IRS-registered nonprofit organizations. They provide information about each nonprofit’s mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance and more. They combine information that nonprofits supply with data from several other sources.

GuideStar acts as a search engine for nonprofit information and provides information so that donors, funders, researchers, educators, professional service providers, governing agencies and the media may make informed decisions.

For more information, go to: www.guidestar.org.