Tag Archives: Disaster Relief Fund

Expanding Our Mission: Responding to Communities in Crisis

Wellington, Fla. — Nov. 9, 2020 — In 25 years, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has helped over 500 equestrians through times of critical need. While many have faced personal medical crises, a growing number of horsemen are experiencing the devastation of catastrophic weather events. In 2019, EAF expanded its mission by creating a Disaster Relief Fund to assist equestrian communities in the aftermath of natural or other unforeseen disasters.

Community support for the fund was strong from the outset, due in large part to the Paddock Master Pruning. The brainchild of Pat Duncan, the event involved three beloved Winter Equestrian Festival paddock masters shaving their heads and beards to raise money and awareness for EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund. This moment of levity paved the way for serious work ahead.

Just weeks after the event, massive spring flooding devastated the Heartland, leaving many horse owners in the region with little except their animals. With community support and a portion of funds from the Pruning — and in partnership with the Fleet of Angels Emergency Horse Hay Program — EAF purchased a tractor trailer load of hay that was delivered to a community in dire need on the Iowa/Nebraska border.

Since the fund’s creation, relief has been delivered in response to wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, blizzards, and drought. “Due to the unpredictability of these events, we learn as we go,” said EAF board member Robert Ross. “It’s essential to find the boots-on-the-ground equestrian community leaders in disaster areas and rely on their expertise regarding what horsemen need and how best to get it to them.”

EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund was also instrumental in the foundation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent industry shutdown in March 2020. Within a week of the shutdown, EAF implemented an emergency grant program for out-of-work industry professionals and service providers. The program delivered nearly $200,000 in grant money to equestrians in need.

Now, the Foundation is focused on next steps for its Disaster Relief Fund. “A recent estimate is that nearly one in three Americans experienced a weather disaster last summer. Our community needs to be both prepared for and ready to respond to these worst-case scenarios for horse owners,” said EAF board member Louise Riggio. “By continuing to fundraise and build productive partnerships throughout the community, we believe we can take a very active role in this essential work.”

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.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.

California Fire Season Prompts Grant from EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund

Photo by Matt Howard.

Wellington, Fla. – Nov. 25, 2019 – The Equestrian Aid Foundation provided a grant to the Fleet of Angels’ Emergency Horse Hay Bank program this week to support the organization’s ongoing work of providing horse owners with essential forage in the aftermath of natural disaster. The donation was prompted by recent wildfires in California.

“While we have been told the California equestrian community has fared slightly better than expected, the grave accounts we’ve heard from horsemen who evacuated compelled us to take action,” said EAF board member R. Scot Evans. “Given the increasing frequency and severity of these fires and natural disasters, our donation to the Hay Bank will ensure immediate funds for whatever the equestrian community faces next.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2019 is the fifth consecutive year in which 10 or more billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events have impacted the United States(1). Elaine Nash, founder of Fleet of Angels and director of its Emergency Horse Hay Bank program, sees firsthand the toll these disasters have taken on equestrian communities. “For well over a year, we’ve had continual natural disaster work to do,” she said. “As horse owners and first responders are learning all too frequently these days, providing evacuation and post-disaster services for large animals like horses is a great and costly challenge.”

The Equestrian Aid Foundation established its Disaster Relief Fund in early 2019 to assist equestrian communities devastated by natural disaster. True to EAF’s motto of “horsemen helping horsemen,” the fund was met with enthusiastic community support, thus enabling outreach such as this week’s donation to the Fleet of Angels’ Emergency Horse Hay Bank. EAF thanks its donors and supporters who made this assistance possible.

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

Paddock Master Pruning Funds Will Bring Relief to Horsemen in the Heartland

Roads and pasture land remain non-navigable for many horsemen in the Heartland, where Bomb Cyclone Ulmer wreaked havoc earlier this month. Photo submitted.

Wellington, Fla. – March 29, 2019 – Funds raised by the equestrian community during the WEF ingate staff’s Paddock Master Pruning are making an impact far and wide, as horsemen across the western states face the devastation of crippling flooding and blizzards. The Equestrian Aid Foundation is partnering with the nonprofit organization Fleet of Angels, where a portion of Pruning funds have been used to send a tractor trailer loaded with hay to a distribution center near the borders of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.

“The devastation from this storm ranges from northern New Mexico up to Michigan, with either snow or flooding in all states in between,” said Elaine Nash, executive director of Fleet of Angels and coordinator of its Hay Bank. “The Equestrian Aid Foundation’s support will be essential to struggling horsemen in the Heartland.”

While the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s primary mission is to assist horsemen facing catastrophic illness or injury, its Disaster Relief Fund provides emergency assistance to equestrian communities in crisis.  “Of course, we can’t entirely mitigate the loss these people have experienced, but as fellow horsemen we can stand beside them and help them take the next step forward,” said EAF board member Monique Keitz.  “Its levity aside, the Paddock Master Pruning was a poignant example of the equestrian community’s desire and ability to take care of its own.”

Donations to the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund made through April 15 will be used to support relief efforts for equestrian communities in the Heartland.

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