Category Archives: Equestrian Assistance

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.

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