WESTPORT, CT – August 31, 2011 – The Board of Directors of The EQUUS Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the award of over $270,000 in grant awards to 72 charitable organizations that are improving the quality of life for horses and the people who benefit from their unique ability to empower, teach, and heal.
“Each year, the number of worthy charities applying for grants has increased, and this year was no exception. The selection process was very difficult,” said Jenny Belknap Kees, Board Chairman. “Organizations complete an extensive application to insure that the donations we receive from individuals and organizations, event attendance, and our named grant program, are well spent.”
The Michele E. Arnhold Grant was established by the family of Michele E. Arnhold in 2008 in memory of Michele’s life-long passion, her pursuit of excellence and her commitment and contribution to the equestrian sport. The EQUUS Foundation selected the American Institute for Neuro-Integrative Development to receive the 2011 grant to underwrite the cost of providing therapeutic riding instruction to students with neuro-biologically based learning and developmental disabilities at the Giant Steps School in Southport, Connecticut.
The program, which started as a pilot in 2007, is held at the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Westport, Connecticut, which donates the use of its facilities and horses. The Bridgeport Police Mounted Unit also supports the program by donating larger horses for the older children involved.
The grant will be used specifically to conduct a research study by Dr. Margaret L. Bauman to determine the quantitative benefits of therapeutic riding, also known as equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAA/T), on children with autism. Dr. Bauman is a distinguished pediatric neurologist and research investigator who has been a pioneer in the study and treatment of autism for the past 25 years. The research study will demonstrate that EAA/T is a proven therapy for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Research substantiating the success of equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAA/T) is required by the medical and insurance communities – success observed daily by clients, families and therapists. Validating the horse’s influence on human health, communications, balance, discernment and rehabilitation will transform the value and purpose of horses in our culture and make EAA/T and horses significantly more accessible and affordable to the general public.
The Gray & Jerry Fadden Grant was awarded to the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC). Based in Buffalo, New York, BTRC provides a safe, relaxing and non-academic environment for children with physical and mental disabilities to interact with horses, volunteers and peers. The grant will be used for scholarships. Approximately 80% of the children who participate are economically disadvantaged and unable to afford the lessons. BTRC is a PATH International Premier Center, which is the highest level of certification available to charities providing therapeutic riding to individuals with disabilities.
Days End Farm Horse Rescue based in Lisbon, Maryland, was selected to receive The Visse M. Wedell Grant. Established in 1989, Days End Farm exists to care for starving, abused and neglected horses seized by animal control agencies in Maryland and the tri-state area. Days End has rescued and rehabilitated 1,750+ horses since 1989, 94% of which have been adopted. The farm houses 50-90 horses daily and opens its door to roughly 150 equines each year.
Days End helped develop Maryland’s Minimum Standards of Care for Equines, under which horses in perilous health and/or living conditions can be seized by animal control and law enforcement officers. Days End also conducts education and outreach programs to bring attention to the prevalence of horse abuse and neglect.
The Ruth Meyer Epstein Grant was awarded to Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary in Green Valley, Arizona, the sole horse sanctuary in Arizona accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). Equine Voices has rescued over abused and abandoned 340 horses since 2004. Many are Premarin (PMU) mares that are kept perpetually pregnant to produce the hormone rich urine used in female hormone replacement drugs. The mares are slaughtered when they grow too old to be productive, along with their foals that are routinely slaughtered for the foreign horse meat markets. In addition, Equine Voices conducts workshops in natural horsemanship care, equine care, and other topics of interest to horse owners and potential adoptive and foster families.
2011 Grants were awarded to charities in 27 states and the District of Columbia, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Ninety percent of the funds for grants were awarded to charities involved with horse welfare and charities that are involved with providing equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAA/T) to individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, learning disabilities, individuals with life-threatening and/or chronic conditions or illnesses, or underserved, underprivileged or “at-risk” youth; ten percent was awarded to charities either providing scholarships to young equestrians or relief to equestrians suffering from life threatening illnesses, catastrophic accidents or injuries.
“While our primary objective is to provide direct financial support,” said Belknap, “we established our carrots4acause network in response to a survey we conducted in which charities responded that second to financial support is the need for volunteers. Whether or not you have time to volunteer right now, we ask that you show your support for the hard work being done on behalf of horses and sign up at www.equusfoundation.org/signup.”
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