Category Archives: EQUUS Foundation

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Robb Report’s Horsepower Gala to Honor Champions of Equine Protection

Honoring Kevin Babington, Mayisha Akbar, Nacho Figueras, Peder Fredricson, Margie Goldstein Engle, Danny Robertshaw, and Ron Danta in a Virtual Award Show

Robb Report, the leading voice in global luxury, is hosting its second annual Horsepower Gala. Frank and Monica McCourt will co-host the virtual celebration on Thursday, February 18, along with Robb Report‘s editor in chief, Paul Croughton. The virtual attendees will participate in a live auction and award show featuring a special musical performance by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Gloria Gaynor. Auction proceeds will benefit the EQUUS Foundation, America’s foremost equine-welfare organization. The Horsepower Gala raises funds for, and increases awareness of, the issues of horse abuse, neglect, and slaughter.

Robb Report established the Horsepower Gala in 2019 to benefit the EQUUS Foundation, and we are delighted to continue that partnership in 2021. Despite the challenges of the last year, I’m looking forward to our new virtual format to highlight exceptional and inspiring figures within the equestrian community,” said Croughton.

For information about the 2021 event, or to attend, visit RR1.COM/HORSEPOWER-GALA. Press Contact: Brooke Jaffe at Bjaffe@pmc.com.

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

Actress Beth Behrs Joins EQUUS Foundation as an EQUUStar

Beth Behrs and her rescue horse, Belle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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