Category Archives: Equestrian Assistance

Duchossois’ Legacy Shines in ACHS’s Support of Equestrian Aid Foundation

Duchossois at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo by Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com.

May 18, 2021 – Wellington, Fla. – The Equestrian Aid Foundation is honored to be a beneficiary of the 2021 Aiken Charity Horse Show, which culminated Sunday at Bruce’s Field. The two-week annual event is held in memory of Bruce Duchossois, a former EAF board member and champion of tradition, integrity, and excellence across the equestrian disciplines.

As the Equestrian Aid Foundation enters into its 25th year, the charitable donation from ACHS serves as a poignant reminder of Duchossois’ legacy. A member of EAF’s executive committee, Duchossois was an integral part of the foundation’s vision until his death in 2014. “When it comes to horsemen helping horsemen, Bruce walked the walk,” said EAF board member Scot Evans, who counted Duchossois among his closest friends. “His example has been a north star for the Equestrian Aid Foundation for 25 years, and we know he would be so proud of where we are today.”

For 25 years, the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s impact has been far reaching, both geographically and throughout the equestrian disciplines. Incorporated in 1996 as a grassroots relief organization for horsemen and women with HIV/AIDS, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has since expanded its mission in response to the equestrian community’s most critical needs. While maintaining its commitment to those coping with catastrophic illness or injury, the foundation also operates a Disaster Relief Fund that assists communities in crisis due to natural or other unforeseen disasters. In 2020 alone, EAF helped nearly 300 industry professionals across the United States through its COVID emergency grant program.

In Duchossois’ honor, the donation from Aiken Charity Horse Show marks the launch of the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s 25-for-25 Anniversary Campaign. Follow EAF on social media or sign up for its mailing list as the foundation celebrates its first 25 years and carries its vision of horsemen helping horsemen into the future.

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

Recognizing Greatness: Announcing the 2021 Horse Stars Hall of Fame Inductees

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 2021 Horse Stars Hall of Fame inductees are Dolton, FWF Undercover, Gazelle, Kiss Me Quick, Pritchard Hill, Sir Gus, Tango, and Vivaldi De Besilu.

“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,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

Visit the Horse Stars Hall of Fame here.

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

EQUUS Foundation Announces Recipients of 2021 Champion of Equine Service Scholarships

Emilie McCann with Drew, a rescue horse at Rising Starr Horse Rescue awaiting his next chapter.

The Champions program, sponsored by Ariat International, rewards volunteerism on behalf of horse welfare with scholarships for volunteers to help further their undergraduate and graduate education and to assist those pursuing certification as a therapeutic horsemanship instructor.

Emilie McCann and Lily Stidham will receive the 2021 EQUUS Foundation Champion of Equine Service Academic Scholarship to further their academic education at an institution of higher learning. Emily Jones will receive the 2021 Champion of Equine Service PATH Certification Scholarship presented by Lessons in TR to cover the certification exam fee.

Despite the significant restrictions on volunteer opportunities resulting from COVID-19, these individuals made it a priority to continue to volunteer and overcome these new barriers. “Access to horses has become more challenging – never mind when there is a pandemic keeping us at home,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “The dedication of incredible volunteers all over the country speaks to the importance of the horse-human bond in people’s lives. During this time of continued uncertainty, I am thrilled that so many volunteers like this year’s recipients were able to find joy and purpose in working with horses.”

Emily McCann
Champion of Equine Service Academic Scholarship Recipient

Emilie found Rising Starr Horse Rescue (RSHR) during a college gap year, and her time spent there quickly became the highlight of her days. Through her volunteer work, she gained invaluable experience and learned about the handling, care, training, and rehabilitation of rescue horses. At RSHR, Emilie was given the opportunity to work with Drew, one of two Thoroughbreds rescued in January 2020. Under the guidance of RSHR’s trainers, her work with Drew became one of the most rewarding experiences of her life, and rekindled her dream of someday becoming a horse trainer.

“Working with rescues is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had, and it has given me confidence and direction. I want to do this for the rest of my life, and I could not be more grateful to Rising Starr for providing me with the opportunity to learn and grow.”

Lily Stidham
Champion of Equine Service Academic Scholarship Recipient

No matter if Lily Stidham is on the ground or in the saddle, being around horses always makes her smile. Lily, a senior at the University of Florida (UF) pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Sciences specializing in Equines, plans to graduate this December. At UF, she has had the opportunity to participate in the Equestrian Club, as an undergraduate teaching assistant, in equine research, and in training a weanling and yearling.

Outside of school, she spends her time volunteering at Stirrups n’ Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, where she is able to apply her equestrian knowledge and skills through working as a barn hand, and riding. Lily began volunteering at Stirrups n’ Strides in 2017. In addition to getting the horses ready and interacting with riders in both the veterans and special needs programs, she has also had the opportunity to ride some of the horses and mentor new volunteers. After Lily graduates, she hopes to work in the horse industry. Being able to help others as they work and care for horses is one of the most rewarding parts of her volunteer work, and she hopes to be able to carry that into her future career.

Emily Jones
Champion of Equine Service PATH Certification Scholarship Recipient

Emily Jones has wanted to become a therapeutic riding instructor since she was seven years old. As a child, she loved horses. Her first introduction to the Camelot Center Therapeutic Riding Program came when she started taking lessons there. Years later, when a stall became available, she donated her own horse, Cash, to Camelot to become a therapy horse.

“I have been a volunteer [at Camelot] for over a decade and I have loved every second of it,” said Emily. “Horses have helped me through a lot of hard times, being bullied in school and struggling with serious anxiety. I am eager to become a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) – this is something I have dreamt about since my childhood. I am so thankful for this opportunity, because of this I will be able to change and impact many lives.”

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

Support a New Home for Concrete Cowboys through Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy

Philadelphia, Pa. – April 21, 2021 – Netflix’s newest film Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, has showcased a part of Philadelphia that few people knew existed. It tells the story of the Black urban cowboys in the city, and in 2019 the producers and directors of the film partnered with the late Eric Miller, and the riders of Fletcher Street to form the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy (PURA). Created to preserve the life, legacy, and culture of Black urban cowboys in the city of Philadelphia, PURA recently launched “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraising campaign through GoFundMe. The campaign’s goal is to raise money for its new facility in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia that will provide a unique, safe space for children, teens, and adults to experience horses up close and personal.

Due to gentrification, many of the stables that once made up the community of black cowboys in Philadelphia are gone. With the help of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell and Councilman Curtis Jones, The Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy has found a new, permanent home in Cobbs Creek Park that will not only give the Urban Black Cowboy a permanent home but also offer new opportunities to everyone in the community. By supporting the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraising campaign you can be a part of the next generation of the Concrete Cowboys and Cowgirls.

PURA’s executive director Erin Brown, known as the Concrete Cowgirl, joined forces with North Run’s Missy Clark in June of 2020 to create Concrete to Show Jumping. With a mission to open doors to diversified worlds within the horse industry, Concrete to Show Jumping aims to open the eyes, minds, and hearts of equestrians by participating in new experiences, forming new alliances and building friendships with equestrians from diversified backgrounds.

The “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraiser has the goal of raising $2,000,000 for PURA’s new permanent facility. This home will provide stabling for 20-25 horses, paddocks, and a covered arena, as well as recreational space for other youth and veteran programs. With the help of the entire equestrian community, PURA and Concrete to Show Jumping believe that this goal is attainable. Every dollar raised will be put towards the facility and the horses and students that will call it home.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PURA is now collecting donations for the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” initiative. All donations are tax-deductible and corporate sponsors are encouraged to donate, with naming rights to the rings, paddocks, stalls, and lounge are available. PURA has joined forces with Spak Group, a real estate Development Company, along with Architects from OZ Collaborative and a Landscape Civil Engineer, Ruggiero Plante, LLC, to create a forever home for youth, the community, and the Urban Black Cowboy.

For more information, please visit thepura.org or donate here to be a part of PURA’s mission to preserve the life, legacy, and culture of Black urban cowboys in the city of Philadelphia.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

EHV Relief Fund Brings Showjumping Community Together for a Common Cause

The entire showjumping community has been devastated by the current linked outbreaks in Spain of the neurological form of EHV-1 that has impacted horses in 10 countries in mainland Europe. Through the hard work and dedication of many in our community, progress is clearly being made towards bringing the immediate situation under control. However, many riders and owners are facing severe financial hardship due to the costs of emergency veterinary treatment for their horses during the crisis.

In order to provide support for those affected by these unforeseen and, in many cases, very substantial expenses, the EHV Relief Fund has been established. The brainchild of showjumping athletes Emile Hendrix, Peter Charles, and Frederick Goltz, the Fund has the support of the FEI, European Equestrian Federation, International Jumping Riders Club, Jumping Owners Club, and Equestrian Organisers. In addition, Riders Help Riders, the fundraising campaign set up by German event organiser and sports marketer Axel Milkau, has joined forces with the Fund. Collectively, this group have set themselves up as the Sponsors of the Fund.

The mandate of the Fund is to provide financial support to riders and owners for the legitimate veterinary expenses resulting directly from the EHV-1 outbreaks in Spain. All proceeds raised by the Fund will be applied to this mission. Any administrative or other costs of the Fund will be borne by the Sponsors.

Guidelines for the submission of funding requests will be published in due course, but the basic principle will be to:

  1. compile all applicable expenses;
  2. raise as much money as possible;
  3. allocate funds raised to cover the greatest percentage of the applicable expenses possible.

The Sponsors have created an oversight committee to manage distribution of the funds based on this mandate. The Sponsors are committed to full transparency and the accounts of the Fund will be published when it is wound up.

“Despite these desperately distressing times, it has been heartwarming to see in practice what we all know to be true: that in our sport, the welfare of the horse comes first, no matter the circumstance,” Frederick Goltz said. “As part of that special community ethos, we would hope that the broader showjumping community will help to bear some of the costs, particularly in an environment made all the more difficult by Covid-19.”

A total of €250,000 has already been pledged to the Fund, including monies committed by the Sponsors, other donors, and the very successful fundraising effort already undertaken by the Riders Help Riders team.

“Thank you to those who have already joined our effort and we very much hope that everyone in the showjumping community will consider helping as much as they are able,” Peter Charles said.

Questions about the Fund can be addressed to EHVRelief@FEI.org.

EAF Announces COVID Recovery Grant for Palm Beach County Equestrian Industry Workers

Lenir Perez, Ana Sofia Perez, and Juan Andres Rodriguez competed for EAF in the 2021 Great Charity Challenge. Photo by Lois Spatz.

Mar. 22, 2021 — Wellington, Fla. — The Equestrian Aid Foundation is proud to announce the creation of its Equestrian Recovery Grant Opportunity (ERGO) program. The program — a one-time grant opportunity for qualifying equestrian professionals and industry service providers — has been made possible through the Great Charity Challenge. In the 2021 event, EAF won $40,000 to apply to COVID relief and recovery efforts in Palm Beach County.

Within the horse world, COVID-19 has had a disproportionately detrimental impact on equestrian professionals and industry service providers. As small business owners and independent contractors who occupy a unique niche in the workforce, many members of the equestrian community have been overlooked for SBA and PPP loans or critically underserved by unemployment. The ERGO program is designed to identify local equestrians who fall into these categories and help them regain stability.

“Last March, we opened our first COVID Emergency Grant program within a week of the industry shutdown to quickly help workers in crisis as they figured out their next steps,” said EAF board member Louise Riggio. “The applicant data from this ongoing program demonstrates just how hard hit our equestrian community has been.”

To date, the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s initial COVID Emergency Grant program has delivered over $130,000 in aid to 281 equestrian professionals and industry service providers across the United States. “It’s been inspiring to hear that many of these individuals are back to work and doing well, but we know many others are still struggling,” said EAF board member Robert Ross of Wellington, Fla. “While we can’t mitigate every situation, thanks to the Great Charity Challenge, we will be able to make a considerable impact locally.”

Pursuant to Great Charity Challenge guidelines, the $40,000 ERGO fund will be available to qualified workers who claim Palm Beach County as their full-time residence. More information about the grant program can be found here.

The ERGO program application window will open on Monday, Apr. 4, 2021, at 8 a.m. and will close in early May. The application will be accessible in an online format or as a PDF on the Equestrian Aid Foundation website.

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.

WEF Season Success for OMA Students

Taylor Landstrom and Inferno (Photo courtesy of Jen Wood Media)

Wellington, FL (February 10, 2021) – Open Minds Academy is a popular winter season academic hub for ambitious young riders, and with the Winter Equestrian Festival well underway, OMA is celebrating excellence not only in the show ring, but also in the classroom! Their individualized tutoring makes it easy for equestrians and equestrian families to execute a seamless transition from the barn to the classroom, or even to bring the classroom to the barn. OMA’s custom learning programs include virtual options, in-person 3-1 groups at their COVID-protocol optimized Wellington center, weekly status updates, extracurricular classes, and monitoring for seasonal students to ensure they keep up with their home school. Wellington’s seasonal equestrians are one of the main groups utilizing OMA to excel both in school and the show ring.

Sophia Ercolano finished WEF 3 with numerous top placings in the Low Children’s Hunters. As a 12-year-old student currently in the 6th grade, Sophia attends OMA’s virtual schooling sessions, maximizing her time with their certified teachers and time for training at the farm. She is based out of Flemington, New Jersey most of the year where she trains with Linda Sheridan and returns each season to Wellington for the winter horse show.

Taylor Landstrom is another OMA student with blue ribbons in hand for 2021. She and Inferno were the top rider in the EMO Insurance Group USHJA 3’3″ Jumper Seat Medal Section A during WEF 4. Taylor’s schedule at OMA is centered around her morning training, meaning she spends the afternoon as an in-person student at OMA’s Wellington learning center, which is located behind the Kick Back Tavern (formerly Backstreets). She enjoys the learning environment and seeing her seasonal friends each year at OMA, where Language Arts is her favorite subject.

“During season many of our equestrian clients are thrilled with the flexible scheduling and full service offered by Open Minds Academy,” said co-founder Sara Frost. “Whether they’re children of equestrians here to show or showing themselves, we work to make sure they can focus on learning and making the most of their schedule. If there’s a big show week 6, we adjust the curriculum to be lighter that week and distribute the work over less busy weeks to make sure they stay on course in school and at the horse show.”

Open Minds Academy was founded by Tyler Shernoff and Sara Frost in 2014 to meet the growing demand for individualized tutoring and teaching. Their student list has grown to include many seasonal equestrians and Wellington residents as well as students from across south Florida. Their full range of tutoring, personalized teaching, and virtual learning includes classes ranging from Pre-K through the 12th grade, while the equestrian programs generally focus on Pre-K through the 8th grade. From the beginning, their deliberately small class sizes have ensured optimal learning, and now they are the most ideally situated for COVID friendly teaching protocols as well as virtual schooling. Open Minds Academy is a one stop resource for parents and students to achieve their academic goals, boost enrichment activities, and maximize their Wellington learning program.

For additional information on Open Minds Academy, visit www.OpenMindsAcademy.org.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

Brooke USA Recognized as the 2020 Humanitarian Award Recipient

The EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) came together in 2009 to establish the Humanitarian Award to recognize the accomplishments of an individual or group of individuals in improving the health and welfare of the horse and promoting and expanding the general public’s appreciation and respect of the diverse role of horses.

Brooke USA received the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the virtual USEF Pegasus and Horse of the Year Awards Celebration on Saturday evening, January 17, 2021. Brooke USA, the sister organization to Brooke and a leading funder of its work in the developing world, is best known for improving and advocating for the welfare of working horses, donkeys, and mules and the people they serve throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Caribbean by raising funds and responsibly directing them to the areas of greatest need. Less widely known is Brooke USA’s commitment to America’s horses.

The Work of Brooke USA Worldwide

Over 100 million working horses, donkeys, and mules provide invaluable support to daily life for an estimated 600 million people (eight percent of the world’s population) in some of the poorest places in the world through haulage, transportation, and production.

Healthy working horses, donkeys, and mules help to put food on their tables, send their children to school, and build better futures for themselves and their families.

Brooke USA strategically invests in solution-oriented, community-based partner organizations that address the root causes of problems affecting vulnerable communities around the globe.

Working directly with animals, owners, health services agencies, and governments, Brooke USA supports growths in infrastructure, education, veterinary care, and funding for projects and causes positively benefitting and sustaining working humans and animals in the developing world.

The Work of Brooke USA in the US

Sadly, in the United States, many of America’s horses who empower and heal us face an uncertain future. Tens of thousands become at-risk for abuse and neglect each year. Over 65,000 were shipped across our borders to be slaughtered in 2019.

Since 2016, Brooke USA has stepped up to fund US-based organizations during natural disasters and other emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic was no exception. Brooke USA came to the rescue in the United States by supporting the relief efforts of national equine welfare organizations, including the EQUUS Foundation, the Foundation for the Horse, the charitable arm of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), and the Humane Society of the United States. Brooke USA also supported the disaster relief efforts of the United States Equestrian Foundation and the Equestrian Aid Foundation as well as other regionally based organizations.

“Brooke USA is thrilled to be recognized for our work in the United States. We have been building up our support of US-based organizations over the past few years, and COVID-19 made our national emergency our very own priority. To date, we have delivered micro-grants 24 fellow nonprofits. It has been about supporting day-to-day operations, providing feed, ensuring vet care, and helping owners. We thank the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation for the honor of serving as the 2020 the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award recipient,” said John Nicholson, Immediate Past Chair of Brooke USA.

“During this time of extreme hardship, one thing is certain. We are grateful to our first responders and to the individuals and organizations that rise above their own priorities to work for the common good. Brooke USA is one such organization and is most deserving to be recognized as the recipient of the Humanitarian Award,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

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