Tag Archives: equestrian community

Georgina Bloomberg and Beth Behrs to Host Shopping with Ruchi NY to Benefit EQUUS Foundation

Georgina Bloomberg.

March 7-11: Virtual Shopping with EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar Beth Behrs
March 15: In Person Shopping in Palm Beach with EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar Georgina Bloomberg

The EQUUS Foundation is thrilled to be partnering with Ruchi New York for a charity shopping event featuring the elegant and timeless jewelry designed by New York designer Ruchi Kotahwala.

Hosted by EQUUStar and renown world class equestrian, Georgina Bloomberg, and co-hosted virtually from California by newest EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar and horse welfare advocate, actress Beth Behrs, this event will give horse lovers and lovers of fine jewelry a chance to shop both in person and virtually.

For those in the Palm Beach area, the event will be held on Monday, March 15, 2021, from 2pm to 7pm at the White Elephant Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. Please RSVP in advance at https://ruchinewyork.com/pages/ruchi-equus.

Beth’s fans and all horse welfare advocates across the country who are not able to join us for the Palm Beach event are welcome to shop from March 7 through March 11 24/7 using this special code, EQUUS15, here, which will offer not only a 15% discount on lovely and timeless jewelry, but also ensure that 10% of all proceeds go to the EQUUS Foundation to offer a lifeline to America’s at-risk horses.

“We are proud to partner with the EQUUS Foundation and support the extraordinary work they do to protect these incredible animals,” said Ruchi. Ruchi’s passion for gemstones and jewelry began as a young girl growing up in Mumbai, India where colorful and lively jewels are part of everyday life and celebrations. She transformed her passion into a business with her husband, a fifth-generation gemstone authority from Jaipur. Ruchi’s access to some of the world’s most remarkable and exotic stones laid the foundation for the Ruchi New York collection launched in 2018.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

Harsh Realities & Boundless Opportunities: EQUUS Foundation 2020 in Review

Without a doubt, we can all agree that 2020 was by far the most challenging year in our history. We are hopeful that you are staying heathy and that there will be a return to some normality this year. Despite event cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are persevering and continuing to make a lasting difference in the lives of America’s at-risk and transitioning horses and in the lives of individuals who benefit from their magic and power.

During our fiscal year ending in August 2020, we were able to help provide care for nearly 5,000 horses at 160 charities nationwide. We’d like to double that number and provide a lifeline to 10,000 horses in 2021. We awarded over $500,000 in grants, including awards of new and gently used riding apparel, valued at $240,000, to 547 individuals through The Rider’s Closet program.

We believe that for horses to remain an important part of American life and have a viable future, we need to embrace a fundamental shift in our attitude towards horses – from the horse as a commodity to the horse as an athlete, companion, teacher, and healer.

We focus our efforts on raising awareness of the issues impacting the future of horses and inspiring horse lovers to be horse protectors. However, at the heart of our mission is our effort to empower and invest in the very best equine charities that are finding homes for at-risk horses and horses in transition, providing a safe haven for aged horses, and increasing opportunities for all people to engage and partner with horses in new and innovative ways. Informed giving has never been more important.

View our 2020 Annual Report here.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

Actress Beth Behrs Joins EQUUS Foundation as an EQUUStar

Beth Behrs and her rescue horse, Belle.

The EQUUS Foundation is excited to announce that actress Beth Behrs will be joining its esteemed roster of EQUUStars, who are popular and iconic horse lovers that assist the Foundation in raising awareness and support for horse welfare across the country.

Fans of the current hit CBS sitcom, The Neighborhood, and those who tuned in to the enormously popular sitcom, 2 Broke Girls, created by Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings, will know actress Beth Behrs — especially in her role as Caroline Channing with her horse, Chestnut!

In addition to being one of Hollywood’s most exciting actors working today, Beth is a huge animal lover and horse welfare advocate and owner of rescued horse, Belle, who has inspired her to get more involved in horse protection and equine therapy programs for survivors of sexual assault. She is also the host of her very own podcast called HARMONICS which explores themes of creativity, healing, and wellness and has released a health and wellness book titled The Total Me-Tox published in the summer of 2017.

“There is nothing I feel more passionate about than protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between horses and people. When I rescued my horse, Belle, I didn’t realize that she was actually going to be the one rescuing me.” — Beth Behrs        

“Horses force us to live in the present moment with a zen-like tranquility,” said Behrs. “They are the greatest healers, and we must treat them with the respect and love they deserve. I am so excited to inspire and educate the public on the value of horses in our lives.

“The EQUUS Foundation is the only national charity in the United States 100% dedicated to ensuring the welfare of America’s horses and fostering the horse-human bond. I am beyond honored to be named an EQUUStar and cannot wait to better the lives of both humans and horses through the incredible work of the EQUUS Foundation.”

“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Beth as our newest EQUUStar,” said Valerie Angeli, VP Engagement for the EQUUS Foundation. “Beth walks the walk in promoting the welfare of all animals, but especially horses, and her social media is filled with inspiring messages and information on how to make the world better for the horses we love. With her large following of fans, we know Beth and her beautiful, rescued paint horse, Belle, will significantly help further our message of compassion, action and responsibility for horses across the country and engage more horse lovers to #HorseProtector!”

Beth will be joining current EQUUS Foundation EQUUStars Georgina Bloomberg, Brianne Goutal-Marteau, Clementine Goutal, Paige Johnson, and Jessica Springsteen. Look for Beth in the future on EQUUS Foundation social media as well as in EQUUS Foundation virtual events — and even live events — For the Love of Horses!

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

The Horse: Commodity or Partner?

The EQUUS Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its new educational platform, the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative, designed to cultivate advocacy on behalf of horses, stimulate volunteerism and inspire a lifelong commitment to horse welfare.

The first module is The Horse: Commodity or Partner? — a free online learning experience to give readers a deeper understanding of the positive impact of the horse-human bond in the past and present — and facts to become an effective advocate to protect America’s horses now and in the future.

The human-equine relationship is threaded throughout the fabric of our history. Humanity has been able to spread far and wide on the backs of horses — but the carnage of horses at the hands of humans is also well documented. Sadly, horses are still faced with the same challenges, continuing to put their future welfare in jeopardy.

Also, public access and involvement with horses, especially among young people, is declining. The expense and time required for competition is becoming unrealistic for most people. Equine Assisted Services (EAS), based on different collaborative relationships between horses and humans, may offer a more realistic way for people, unable to experience the magic of horses through the traditional means of ownership and competition, to benefit from horses.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our author, Dr. Terri Champney, who helps us better understand how we can be most successful in addressing the issues impacting America’s horses by learning about the past,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. There is a lot of truth in the saying, “Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Dr. Terri Champney spearheaded the establishment of the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative along with the Leonard I. Gilman Horses & Humans Grant. Five $1,000 grants will be awarded in 2021.

The Leonard I. Gilman Horses & Humans Grant will recognize an EQUUS Foundation Guardian charity offering Equine Assisted Services (EAS) that demonstrates its commitment to cultivating advocacy on behalf of horses, stimulating volunteerism, and inspiring a lifelong commitment to horse welfare through an internship program involving virtual learning and hands-on interactions with horses.

For horses to remain an important part of American life and have a viable future, we need to embrace a fundamental shift in our attitude towards horses — from the horse as a commodity to the horse as an athlete, companion, teacher, and healer.

The EQUUS Foundation welcomes all horse lovers to sign up for The Horse: Commodity or Partner? — no matter your prior horse experience!

Take the next step to gain an even greater awareness and appreciation for these gifted and amazing animals — and a vision to ensure a sustainable environment for horses now and in the future.

Learn more about the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative here.

Sign up for The Horse: Commodity or Partner? here.

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.

Plans Announced for 2020 Tom Bass Seminar on Diversity in Equestrian Sports

Horsemen in Northern Nigeria circa 1970.

Green Creek Township, North Carolina (USA) – Wednesday, October 14, 2020 – The 2020 Tom Bass Seminar on Diversity in Equestrian Sports will be presented via video conference on Saturday afternoon, November 14 from 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time (20:30:00 UTC). The virtual meeting will examine issues relating to diversity in a) domestic and b) international arenas.

Launched in 2019 as part of the 2nd Annual Day of the African Equestrian (DOTAE), the 2020 seminar takes place against a backdrop of social and political turmoil in the United States – in a year where the equestrian community has been forced to reckon with many of its own contradictions and activist riders of color including Brianna Noble and The Compton Cowboys have achieved international notice – in part through the use of horses in public protests inspired by the global Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

A legendary American Saddlebred trainer, Tom Bass (1859-1934) was born enslaved in Columbia, Missouri. He played a prominent role both in the establishment of the American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City and in the promotion of the city of Mexico, Missouri as the ‘Saddle Horse Capital of the World.’ Highlights of his extraordinary career include championships at two World’s Fairs and more than 2,000 blue ribbons. For many years he was the only African-American permitted to compete at the American Royal. The Tom Bass bit, developed to give the rider control without causing pain to the horse, is still in use today.

During his lifetime, Bass performed before such luminaries as Queen Marie of Romania, William Jennings Bryan, P. T. Barnum and U.S. Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Calvin Coolidge. His more prominent clients included Mr. Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill Cody, Anheuser-Busch executives Adolphus and August Busch, and Will Rogers.

Topics to be explored during the 2020 Tom Bass Seminar on Diversity in Equestrian Sport include:

  • Demystifying horse sport – not for rich kids only! Reviving equestrian heritage in lower and middle income communities
  • Developing broad-based community support for equestrian activities at all levels
  • Building sustainable programs that support diversity in the horse industry
  • Incorporating the lessons gleaned from social activism into the ways in which we do business
  • Leveraging (new and traditional) media in horse focused education and promotion
  • Developing stories that more accurately reflect the life experiences of equestrians of color
  • Incorporating the rich equestrian heritages of non-white, non-European communities (including African, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native-American, Romani, South Asian, and others) into our shared equestrian narrative

The seminar is presented by The AFRICAN CONNECTIONS Research and Education Fund, Inc. in association with SportsQuest International, LLC.

Linkage to the video conference will be available from the following websites:

Organizers of the Tom Bass Seminar point out that horses are big business in the United States and in many regions of the world.

According to the American Horse Council, the horse industry contributes approximately $50 billion in direct economic impact to the U.S. economy, supporting almost one million jobs on a full-time basis1. According to statistics presented at the 2013 FEI Sports Forum — held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland — the horse industry has a €100 billion ($128.151 billion) annual economic impact within the European Union. The economic impact in the United Kingdom is estimated at being over £7 billion ($10.643 billion)2.

A major challenge for an Olympic sport that promotes itself as being truly global, “clean”, and fully inclusive, is a conspicuous lack of people of color. People of color are underrepresented in the ranks of riders, owners, trainers, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, nutritionists, sponsors, spectators, and members of the equestrian media. Conversely, there is an overrepresentation as grooms, nannies, hot walkers, and stall muckers.

To remedy this situation, equestrian sports promoters and organizations representing all facets of the industry are being urged to understand that it is good business to spend advertising dollars in minority communities. “Developing a more diverse fan base involves supporting equestrian sport training programs in those communities and working in concert with ethnic media outlets in educating members of the public about horse sport. Cultivating cooperative alliances with minority owned businesses will yield tangible benefits,” wrote seminar moderator Melvin Cox in a 2017 editorial published by HorseNation.com.

Mr. Cox, a Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the Founder and Managing Director of SportsQuest International, LLC – a media production and consulting business focused on the equestrian industry. Mr. Cox foresees an explosion of interest in equestrian sports throughout the United States and in other countries — reaching across all socioeconomic strata. But, he warns, “the outreach to new market segments will have to be done correctly — from a position of true humility and respect, and not from one of blatant arrogance.”

“Much as motorsport has successfully built a loyal following among fans with little if any opportunity (or desire) to own a Formula One racing car,” wrote Cox, “the horse sports can be proactively marketed to all demographics. Just as Major League Baseball attracts millions who will never hit a curveball, the equestrian disciplines can find deeply loyal and very knowledgeable aficionados among persons representing all manner of humanity.”

The solution proposed by seminar organizers targets a more equitable distribution of the scholarships, internships, jobs, contracts, investment opportunities, and profits associated with the global horse business. A key component of this effort is to increase awareness among young people in cities, suburbs, and rural communities regarding the opportunities for successful and fulfilling careers available in the horse business. Cox believes that America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and her Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) represent an untapped “gold mine” of talent and opportunity.

About the AFRICAN CONNECTIONS Research and Education Fund, Inc:

A nonprofit 501(c) organization, ACREF was created in direct response to the numerous distortions, half-truths, and omissions seen almost daily in the popular media regarding Africa, her people, and the African Diaspora.

The principal mission of the organization is to illuminate, educate, and provide a balanced viewpoint that celebrates genuine achievement and service to humanity.

Sources:

1 2017 National Economic Impact Study – American Horse Council

2 Graeme Cooke. “Trends in Growth of Equestrian Sport.” FEI Sports Forum, 8 April, 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Contact:
SportsQuest International, LLC
marketing@SportsQuestInternational.com

Horse Businesses Need to Do a SWOT Analysis NOW

Webinar: How to Do a SWOT Analysis for Your Horse Business and Why You Need to Do It NOW

Date: August 17, 2020
Time: 5:30 PM Pacific, 7:30 PM Central, 8:30 PM Eastern
Place: Attend via Your Phone or Computer

With the Coronavirus came rapid change.  Not only are we operating our horse businesses with a global pandemic as the backdrop, the latest economic reports indicate that the economy (after plummeting drastically) is not likely to return to 2019 levels for 3-5 years. The quick bounce-back to normal simply is not happening.

Many of you have made quick changes to your businesses to adapt to the necessary conditions of the pandemic. Now, it is time to prepare your business for both the lasting effects of the pandemic and the economic forecast.

In our upcoming webinar we will take you through how to use a SWOT Analysis to assist you in starting a strategic plan for your business.  SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  This business tool is extremely useful when there are complex issues that need to be addressed quickly.

Utilizing a SWOT Analysis is the first step in a series of steps that we believe must be taken soon. We hope you’ll join us.

WEBINAR REPLAY: Rethinking the Horse Business 2020 – Special Summer Update

This Special Update of Rethinking the Horse Business provides vital information for horse professionals about the state of the horse industry, the social and economic climate, and how the equestrian marketplace has been affected by the Coronavirus. Listen to the replay here.

Equestrian Professional
https://www.equestrianprofessional.com/

Meet the Entrepreneurs behind Young Black Equestrians the Podcast

Caitlin Gooch speaking to a group of students involved in Saddle Up and Read.

After spending just five minutes in conversation with Abriana Johnson and Caitlin Gooch, it’s likely that you’re going to want to be their fast friends.

Abriana and Caitlin’s positivity, sense of humor, passion for horses, and incredible entrepreneurial energy are contagious and quickly make you want to hear more about what the two inspiring equestrians have to say. Fortunately, you can, thanks to Abriana and Caitlin’s Young Black Equestrians podcast.

The two riders, both hailing from North Carolina, launched the podcast in 2019 to share “the ins and outs of equine culture with an extra dose of melanin” and have since recorded more than 45 episodes. However, it’s not Abriana or Caitlin’s only passion project.

Caitlin is also the founder of Saddle Up and Read, a 501(c)(3) non-profit literacy program that encourages children to read through equine-related activities. Abriana is the author of the Cowgirl Camryn book series, and together the girls have launched other projects, including the Black Equestrian Network.

Contact: Jump Media
jennifer@jumpmediallc.com

Pre-COVID-19 Community Effort Felt throughout Palm Beach County

Wellington, FL – June 23, 2020 – Every winter, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) hosts an event that has a year-long impact for Palm Beach County charities. The Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), an exciting show jumping competition that blends equestrian sports and philanthropy, has become a highlight of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and has distributed over $14.8 million to 256 local organizations in 11 years.

While the 2020 WEF season ended early due to COVID-19, the benefiting 49 non-profits from this year’s GCC are putting their collective $1.3 million in donations to use following their participation in the event held on February 1, 2020.

“Non-profit organizations have proven to be nimble and have an ‘optimized way’ of stretching the impact of a dollar,” comments Mark Bellissimo. “Seeing how they have responded and adapted through these unprecedented times is inspiring.”

Organizations benefiting from the GCC continue to serve and support the local community’s well-being. Their outreach and dedicated work span many different sectors within the Palm Beach County region, including food assistance, educational support, veteran aid, foster care, senior citizen care, and family support, to name just a few.

With grants awarded to a grand total of 49 local non-profit organizations, ranging from $1,000 to $150,000, a reported 137,937 lives were impacted in Palm Beach County during their first reporting quarter.

“The GCC was started in 2008, following the economic crisis,” said Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the event. “The initiative came forward as a way to increase funding to local charities at a time where donations were scarce. The impact of COVID-19 on non-profit organizations replicates the situation of 12 years ago; the community’s need for services/goods provided by these organizations has sky-rocketed while many have had to cancel their major fundraising initiatives and are doing their very best to mobilize resources and donations. We are extremely grateful that the event took place before the start of the pandemic and cannot thank our donors enough for their generous support.”

What exactly does $1.3 million at work look like?

Feed the Hungry Pantry of Palm Beach County was able to react quickly to laid-off and hungry neighbors at the onset of COVID-19. “Within the first few days of the pandemic, we went from feeding 3,000+ families per month to 10,000+ families a week,” commented Executive Director Dan Shorter.

The nonprofit also joined forces with the GCC in applying to be featured in its Emergency Giving Guide as well as participated in the #GivingTuesday movement, in partnership with Equestrian Sport Productions. “Thanks to the GCC, we raised an additional $40,000+ from the western community and acquired dedicated donors that are making sure that we can continue to feed people (as well as their pets)!”

For Wellington Cares, a non-profit organization committed to coordinating volunteers of all ages to assist in enabling persons over the age of 65 to remain in their home with the support of the Wellington community residents and local organizations, funding will not only enable them to replicate their successful model in neighboring cities, but it also enabled them to adequately equip their personal and volunteers with required protective items to ensure that they could continue serving the senior communities.

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County provided 414 low-income families with their Education Advocacy Project’s Education Toolkit, assisting them in navigating the often complex federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations governing the services and accommodations that public-school children are entitled to be provided with under current laws.

Other organizations such as the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County and the Equestrian Aid Foundation were able to quick establish Emergency Relief Funds through funding received during the GCC.

These are just a few examples of the 49 benefiting organizations. We invite you to access the full fund use report by visiting HERE.

To provide additional support and to highlight the crucial work of local non-profit organizations during COVID-19, the GCC published an Emergency Giving Guide on April 3, 2020 under the leadership of Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin. The guide featured 83 non-profits serving immediate needs locally. It was utilized and shared broadly throughout Palm Beach County, giving donors a practical and safe way to identify which efforts they wanted to support during these unprecedented times.

The application process for the 2021 GCC will run from October 15 through November 15, 2020. The GCC board and review committee are on an intentional journey to assess, broaden and understand how they can further commit to diversity, equity and inclusion as organizational values. It has been reviewed and approved that this will also become a requirement for local organizations who wish to apply to benefit from the GCC moving forward. Please note that at this time, the GCC is also actively reviewing other ways to battle social and racial inequality.

For additional information about the event, including donation and sponsorship information, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.

Letter from US Equestrian CEO Regarding Racism. Plus: Life as a Black Equestrian

The protests and political unrest ignited by the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis have dominated the news throughout the world and motivated hundreds of thousands – including many of our employees – to protest peacefully against racial injustice. This has been a difficult and emotional time, and we wanted to share with you the steps US Equestrian is taking to listen, learn, and do more.

Last Tuesday, US Equestrian participated in #BlackoutTuesday and issued the following statement:

We pause in solidarity and support of the black members of our community. We are committed to listening and learning from you. We hear you. We stand with you. We can and will do better. Black lives matter. #BlackoutTuesday

We are energized by the overwhelming amount of support from this community for Black equestrians and your desire for us to do more.

We believe it is important to be very clear: Black lives matter to US Equestrian. We stand firmly against racism and discrimination of any kind and are taking steps to further educate our staff and create a more inclusive and diverse community for all staff and participants.

  1. Educating ourselves is the first step. Going forward, every employee will be required to take Diversity and Inclusion training, as well as Unconscious Bias training, each year.
  2. Board approval and implementation of a US Equestrian Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement and Action Plan. Over the past several months, Ashley Swift, a dedicated member of our Communications Department, has been leading this work and her recommendations will be presented to the Board of Directors at the Mid-Year Meeting. There will be opportunities for members and staff of US Equestrian to engage with and contribute to this program.
  3. Increased communication to members on US Equestrian’s commitment to do its part to fight against racism. This includes providing members with educational resources – including training on Diversity and Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias – and ways to work to end racism. We know we cannot do this alone, but we can – and will – do our part.

We understand this is an emotional and difficult time for many. Remember, US Equestrian paid fan and competing members have access 24/7 to a mental health first aid hotline at 1-800-633-3353. Please do not hesitate to reach out and take advantage of these free services.

Thank you all for your efforts to spread the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible, and for advancing our goal of increasing diversity in equestrian sport through an educated and open equestrian community.

Respectfully,
Bill Moroney
Chief Executive Officer
US Equestrian

Life as a Black Equestrian, by Camille S.

Originally Posted by The Hunt: An Equestrian Life & Style Blog

“I will admit I was nervous to sit down and write this. We live in a time where it seems like you are not only damned if you do, but damned if you don’t. Many are afraid to speak up out of fear. Uncertain if what they say will be correct, whether politically or otherwise, and how it may be perceived by others. Nonetheless here I am, to give the perspective of a young working student/exercise rider who is also biracial, black and white.”

READ MORE

Equestrians Helping Equestrians: Relief Efforts in the Wake of COVID-19

Once a week, the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) shares a school-horse appreciation post on social media for what they’ve dubbed “Feed Your Favorite Lesson Horse Friday.” There’s also “Tip Your Groom Tuesday” and “Support a Horse Show Super Hero Sunday,” which are all designed to encourage equestrians to give money to support lesson programs and horse show support staff. While spring would typically be a busy time of year for the equine industry, this year is different, and people in the horse world have come up with creative ways to support each other.

“The Joint Leadership Council (JLC) comprises members from the leadership at the American Hackney Horse Society, American Morgan Horse Association, American Road Horse & Pony Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association, and United Professional Horsemen’s Association,” says Jessica Cushing, Marketing and Communications Manager for the ASHA. “The inspiration behind the JLC COVID-19 social media campaign was to be a voice and consistent promotional message for the difficulties many of our barns, professionals, and equine industry contractors in our community would be facing without the ability to give lessons and attend shows.”

The JLC’s social media campaign has been running for nine weeks, and Cushing says every post continues to receive positive engagement from the community.

“Our professionals are thankful for the recognition that business is still not back to normal, and there are a great many still in need,” says Cushing. “The ability to help spread the word that people are in need has seen countless success stories of lesson horses being sponsored, grooms getting extra support, and a great ‘pay it forward’ lunch program that emerged amongst barns.”

Other segments of the equine industry have launched similar initiatives during the pandemic shutdown. To help keep school horses fed during their furlough, the United States Hunter Jumper Association launched a Feed Aid Initiative to help USHJA members obtain free or discounted feed for lesson horses. Applications are being accepted now through June 1.

Monetary donations to the USHJA’s Feed Aid Initiative are tax-deductible and will be matched by the USHJA Foundation up to $300,000.

The PonyApp and Connolly’s Red Mills have also teamed up to give away feed to lesson barns this spring. Nominations of barns and programs in need are accepted now at ponygroceries.theponyapp.com.

Rescue Relief

In times of hardship, horse owners may find it increasingly difficult financially to maintain an ideal level of care for their horses. Fortunately, the equestrian community has built safety nets to help horses and their owners when hard times hit.

Equine rescue operations are often pushed to their limits in an economic downturn due to owners who can no longer afford to keep their horses and a market with more horses than potential buyers. Most equine rescues operate on a local basis, taking in horses and facilitating adoptions within a certain geographic area. National programs help support those organizations.

The EQUUS Foundation offers financial support to equine organizations that are part of its Guardians program. These organizations are put through a rigorous vetting process every year to ensure high standards of horse care and transparent and accountable operations.

“For horses to remain an important part of American life and have a viable future, we need to ensure that donor dollars are being spent on programs with the greatest impact,” says Lynn Coakley, President of the EQUUS Foundation.

EQUUS Foundation Guardian Charities include those that provide shelter and rehabilitation for abused, neglected, and at-risk horses; retraining and rehoming for horses in transition; peaceful and humane retirement options for aged equines; and/or are organizations that provide equine-assisted therapies and activities in a way that is beneficial for horses and humans.

Coakley says that many of their Guardian charities have had to cancel fundraising events and close their doors to volunteers, which creates an immediate need for resources.

“Instead of waiting until the end of our fiscal year in August, the Board of Directors approved the immediate allocation of $100,000 to help ease the stress of EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities,” says Coakley. “Each eligible charity will receive a $500 grant for horse-care costs upon approval of its 2020 EQUUS Foundation Guardian Seal. As of today, we have awarded grants to over 67 charities and expect to reach at least 150 charities by June.”

“Rescues have had to cancel or postpone fundraising events for the foreseeable future, and many of them have experienced a severe decline in online donations since COVID-19 [closures] started in March,” says Cheryl Jacobson, Deputy Director of Equine Protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “While many rescues have hay, feed, and funds for several months, some rescues are not as fortunate and need help to feed their equines while they find additional avenues for fundraising.”

HSUS awards grants to non-profit rescue organizations across the country. In order to qualify for an HSUS grant, organizations must be accredited or verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, be members of the Homes for Horses Coalition, or have been directly vetted by HSUS.

“HSUS contacted 440 Homes for Horses Coalition members in early March,” says Jacobson. “We collected information on whether they are open or closed to the public, how many equines they have on site and in foster homes, how long they have feed, hay, and meds for, and any other information they could provide us with. We noted which rescues mentioned that they were in dire need of emergency hay funds. As we were able to secure funding, we started providing grants to the rescues in dire need, and the amount was based on the number of equines in their care.”

Jacobson explains that grant applications are sent to rescues as more funding becomes available. As of this writing, HSUS’s Equine Protection Program and the Homes for Horses Coalition have awarded grant funds to 33 rescues. HSUS has provided additional grant money through its main COVID-19 grant budget.

US Equestrian has provided a USEF Disaster Relief Fund grant to support both the Equus Foundation Guardian Charities and HSUS’s Equine Protection Program to help horses in need due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Help for Horse People

  • Equine safety-net programs offer direct financial support to owners who need short-term assistance to keep their animals, thereby helping to keep horses from entering the rescue system. The Homes for Horses Coalition maintains a searchable list of safety net programs by state that assist owners with emergency funds, feed, veterinary care, or other essential expenses. The United Horse Coalition also provides a comprehensive listing of local and national equine relief programs on its website.
  • The Equestrian Aid Foundation is currently assisting equestrian professionals and service providers through its Disaster Relief Fund. Individuals who make their living through the horse industry and have lost their income as a direct result of the pandemic can apply for a one-time emergency grant payment of $500 to assist with basic living expenses.
  • In addition to its ongoing social media campaigns, the JLC is providing funds to horse trainers, riding instructors, and horse show staff in the trotting breed industry who have lost income due to COVID-19 through its Horsemen’s Relief Fund. At jlccares.com, equine industry professionals can find resources for financial assistance and creative solutions for generating income during the shutdown.
  • The Show Jumping Relief Fund was created to provide immediate financial assistance to horse show staff, including ring crew, grooms, braiders, and officials, who have lost income as a result of COVID-19 closures. Information on how to apply for assistance or donate to the fund is available at wixsite.com/home.

Get Involved

For equestrians who are able to give back during this time, there are several ways to help.

If you have room in your barn, consider adopting or fostering a horse in need. This will help free up space and resources at a local rescue. One place to start is MyRightHorse.org, a search engine established by The Right Horse initiative that helps connect available horses of all ages, breeds, and types with prospective adopters across the country. Fostering an adoptable horse will not only help ease the burden on rescue organizations, but will give that horse more one-on-one attention and human interaction to improve their adoptability.

In addition to accepting direct donations for the Disaster Relief Fund, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has also partnered with other organizations that are donating partial proceeds from goods and services to the Fund. Find the current partnerships at www.equestrianaidfoundation.org/community-initiatives-ways-to-help.

If you are able, contributing financially to a reputable organization can help bring some immediate financial relief.

“Thanks to a generous challenge gift from an anonymous donor, every $1 you donate now becomes $2 — up to a maximum of $25,000 — to help feed and care for horses at our Guardian charities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says EQUUS Foundation President Coakley. “Every gift goes directly to underwrite actual horse-care costs like feed, bedding, veterinary, dental, and farrier care.”

The matching donation challenge applies to donations made now through June 30. Visit www.equusfoundation.org/give to donate.

“In addition, while the many barns and equine organizations we support had to temporarily close their doors to volunteers due to social-distancing requirements, many are now beginning to reopen with precautions in place,” says Coakley. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of many equine organizations, and volunteering is a great way to learn about and be close to horses and nature while giving back, making friends, and staying in shape! Learn more about our Champions Volunteer Incentive Program sponsored by Ariat International at www.equusfoundation.org/champions.”

There are always opportunities to provide assistance and give back to the equestrian community, whether that’s by contributing to the barns and shows that would normally have your business at this time of year or by seeking out people in need in your extended network.

“From the first week [of the JLC’s social media campaigns], we had a very generous member of the show-horse community sponsor a whole program of 10+ horses for a month,” says Cushing. “Their barn does not have a lesson program, but they were inspired to help. The ‘Feed Your Favorite Lesson Horse’ campaign helped them find a barn in need and a way to support our community through these challenging times.

“Every day we were getting tagged in photos of barns whose clients, friends, and peers stepped up to send the whole barn lunch and help keep spirits up,” Cushing continues. “It has also been humbling to see barns and industry vendors find creative ways to give back to the JLC Horsemen’s Relief Fund through hosting fundraisers or donating part of their proceeds from sales to our grant program.”

by Leslie Potter/US Equestrian Communications Department