Category Archives: Equestrian Assistance

New FEI Solidarity Relief Fund initiatives for Ukraine launched in May 2022

Photo: Ukraine’s Diana Borovyk and Baby Royal at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 for Youth in Oliva (ESP) © Lukasz Kowalski.

A recent visit by a Ukrainian delegation at the FEI Sports Forum 2022 in Lausanne sees additional initiatives and projects approved for funding by the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Established in February 2022, the dedicated CHF 1 Million FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine has been actively supporting a number of equestrian related schemes across Ukraine and neighbouring nations receiving Ukrainian horses and athletes. This includes, among others, the creation of a logistical hub in Granat (UKR), located between Lviv and the Polish border, to prepare horses for transfer into the European Union; funding and distribution to regional hubs of critical horse supplies such as feed and bedding; and the emergency evacuation of a Vaulting team.

In order to deliver the aid efficiently and have the desired impact in situ, the FEI has been working hand in hand with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and the UEF Charity Foundation, with FEI President and Chair of the Solidarity Committee Ingmar De Vos (BEL) referring to their Ukrainian colleagues as their “eyes and ears on the ground.”

For the FEI and the Ukrainian delegation, headed up by Secretary General Mykhailo Parkhomchuk from the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and accompanied by members from both the UEF and the Charity Foundation, this recent in-person visit provided a platform to discuss the priorities, review ongoing support systems in place, but also establish new programmes and set long term objectives for Ukraine and the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Following these discussions, among the programmes being launched in Ukraine throughout May, four new athlete scholarships have been allocated; bespoke veterinary supplies have been sourced and prepared for dispatch; as well as financing for the purchase of 80 temporary horse boxes in order to support the setup of additional horse hubs in Ukraine.

Based on the existing FEI Solidarity Athlete Scholarship scheme, two Ukrainian Jumping athletes – Oleksandr Prodan and Anastasia Bondarieva – and two Ukrainian Dressage athletes – Danylo Konovalov and Diana Borovyk – have been selected to receive the scholarship grant to support training and competition related preparation with the ultimate goal of representing Ukraine at FEI Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Aged between 17 and 24, they were already competing at international level before the onset of the war, but the current circumstances meant they had to put many of their aspirations on hold. For Diana Borovyk, having survived the blockade of Sumy and taking up residence in her local equestrian centre to be with her horses while the war raged around her, being able to continue training and competing is “a dream come true.” She has also received a personal invitation to participate in a Young Riders Class at the CHIO Aachen Festival 2022, where she has every intention of showing her sporting determination and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The dedicated emergency veterinary supplies, which are being packaged into specialised kits and dispatched to strategic locations around Ukraine, include over the counter as well as prescription medication so the veterinarians onsite have all the necessary supplies to care for the horses remaining in the country. The bespoke veterinary kits have been sourced through the FEI Veterinary Department and are entirely funded by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Ukraine Relief Fund, which is supplementing the FEI Solidarity Fund with 100 percent of all donations raised being distributed through the FEI to ensure effective and targeted use of the funds.

The USEF Ukraine Relief Fund has already reached over 100,000 USD and continues to work closely with US based philanthropic organisations to leverage their fundraising networks to support the horses and people of Ukraine.

In addition to the existing horse hub in Granat which was financed by the FEI to prepare all the necessary documentation for horses to cross the border and has been operational since March, the FEI is now working with the UEF Charity Foundation to supply 80 horseboxes to two new hubs which are being built to allow horses to remain safely in Ukraine. The new hubs are located near existing stables so the horses will have access to all the necessary infrastructures and can continue to train in good conditions.

These last two initiatives are especially relevant given the unknown when it comes to the duration of the conflict and the need to work together to keep horses and athletes safe in Ukraine. For FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), there is a clear progression in the support structure and goals of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund. “At the onset of the war, the FEI reacted quickly to the situation and set up the Solidarity Fund with the initial outreach aimed at sourcing and funding for immediate and vital supplies as well as evacuation related procedures, unaware of how long the conflict would perdure and how devastating it would be.

“We have now reached a point where we can be more strategic because we have the systems in place, so the meetings in Lausanne with the Ukrainian delegation at the end of April were really fruitful, and we can already see several programmes and initiatives launched as a result.

“The initiatives are a mix of short to mid-term objectives aimed at keeping individuals and horses safe and well in Ukraine, but also long-term future proofing to ensure the sport is not entirely put on hold and can recover after the war. It has been awe-inspiring to see the global equestrian community come together to support Ukraine and we will continue to do everything in our power to maximise the reach of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to help the equestrian community and the horse lovers of Ukraine.”

About the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund:

The FEI set aside a CHF 1 Million Solidarity Relief Fund for the equestrian community in Ukraine, following the invasion by Russian military forces. The allocation was approved by the FEI Executive Board during a meeting convened on 28 February 2022, where members also unanimously condemned the invasion and agreed to remove all international equestrian events in Russia and Belarus from the 2022 FEI calendar. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has also joined forces with the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, establishing the USEF Ukraine Relief Fund to Support Ukraine horses and equestrians, with 100% of funds raised going to the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to be distributed by the FEI.

About the UEF Charity Foundation:

The Charity Foundation is registered in Belgium and its mission is to help the Ukrainian equestrian community during the crisis. The Foundation works closely with the FEI and national equestrian federations. For all the latest information and activities, visit https://helpukrainehorses.eu/.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

2022 Horse Stars Hall of Fame Inductees Announced Including the First Mule

Photo: Elmer the therapy mule.

The Horse Stars Hall of Fame honors the contributions of amazing horses by sharing the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats. It was established by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in 2013 to celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and their magical and powerful bond with people.

The USEF inducts the horses recognized annually as “Horses of Honor” for their stellar athletic performances. The EQUUS Foundation inducts horses who have had an inspirational impact on the public as companions, teachers, and healers.

The 2022 Horse Stars Hall of Fame inductees are Aupollo’s Midnight Marquee, Balou du Reventon, Big Shot, Elmer, Happy Thoughts, HS Daydream’s Heads Up, Suppenkasper, and TDO Blackburn Hop. For the first time, the inductees included Elmer, the mule, to share the story about how all equines – not just horses – are stars and have a great impact on people.

“On behalf of the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation, we wish to recognize the contributions of Jessica Lash in authoring the profiles of the 2022 inductees and to the many authors and photographers who have contributed over the years,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

“The Horse Stars Hall of Fame is a wonderful way to demonstrate the staying power of horses — as athletes, companions, teachers and healers — and their unique abilities to move us through a spectrum of experiences from thrill and exhilaration to pure joy. By sharing the stories of these amazing horses, we hope to build a more informed and compassionate America that values the impact of horses in our lives.”

Visit the Horse Stars Hall of Fame here.

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

Equine Non-Profits Granted Nearly $110,000 by USA Equestrian Trust

Students at Horses N Heroes of Marion County love on Lulu, the program’s 32-year-old pony.

2022 Grant Application Deadline Is April 27

MARCH 3, 2022 — Lexington, KY — USA Equestrian Trust® announced it has awarded nearly $110,000 in grants to help fund equine-focused projects by a dozen non-profits. The organizations receiving funding all submitted applications as part of the Trust’s 2021 application period. Since the inception of its grants program, the Trust has awarded nearly $2.4 million in grants.

The Trust is also pleased to announce it is now accepting proposals from IRS-registered equine non-profit organizations for its 2022 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 2022 grants program is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 27.

The Trust’s financial support has been dedicated largely but not exclusively for initiatives that are productive across several national-level discipline and/or breed boundaries. The Trust welcomes applications for need-based projects and encourages applicants to detail those in their applications.

Among the equine non-profits granted funding during 2021 was Florida-based Horses N Heroes of Marion County, which was awarded $10,000 to support its horsemanship-focused youth mentorship program.

“USA Equestrian Trust’s support helped us fulfill the needs of our girls as well as our horses. We are so proud to have helped hundreds of girls over the years become successful, contributing members of society. All of the girls who have come through our program have graduated high school, and more than 95% have gone on to college, trade school or the military,” said Founder and Executive Director Mindy Morrow.

Among other USA Equestrian Trust grant recipients was the Sacramento Area Hunter Jumper Association, which used its $5,000 in funding to organize a free training clinic for its membership of low-budget owners and entry-level exhibitors.

“We so appreciate the opportunity that the grant has provided the Sacramento Area Hunter Jumper Association and its members,” said Vice President Karine Brooks.

Recipients of grants in 2021 included:

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF EQUINE PRACTITIONERS FOUNDATION ($5,000) to support the Equine Disease Communication Center, which alerts the industry to outbreaks of disease in an effort to prevent their spread. The Center also serves as an educational resource on infectious diseases affecting horses.

AMERICAN SADDLEBRED HORSE & BREEDERS ASSOCIATION ($10,000) to support its Learn to Ride for Free program for youth.

CAMP ONDESSONK ($2,792) to purchase safety equipment for youth taking part in the organization’s equestrian programs.

GRAYSON-JOCKEY CLUB RESEARCH FOUNDATION ($20,000) to support scientific research by the University of North Carolina Wilmington into equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy.

HORSES N HEROES OF MARION COUNTY ($10,000) to support its horsemanship-focused youth mentorship program.

PEAK PENTATHLON ($6,000) to support its horse and rider safety and welfare initiative.

REGION 10 ARABIAN HORSE ASSOCIATION ($5,000) to support creation of an affiliated organization to award scholarships for youth.

The Sacramento Area Hunter Jumper Association organized a free training clinic in January 2022 for its membership of low-budget owners and entry-level exhibitors.

SACRAMENTO AREA HUNTER JUMPER ASSOCIATION ($5,000) to offer a free training clinic to its members, who are entry-level exhibitors and low-budget owners.

SANTA BARBARA EQUINE ASSISTANCE AND EVACUATION TEAM ($20,000) to renovate barns at California’s historic Earl Warren Showgrounds.

THE SOUTHLANDS FOUNDATION ($2,591.82) to purchase helmets for the organization’s community horsemanship program.

UNITED STATES HUNTER JUMPER ASSOCIATION ($2,500) to support the organization’s Emerging Athletes Program for youth.

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ($20,000) to support scientific research into collagen defects in sport horses.

If you have any questions about applying, please e-mail grants@trusthorses.org.

About USA Equestrian Trust

USA Equestrian Trust’s mission is to assist in preserving and/or enhancing the quality of equestrian sport in the United States of America. Its objects and purposes are exclusively charitable, educational and dedicated to the fostering of equestrian sports. The Trust is a private foundation pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code.

dderosa1@optonline.net
516-848-4867

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.

Jane DaCosta Selected as the 2021 WIHS Honor & Service Award Recipient

Jane competing at the Hampton Classic @ Rebekah Masiakos Photography.

This year, the Washington International Horse Show Honor & Service Award, sponsored by the EQUUS Foundation, is being presented to Jane DaCosta, the Executive Director and Founder of Metropolitan Equestrian Team (MET).

Jane founded MET to cultivate young, aspiring athletes in grades 3 through 12 by developing their talents through horseback riding. They also provide resources to help the kids curate their college experience by giving them access to educational resources that allow students to expand their way of thinking about academics.

Jane grew up participating in equestrian sports, learning not only horsemanship and athleticism, but also leadership skills, the value of teamwork, and responsibility from the sport. As a competitor, Jane was an undergraduate rider for Long Island University/C. W. Post Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian Team. Jane has competed and shown successfully in United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Horse Shows ranging from “C” to “AA” rated shows for over 30 years in Equitation, Hunters, and Jumpers.

Jane is a graduate of St. Leo University and an Electronic Warfare Technician Third Class Veteran of the United States Navy. Jane is also a Graduate student at New York University Stern School of Business enrolled in the Executive MBA Program.

Through her experiences, Jane was inspired to create the MET program. During practices, students learn horsemanship, sportsmanship, and agricultural skills, similar to Jane’s experiences in the sport. MET helps students with college preparation through various education programs. They also provide access to representatives from colleges and universities, and highlight scholarship opportunities. Through its academic programs over the years, MET students have received over $1,600,000 in college scholarship opportunities.

Jane and her team have created a supportive, encouraging environment at MET that instills a sense of belonging. Many MET Team members are kids who, prior to joining the MET Team, had never set foot on a farm. MET helps open their eyes to a new world, then teaches them how to contribute to and care for it.

At MET, Jane brings horseback riding to kids of all backgrounds – and helps educate the next generation of leaders. Jane has helped MET grow to a national organization, providing programs throughout the country in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Jane will be recognized by WIHS and EQUUS Foundation during a virtual awards ceremony in October. As the recipient, the Metropolitan Equestrian Team will receive a $1,500 grant from the EQUUS Foundation.

The WIHS Honor and Service Award was created in 2013 following the induction of Klinger into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame in 2013. Klinger, a member of the Caisson platoon of the 3d United States Infantry (The Old Guard), was the inspiration for the award and its first recipient. The Honor & Service Award recognizes a horse, individual, or organization that best demonstrates the values of honor and service as embodied by Klinger.

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

For more information about the Washington International Horse Show, please visit www.wihs.org.

Update on Kevin’s Recovery and The Babington Foundation

Wellington, FL – October 4, 2021 – Kevin Babington continues to make progress month by month. The commitment to his daily physical therapy and frequent stem cell and other medical interventions continues at a torrid pace. At no point has Kevin’s self-expectations been anything less than dramatic. The courage, patience, tenacity, and kindness we all know to be substrates of Kevin’s makeup prior to his fall are on vivid display daily.

For those who don’t believe in miracles, Kevin can now move all his toes on each foot and independently, and just as of this writing, has some flexion in his feet. We all look forward to the day he stands to deliver the leading rider award at Silver Oak.

At the same time, the financial demands of Kevin’s care, therapy, and progress are steep and mandatory. The Show Jumping community has responded generously, but the requirement for fundraising continues to be of paramount importance.

Concurrently Kevin, Dianna, and the Babington Foundation have done much to support education, safety, and news of spinal research. These programs more broadly relate to all riders in the sport, most critically the importance of “Air Vests.”

For that reason, a new website, kevinbabingtonfoundation.org, is launched as a portal through which Kevin’s progress, important articles about spinal injury breakthroughs, and safety emphasis can regularly be found.

Of course, there is an important DONATE BUTTON with which we hope individuals and organizations will act, in whatever capacity, big or small. Keep in mind, as a licensed 501c3 charity, all donations will receive the appropriate tax documents.

Click here: https://youtu.be/fuwcQbXJBDo

EQUUS Foundation Announces 2021 Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Award Recipients

The EQUUS Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Awards. Five EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities received a $500 cash award and a $500 gift card for Platinum Performance products to be used by the charity for the care of one of their horses. In addition, another five horses received $250 gift cards for Platinum Performance Equine, and 26 horses received gift cards for a bucket of Platinum Performance Equine.

“We are truly honored to support the EQUUS Foundation and the incredible work that they do to keep America’s horses safe with purposeful lives and loving homes. Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Awards. We celebrate all the deserving applicants for their complete transparency and wonderful effort in protecting horses and appreciating the impact they have on each of us,” said Emily Smith, MS, Platinum Performance.

“We are so proud to be associated with Platinum Performance,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “The Platinum Performance Awards program is really special because it benefits specific horses. It’s wonderful to be able to provide comfort to horses being rehabilitated by charities that are making them ready for their next homes and charities that are partnering with horses to improve the well-being of people.”

Only those charities that undergo the EQUUS Foundation’s comprehensive and unique verification process and receive the EQUUS Foundation Guardian designation are eligible to receive financial support from the EQUUS Foundation.

View all the Platinum Performance Horse Welfare Award Recipients here.

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

Success for Adoptable Horses Spotlighted at Hampton Classic Horse Show

Adoptable equines and volunteers from EQUUS Foundation Guardian Charity, Rising Starr Horse Rescue, with Brianne Goutal-Marteau, Valerie Angeli, Georgina Bloomberg, and Jill Rappaport @ Geoff Tischman Photography.

The sun was shining in full force for the opening Grand Prix at the 2021 Hampton Classic on Sunday, August 29, when adoptable equines paraded before spectators prior to the start of the competition. The parade previewed the equines who would be featured the next day at the Equine Adoption Meet & Greet presented by the EQUUS Foundation.

Leading the parade was EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar, top International rider, and sponsor of the Hampton Classic Animal Adoption Day, Georgina Bloomberg. Bloomberg was joined by renown animal welfare advocate, media personality, and best-selling author, Jill Rappaport, and Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP, with a special appearance by super model and horse advocate, Christie Brinkley.

Top equestrian and EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar, Brianne Goutal-Marteau, joined Bloomberg and Rappaport to meet and greet spectators at the Equine Adoption event.

“We are so grateful to the Hampton Classic Horse Show to have this opportunity to showcase adoptable equines and to raise awareness on how horses become at risk and how everyone can help, and to Georgina Bloomberg for making this event possible,” said Angeli.

“The 2021 event was especially rewarding because seven equines from EQUUS Foundation Guardian charity, Rising Starr Horse Rescue in Wilton, CT, found forever homes directly as a result of the event. We can’t say enough about how much we love our partnership with Georgina and the Hampton Classic Horse Show and would like to give a shout out to Shanette Cohen, Executive Director of the Hampton Classic Horse Show, and her staff.”

“It just goes to show that awareness and visibility is everything,” said Kelly Stackpole, Executive Director and Founder of Rising Starr.

Bunny and Turtle are 10-year-old mini donkeys who arrived at Rising Starr when a vet convinced the owner to surrender them instead of euthanizing them. They will live now out the rest of their lives at a private farm in North Salem, NY.

Rising Starr became aware of two black three-year-old Falabella Pony/Mini Horse cross mares, Daphne and Velma, from a Craig’s List ad and acquired them to keep them from winding up at auction and the threat of slaughter as many horses do when sold this way. They were adopted by Laurel Crown Farm, a Long Island show barn, where they will be their much-loved mascots.

Xander, a 13-year-old chestnut Quarter Horse, had been purchased at an auction in Texas, and was transferred to Rising Starr. When Xander’s new owners came to Rising Starr to take him home, they also fell in love with rescues Gunner and Odin, and adopted them as well. So Xander, Gunner, and Odin went to their new home together as pleasure and trail horses at a beautiful, private farm in the New York Catskills.

There was also interest in Violet, a Thoroughbred/Quarter cross from Rising Starr Rescue. Learn more about Violet here.

In addition to Rising Starr, the Retired Racehorse Project participated with a demonstration by Erica E. Rossner aboard the talented Mr. October (“Toby”), a chestnut gelding and son of famous Thoroughbred, Smarty Jones, who won the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness in 2004. With his career as a racehorse having come to an end, Toby, now seven years old, is showing major promise as a hunter/jumper/eventing prospect and is representative of the many off track Thoroughbreds who excel at their second careers and depend on opportunities to be all they can be.

Trainer Rob West from the Mustang Heritage Foundation was also on hand to enlighten spectators on how wild Mustangs are at risk and currently their lives and quality of their lives sadly depend on adoption and second careers as mascots and riding horses. West demonstrated the versatility and bravery of the Mustang with Mocha, only two months out of the wild and who will be available for adoption at the upcoming Mustang Makeover event, and two of his own Mustangs, Lori Darlin and Moonshine Lady.

The close of the 2021 Hampton Classic Horse Show also marked the conclusion of a matching campaign for the EQUUS Foundation, where donations made from August 16 through September 5 would be matched by prize money won by EQUUS Foundation Equine Ambassador, Lafitte De Muze, and donated by his owner, Cheryl Olsten, up to $30,000.

“We are thrilled to announce that Cheryl increased the match to $35,000 on learning that we received $35,000 in donations during the campaign to directly benefit EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities involved with the rescue and re-homing of horses in need of next chapters,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “We are deeply grateful to Cheryl Olsten, Lafitte De Muze, his rider, Amanda Steege, and our donors for helping to make wishes come true for America’s horses in need of help.”

View more photos of Hampton Classic Equine Adoption Day here.

Contact the Hampton Classic at PO Box 3013, Bridgehampton, NY 11932, Tele: (631) 537-3177, E-Mail: Info@HamptonClassic.com, Website: www.hamptonclassic.com.

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

Join Us in Supporting the Emergency Hay Bank

In response to the devastating wildfires currently burning across the western United States, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has made a grant to the Fleet of Angels’ HayThere! Emergency Horse Hay Micro-Grant Program.

Our partnership with this program helps horsemen in crisis to care for their animals in evacuation situations and in the aftermath of natural disaster – from fires to hurricanes and beyond.

Please join us in supporting the Emergency Horse Hay Micro-Grant Program.

Your tax-deductible donation today will help horse owners affected by natural disasters as they face the uncertainty of tomorrow.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

First Time’s a Charm for Daniel Castillo in $4k EAF Grooms Class at Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show

Angela Pollack, Missy Luczak-Smith, and Daniel Castillo with As Ever. Photo by Cathrin Cammett.

Aug. 3, 2021 – Blowing Rock, NC – Professional groom Daniel Castillo is no stranger to horse shows, but last Sunday was the first time he attended one as a competitor. In his first venture into the show ring, Castillo topped a field of twenty entries to win the ninth annual Equestrian Aid Foundation Grooms Class at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.

An employee of Spring Mill Farm in Memphis, Tenn., 21-year-old Castillo was encouraged to enter the class by his coworkers. Judge Bob Crandall had the difficult task of ranking the entries, but in the end, Castillo came out on top with As Ever, a 2008 grey Holsteiner gelding owned by Ella Trotz. “I’m very honored to get to show in this class with so many of my friends and fellow grooms,” said Castillo. “It’s incredible to be chosen as the winner and I thank everyone at Shapley’s, the Blowing Rock Horse Show, the sponsors, and the Equestrian Aid Foundation for this opportunity.”

Since its inception in 2013, the EAF Grooms Class at Blowing Rock has been organized and sponsored by Equestrian Aid Foundation board member Missy Luczak-Smith and her husband Doug Smith. “Every year, this class is incredibly competitive,” said Luczak-Smith. “It’s a real testament to the professionalism of our top grooms and the integral part they play in our sport.”

In addition to prize money, the class winner was awarded a custom belt buckle from Kathy’s Show Equipment, a family-run business that specializes in high quality, handmade horse show equipment and apparel. Top-placing grooms also received products from Shapley’s Superior Grooming Products.

Luczak-Smith recognized Shapley’s for their longstanding commitment to both the Equestrian Aid Foundation and the industry’s working professionals. She also expressed thanks to Caroline Moran and the Gibson family for their generous support of the class.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.