Category Archives: Equestrian Assistance

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses – Still Making Visits

Photo — Scout at Brookdale Chambel Pinecastle, an assisted living facility in Ocala, Florida.

Therapy horse Scout usually visits hospital patients and residents of assisted living programs from room to room. When those facilities close to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, what is a 100-pound horse to do?

He brings his 2000-pound Percheron friend Tiny Prince Charming to visit waiting residents through the windows while human volunteers hold up signs with messages of love. Scout could not go inside and residents could not come outside, but they still touched each other’s hearts. Scout and Tiny Prince Charming put their noses on the windows when patients put their hands on the glass.

Scout is a member of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses. For the last 22 years their teams of tiny horses have been bringing love to over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, assisted living programs, and with families, veterans, and first responders who have experienced traumatic events.

The therapy horses are also still working in children’s hospitals by using prerecorded programs combined with live video from their farm.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.Horse-Therapy.org
www.facebook.com/TherapyHorses
www.instagram.com/gentlecarousel

COVID Update: Do You Have a Little Hay to Spare?

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Fleet of Angels Emergency Hay Bank coordinators are working hard to meet the overwhelming needs of horse owners across the United States. For some, a little hay is the deciding factor between surrendering their horses and “rescuing in place” until the situation stabilizes.

If you’re in a position to help, you can do so by donating hay or making a monetary donation. Every donation — a few bales or a few dollars — helps!

If you need hay, learn more about the application process here.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Three Things You Can Do to Be Productive When You’re Stuck at Home

By Leone Equestrian Law

Question: What’s the best way to be productive in my downtime while I’m at home during the coronavirus outbreak?

Answer: Great question! While we are all on “stall rest” and having to stay a few strides apart from each other these days, now is a good opportunity to catch up on some chores you might have been neglecting at home. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many riders who board their horses are not able to visit the barn, so hopefully crossing these tasks off your list now will free you up for more saddle time in the future.

Here are three things you can do to pass the time at home — and still stay productive.

  1. Plan for Your Horse’s Future.

It’s not a situation that any horse owner wants to think about, but it is a good to have a plan for your horse in case something happens to you. One thing you can do is add your horse to your will. There are many different things to consider for this, so your first step might be to get in touch with an attorney who can walk you through the process. They might recommend establishing a trust for your horse in connection with the planning for your will and/or estate.

Consider choosing an attorney who specializes in equine law – they have the advantage of being more familiar with the horse world and have an understanding of the costs, obligations, and goals associated with leaving your horse with someone else upon your death. Plus, they can help walk you through some scenarios that you can stipulate in your will, such as if your horse is to be sold (and by whom), donated, or will live at a specified retirement facility. Being able to have a set plan in place for the future will give you peace of mind.

  1. Organize Your Horse’s Medical Records.

If you are like many horse owners, you might store all your horse’s medical records, farrier invoices, and barn paperwork in a binder, folder, or even a giant stack on your desk. Now is a great time to eliminate all that paper clutter and have a better organization system.

You could consider going digital and utilizing handy tools or apps that make organizing and accessing your horse’s important health information more accessible. There are many different types of programs available, and some also allow you to sync your horse’s US Equestrian records with their profile. These types of digital systems would be exceptionally useful if you have multiple horses as well.

Whatever system you decide to use to organize your records, whether it’s a fresh, color-coded binder, or an app on your phone, it will save you from feeling stressed and frustrated when you’re looking for an important document in the future. If you plan to ever sell or insure your horse, you will need to have the most accurate and current information available on your horse’s medical history for the buyer or insurance provider.

  1. Build Your Business.

If you’re a professional in the industry, now might be a good time to work on your business. Perhaps you’ve thought about putting together a syndication for one of your horses but you’re not sure how to do it. Maybe you’ve been planning to reach out to some potential sponsors, or you’d like to work out some collaborative opportunities with other members of the equestrian industry. Take the time to do some research, brainstorm new ideas for your business, network with other professionals, and seek help when you need it.

Do you already have a website and social media accounts created for your farm or business? Go through them and make sure they’re up to date. Are your latest show results included? Is all of your contact information accurate? Perhaps think about starting a blog to share news with your clients and sponsors to keep them informed.

Also, you might want to take the time to review any business paperwork such as release forms for riders, boarding agreements, and operational and safety policies at your farm. Do any of them need to be updated? Now is a great time to review those documents and make sure they’re accurate, current, and legal.

Hopefully, you can knock out some of these tedious tasks now while you are stuck at home so that you will have more time to enjoy your horse later.

Visit www.equestriancounsel.com to learn more or email info@equestriancounsel.com with inquiries.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses – Virtual Visits

“There is a pony on the phone for you.”

Many young hospital patients develop a special friendship with a favorite therapy horse over the months of their medical treatment. When the therapy horses can’t physically be with a patient (like after a bone marrow transplant or if they go home between treatments), the horses have made FaceTime calls to check on their young friends.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is using a home studio to stay in contact with their friends in hospital care across the country.  “There is a pony on the phone for you.”

The horses make individual calls and plans are also underway to have a combination of pre-recorded story times and live feed from the therapy horses to play in rooms for entire children’s hospitals. This would use hospital studios that the horses have already been visiting in person for many years.

Gentle Carousel is also recording reading programs because the horses cannot do their regular library and school visits.

Virtual Fundraiser

Gentle Carousel’s two main fundraisers of 2020 to support the charity have been postponed/cancelled due to the current health situation, including the Walk Like a Pharoah Walkathon and Festival.

Instead of a large, public walkathon, the charity will have a “mini walkathon” fundraiser that can be watched safely from home. Three special horses will make the walk using the track where Triple Crown winner American Pharoah trained at the McKathan Brothers Training Center in Citra, Florida.

Tiny therapy horse Scout, a 2000-pound Percheron named Prince Charming, and The Sundance Kid, a recently adopted mustang who had been living in the wild on public range lands in Nevada, will be filmed while they walk together. The Sundance Kid had been passed over three times for adoption at three separate adoption events, making him a “three strikes” “unadoptable” mustang until he found his forever home.

The volunteers handling the horses will wear masks and keep “one Percheron distance” apart from each other during the walk.

Friends can sponsor Scout, Prince Charming, and The Sundance Kid to support Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses at: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/GentleCarousel.

The “mini walkathon” can be watched on April 27th starting at 7pm on Gentle Carousel’s Facebook page.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is one of the largest equine therapy programs in the world. Teams of tiny horses bring love to over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, assisted living programs, and with families, veterans, and first responders who have experienced traumatic events.  A multiple award winning 501(c)(3), the charity is celebrating over 20 years of service.

Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses
www.Horse-Therapy.org
www.facebook.com/TherapyHorses
www.instagram.com/gentlecarousel

White House Releases Guidelines to Re-Open the U.S. Economy

On Thursday, April 16, the White House released “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” a 20-page document outlining a tiered and regionally-based roadmap to get back to business.  The guidelines are voluntary and authorize governors to implement either state-wide, or “county by county” timetables for easing restrictions on personal and commercial mobility.  Importantly, the guidelines establish so-called “gating criteria,” enumerating health-based benchmarks that serve as a prerequisite for different classes of business establishments to re-open.

Mass gatherings including racing events and horse shows would fall under “Phase 3,” which Administration officials are identifying as a state of relative control over risks associated with COVID-19 exposure.  Talks between various private sector stakeholder advisory committees are underway to discuss tactics to comply with the spirit of the guidelines while limiting potential tort liability arising from new risks.  These advisory committees include horse industry partners in the agriculture and sports communities.  American Horse Council will share details related to next steps as they unfold.  To view a copy of the guidelines, go to the following link:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf.

Paycheck Protection Well Runs Dry, for Now

Since enactment of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Thursday, April 16 depleted $350 billion of loan commitments under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), hitting the maximum amount authorized by the massive economic relief package.  Because Congress is officially out of session until Monday, May 4, lawmakers would have to pass legislation to authorize additional funds under rigid “pro forma” procedures prior to that date.  Last week, the Senate passed in pro forma session a narrow bill adding $250 billion to the PPP.  The House, however, rejected the proposal, and countered with a bill that would authorize $250 billion to fund municipal governments and hospital networks, in addition to Paycheck Protection aid.  The Senate subsequently rejected the House proposal, initiating behind-the-scenes talks to move past the stalemate.  With both chambers having reached an impasse on specific dollar amounts and the scope of additional economic aid, a near-term path forward remains uncertain.

Much of the confusion arising from Paycheck Protection stems from the two-tiered roll out for loan eligibility.  On April 3, the SBA began processing loans for small businesses and sole proprietors.  A week later, on April 10, the agency opened the program to independent contractors and the self-employed, thereby extending the program to large segments of the horse industry.  SBA had not previously operated large-scale loan programs for these two classes of borrowers, therefore creating an environment of uncertainty for borrowers and lenders.

Many members of the horse industry have reported long waiting times from their banks to learn details related to their applications.  To give perspective on the bottlenecks, the Administration reported earlier this week that it had processed approximately 1.4 million applications and disbursed slightly over $70 billion to banks. While policymakers intend the program to operate on a “first come, first served” basis, the depletion of funds should not necessarily dissuade potential borrowers from moving forward with an application.  Many banks, especially larger institutions including Wells Fargo, for example, have stated that they will continue to process Paycheck Protection loans, pending additional funds from Congress.   AHC will continue to keep members informed of guidance and developments related to small business loans and other economic relief measures.  For a detailed overview of Paycheck Protection, go to the following link:  https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20–%20Overview.pdf.

Details:  Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org

UHC has pushed up the release of its resource database questionnaire in the wake of COVID-19, in an effort to compile a listing of all known safety net programs available in the nation to help owners who are in need, as well as the rescues and sanctuaries that help them.  It is our hope that by having one centrally located area to access these resources, we will help owners keep their horses from becoming at-risk during these trying times.

The brief questionnaire can be completed here: https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/resource-database/.

American Horse Council
www.horsecouncil.org
info@horsecouncil.org

Equestrian Aid Foundation Processes COVID-19 Relief Grants for Industry Professionals in Crisis

Wellington, Florida — Apr. 16, 2020 — The Equestrian Aid Foundation is proud to announce the distribution of 160 relief checks to equestrians in financial crisis as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative to support equestrian professionals and industry service providers has been funded through EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund.

“The essential shutdown of our industry has really thrown the community into crisis,” said EAF board member Scot Evans. “Many of the people we work among week in and week out have been left with no means of financial security and no way forward. It’s been devastating.”

Applications for emergency grants have come from all corners of the equestrian community, from jump crew to stewards to instructors whose lesson income has all but disappeared. Thanks to community support, private donations, and the Great Charity Challenge, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has been able to fund emergency grant payments of $500 to assist qualified applicants with basic living expenses. The Foundation is also honored to have financial support from a growing number of businesses.

“When we conceptualized our Disaster Relief Fund several years ago, we never imagined we’d be helping our community through a pandemic,” said EAF board member Louise Riggio. “But this fund is designed to help people overcome the unimaginable. We’re making great strides to help alleviate the financial impact of COVID-19, and as long as we have community support, we’ll continue to face it head-on. We are horsemen helping horsemen.”

All donations to the Disaster Relief Fund will be directed toward assistance for equestrian professionals and service providers who are in financial crisis as a direct result of COVID-19.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Para-Dressage Newcomers Awarded Grants to Fund Ambitious New Dreams

Erika Wager and Clifton Zander (Photo courtesy of Erika Wager)

Exploring new breeds and disciplines is one of the most fun parts about being an equestrian. As we challenge ourselves to learn a new style of riding or master different training techniques, we inevitably become better athletes and horse people. Newcomers to U.S. para-dressage Meghan Benge (Windsor, S.C.) and Erika Wager (Delmar, N.Y.) are doing just that, and making a splash as they do.

Benge and Wager are both veteran competitors in a multitude of other disciplines, including endurance, hunters, combined driving, and even Thoroughbred racing and retraining, and were recently awarded grants from The Dressage Foundation’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund to support their growth in the para-dressage discipline. Both athletes are working to qualify for and compete at the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championships in the next couple of years.

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Learn more about para-dressage and other para-equestrian programs by visiting the United States Para-Equestrian Association, a recognized affiliate of US Equestrian. Follow the USPEA on Facebook and Twitter.

by Ashley Swift
© 2020 United States Equestrian Federation

Courage and Grace under Fire

We hope you and your families, including our four-legged friends, are safe and you remain hopeful during this unprecedented time in our lives.

Even though we all would love our lives to get back to normal so that we can enjoy spring, the outdoors, our friends and families, and our horses, we all must adhere to the advice of the experts. The sooner we adhere, the sooner we can affect a positive outcome.

Keep Your Spirits Up!

These are troubling times for all of us & many among us are facing serious financial hardships. Thank you for your courage and grace in facing what seems like insurmountable obstacles. You are not alone! We will make it through this together!

At the core of our mission is our commitment to invest in equine charities across the nation that are dedicated to saving and re-homing America’s at-risk horses and providing opportunities for people to partner with horses to improve their physical, emotional, and social well-being.

Most of these charities have had to close their doors to their volunteers and cancel much-needed fundraising events and programs — the lifeblood to sustain their operations. But their horses still need to be fed and cared for.

Hope on the Horizon

We are working hard to reach our fundraising goal for our fiscal year ending August 31, 2020. Please be assured that we, like so many other organizations, will be creative in finding ways to support the horses we love that need us and depend on us every day.

We are more committed than ever to continue to invest in our Guardian charities to ensure that donations are being used for programs with the greatest impact. Only EQUUS Foundation Guardians — equine charities that have undergone our rigorous vetting process to demonstrate that they are dedicated to the highest standards of horse care and are fully transparent — are eligible to receive grants from the EQUUS Foundation.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

USEF Provides COVID-19 Facts and Resources as Pandemic Changes Equestrian Life

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting equestrians’ routines around the country as barns employ social distancing techniques and increased human biosecurity practices, and, in at least some areas to date, even close to all but essential staff by choice or by local restrictions.

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Congress, President Deliver $2 Trillion Relief Package, Address Many Horse Industry Concerns

Following a week of intense negotiations, on Friday, March 27 House lawmakers finally passed – and the President signed into law – the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, teeing up approximately $2 trillion in emergency aid to American taxpayers, small business, independent contractors, and non-profits and charities. Because most equine enterprises characterize themselves as small businesses and include many non-profits such as state associations and equine rescue operations, the package addresses many challenges facing the horse industry.

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Equine Non-Profits Granted More Than $100,000 by USA Equestrian Trust – Deadline for 2020 Submissions Is April 22

USA Equestrian Trust® has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to help fund equine-focused projects by more than a dozen non-profits. The organizations receiving funding all submitted applications as part of the Trust’s 2019 application period. Since the inception of its grants program, the Trust has awarded more than $2.2 million in grants.

The Trust is also pleased to announce it is now accepting proposals from IRS-registered equine non-profit organizations for its 2020 grants program. To submit an application, visit trusthorses.org and complete the online form. Any organization applying must submit copies of its IRS non-profit determination letter and most recent Form 990, as well as a proposed budget for its project. The deadline to submit applications for the foundation’s 2020 grants program is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 22.

LEARN MORE

Equestrian Aid Foundation Opens Disaster Relief Fund

Wellington, Fla. — Mar. 26, 2020 — The Equestrian Aid Foundation has opened its Disaster Relief Fund to assist equestrian professionals and industry service providers in unexpected financial crisis as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation will prioritize assistance to industry professionals and service providers who have lost their primary or only income as a direct result of the pandemic. A one-time emergency grant payment of $500 is intended to assist qualified applicants with basic living expenses. The grant window for EAF’s COVID-19 relief program is open through April 15.

In light of the recent guidelines set by US Equestrian regarding the suspension of horse showing for an extended period of time, the equestrian community is facing critical need now more than ever.

Donations made to EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund at this time will be directed in full toward assistance for equestrian professionals and industry service providers in financial crisis directly due to the suspension and related cancellations caused by COVID-19.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.