Tag Archives: equestrian community

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

Eric Lamaze: The Retirement of a Legend

Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.

Eric Lamaze is one of the world’s most respected show jumpers and achieved so much throughout his stellar career. Following the announcement of his retirement, the Rolex Grand Slam team reached out to some of Eric’s biggest fans and dearest friends to highlight what makes him the legend he became.

Steve Guerdat

What is your favourite Rolex Grand Slam Major memory with Eric Lamaze?

There is more than one moment that stands in my memory; it is more about the history between Eric and the Rolex Grand Slam Major of Calgary. Over the years he has built a legacy over there and both Eric and Spruce Meadows have benefited from all the successes they have shared; it is unimaginable what he has achieved in that ring.

Which of Eric’s horses stands out the most and why?

Hickstead. He is one of the all-time greats and so similar to Eric – one pair I can’t stop watching again and again.

What is the most useful thing you have learnt from Eric?

Never doubt, always stay positive, and keep moving forward.

If you could use one word to describe Eric, what would it be?

Confident and positive.

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

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.

Update on Situation in Ukraine and Support to Ukrainian Equestrian Community

A webinar was held 30 March for the European Equestrian National Federations and associated European Equestrian Federation (EEF) members to provide a comprehensive update on the situation in Ukraine.

Jointly hosted by the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF), UEF Charity Foundation, and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the meeting included a thorough overview of the current actions and priorities in Ukraine, as well as an interactive discussion to establish the most efficient processes required to support the equestrian community (including the horses) in Ukraine and those who have fled to neighbouring nations.

The meeting also highlighted the strong collaborative spirit between the National Federations and the willingness from the equestrian community to provide both financial and logistical support through donations of supplies and materials, offers to host individuals, and/or horses and employment opportunities.

Since the onset of the war, the FEI, EEF, and UEF have worked together and tirelessly to provide support and aid through the UEF Charity Foundation and the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Current situation in Ukraine

The UEF Charity Foundation, which was set up at the start of the conflict and has the full support of the FEI and EEF, manages the logistics and coordination of humanitarian aid, the evacuation of horses, and the general information flow to/from the community and those externally wishing to help. Through the website www.helpukrainehorses.eu, offers of material aid (feed, shavings, etc.), monetary donations, and accommodation have been received from across Europe and overseas. To date, over 375 tonnes of material aid have been received at their central hub in Poland and over €75,000 has been donated directly to the Charity Foundation.

Working hand in hand and funded by the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, the Foundation has also managed the creation of a logistical hub in Granat, located between Lviv and the Polish border, able to accommodate up to 40 horses so they can be prepared for transfer into the European Union. Individuals should contact the UEF Charity Foundation for more information. It is expected this hub will be at full capacity in the coming days.

Whilst the achievements so far have been remarkable, the UEF Charity Foundation gave a stark warning that the requirement for aid is ongoing. Over the next month, an expected 2,000 horses will require support from the Foundation which would equate to triple the number of supplies currently held. As such, there is a need to continue working cooperatively across Europe in order to facilitate the supply of aid.

FEI Solidarity Director Jean-Phillippe Camboulives took this opportunity to urge all National Equestrian Federations “to designate an official representative to first coordinate the offers of support and supplies nationally, and then liaise with the FEI, EEF, and UEF to ensure logistical efficiency.”

Among other things, this would entail that offers for accommodation or employment be coordinated through National Federations, prior to reaching the UEF Charity Foundation and the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Camboulives added that the “FEI Solidarity Relief Fund has been able to provide great support to individual members in the Ukrainian community through neighbouring and European member federations such as the Ukrainian Vaulting team which is currently training and living in Slovakia thanks to the efforts of the host National Federation and the determination of their Secretary General Zuzana Baciak. And there are many examples like this at the moment. We must continue to work together and to coordinate our efforts and use our resources effectively.”

EU Regulations on the movement of horses

FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström provided an update on the situation regarding the transfer of horses from Ukraine into neighbouring EU countries, as well as the essential biosecurity protocols and sanitary requirements, which must be respected to safeguard horse welfare and horse populations both inside and outside of Ukraine. Among the topics covered, he also informed member nations of recent amendments to the existing Health Certificate published this week by the European Commission and taking effect on 29 March through to 15 December 2022 which could facilitate the transit of horses. Given the recent publication, the documents are currently under review by the FEI and clear guidance will be shared to all relevant stakeholders in the coming days.

Looking ahead and planning the future 

Reflecting on the complete collapse of the Ukrainian equestrian industry, the EEF and the FEI gave their full support to help rebuild the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation and the community.

To conclude the meeting, EEF President Theo Ploegmakers said, “The situation in Ukraine is devastating, but the collaboration we have seen across Europe through our members and the FEI is incredibly encouraging. There is still a huge amount of work to be done to help both the equines and the wider equestrian community in Ukraine and I believe through our network in Europe we can continue to provide the necessary support.”

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.

EEF:

Founded in 2009, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) is the representative body for the European based National equestrian Federations. Working closely with the Federation Internationale Equestre (FEI) and the National Federations, the EEF works to maximise the potential and development of equestrianism throughout the continent. The EEF is committed to promoting the sport equestrianism and its good practices, developing the sport across Europe, and providing leadership for a collective European voice in the sport.

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 contacts:

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

EEF
Alice Ward
Communications Manager
alice.ward@euroequestrian.eu
+33 6 40 62 81 97

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

Phelps Media Group Announces the Death of Founder and CEO Mason Phelps, Jr.

Phelps Media Group Announces the Death of Founder and CEO Mason Phelps, Jr.

 

Wellington, Fla. – May 19, 2021 – It is with great sadness and the deepest regrets that Phelps Media Group announces the passing of its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mason Phelps, Jr. Phelps passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home of a heart attack. On behalf of the entire team at Phelps Media Group, we extend the deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.

Mason Phelps, Jr. was the epitome of a lifelong equestrian, maintaining an undeniable relevance in the sport that has defined his personal and professional life. His contributions to the equestrian world include being an Olympic athlete, groom, trainer, event manager, governance leader, media executive, and philanthropy organizer.

“With the passing of Mason Phelps, the entire equestrian community has suffered an unimaginable loss,” said Lenore Phillips, President of Phelps Media Group. “Phelps Media Group and our team of dedicated marketing professionals will continue its professional efforts with the passion Mason would have wished and carry his tenacity of spirit in our future endeavors.”

Born in 1949, Phelps’ passion for horses and equestrian sports started early and he was only sixteen when he was invited to participate in his first training clinic with the United States Equestrian Team. In 1968, he was named US Combined Training Association’s Rider of the Year and was alternate for the U.S. Three-Day Team for the Mexico City Olympic Games. His career as a trainer began in 1972, working first as an assistant at Flintridge Riding Club and later developing his own training stable for hunter/jumpers until his retirement from competition in the late 1990s.

With a proclivity for innovation, Phelps paved the way launching dozens of ingenious events throughout his career. Whether they were equestrian competitions or philanthropic fundraisers, his successful events were often the talk of the town with packed attendance. For example, in 1970, he created and produced the AA-Rated Christmas Show in San Antonio, Texas, an annual event that is still an integral part of the Texas equestrian community. In 1976, Phelps founded the American Jumping Derby (later the International Jumping Derby) in Newport, Rhode Island. The first of its kind, it quickly became a major show on the East Coast jumping circuit through 1988. In 1977, Phelps created the New England Horsemen’s Association Hunt Seat Medal, also still a popular event to this day. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Phelps produced a driving event for the Newport Preservation Society. He was also one of the original organizers of the first World Cup Final in the U.S., in Baltimore in 1980.

In the early 1990s at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Phelps created innovative classes including the first equitation class for previous winners of the Maclay Equitation Championship and Medal Finals; an equitation class for past U.S. Olympic, Pan American Games, and Nations Cup athletes; and the first hunter classic for the American Hunter Jumper Foundation, held in the International Arena. Phelps was Director of Equestrian Operations at Palm Beach Polo in 1993. He served several years as President of the National Horse Show, reestablishing its prominence at its new home in Lexington, Kentucky following its stint at Madison Square Garden. In 2012, he also organized the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.

Phelps was Chairman of American Horse Show Association’s (now USEF) Zone I for eight years and served on the boards of the AHSA, USET and Show Jumping Hall of Fame. He also served as President of the New England Horseman’s Council and Rhode Island Horseman’s Association. As an AHSA judge, he judged many horse shows including the AHSA Medal Finals at Harrisburg.

A pioneer and natural leader, Phelps has been instrumental in numerous charity and fundraising events, starting with the famed Newport Roundup in the 1980s. He was one of the founders of the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF) in 1996 and in 1998, he produced the first Denim and Diamonds, a benefit gala for the USET Foundation that he produced again in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2004, raising millions of dollars that supported the USET.

In 2001, Phelps founded Phelps Media Group which has grown to represent many of the most prestigious equestrian events, organizations, companies, athletes, and businesses. By 2011 he was named to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce President’s Circle for building “America’s most progressive and successful equestrian public relations firm.”

Please direct all inquiries to Phelps Media Group at info@phelpsmediagroup.com and (561) 793-3389.

Stay connected with Phelps Media Group.

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.

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