Dr. Mark Fitch and Dr. Richard Tully Named 2012 USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipients
WESTPORT, CT - January 21, 2013 - Dr. Mark Fitch and Dr. Richard Tully were named the 2012 recipients of the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pegasus Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 19, 2013, during the Federation's Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award is a celebration of the humanitarian achievements made by a member of the equestrian world. From improving the health and welfare of the horse to promoting and expanding the general public’s appreciation and respect of the diverse roles of horses, the recipient of this award has devoted considerable personal time to making the lives and quality of life of our equine partners paramount.
"A record number of nominations were received this year, but two rose to the top", said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President, who with John Long, USEF CEO, presented the award to Dr. Fitch and Dr. Tully.
In addition to the recognition of winning this prestigious award, the recipients receive a $5,000 grant from the EQUUS Foundation to be awarded to a horse-related charity of his or her choice. Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center in Longmont, Colorado, and SMILES (Special Methods in Learning Equine Skills) of Darien, Wisconsin, will each receive a $5,000 grant.
Left to Right: John Long, Dr. Mark Fitch, Dr. Richard Tully, and Lynn Coakley. Photo courtesy of Phelps Media Group.
Dr. Mark Fitch
Founded in 1980 with three horses, the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC) is the oldest and largest therapeutic riding center in Colorado and one of the largest centers in the nation. CTRC now serves over 600 children and adults with a broad range of physical, cognitive, developmental, psychological and emotional needs - with a herd of 40 - all healthy and thriving - both physically and psychologically - thanks to Dr. Fitch.
Since day one, Dr. Fitch volunteered his time because he believed passionately in the power of the human-animal
bond. He fully believes that the relationship between a horse and a child or adult with a disability can be a compelling healing force in the individual's life.
He always made time for the CTRC even as a struggling young veterinarian working hard to establish his practice. Dr. Fitch has helped literally thousands of volunteers, staff and riders learn to respect, appreciate and build effective, valuable and beneficial relationships with horses. Additionally, Dr. Fitch has served on CTRC's Advisory Board for nearly three decades, providing vision and guidance in everything from farm management, to program development and arena construction.
The tens of thousands of hours he selflessly gives would not reveal the life changing benefits thousands of special needs members of the CTRC community have received from his extraordinary veterinarian and horsemanship skills and would not reveal how large a role he quietly plays in every rider's accomplishments, every equine therapist's steady step and every volunteer's commitment.
Dr. Fitch is a progressive equine practitioner whose practice exudes a remarkably special sensitivity toward both the client and the patient. There is no practitioner in the area more revered and respected by his human clients or more accepted by and effective with his equine patients.
Without pretense and with genuine heart and soul, this awe inspiring, yet gentle and humble humanitarian, incorporates his principles of care and caring into everything he does.
Dr. Richard Tully
Dr. Richard Tully's effect on the quality of life of our equine partners is exemplary, but he has also had a lasting impact on the special needs clients of the SMILES program, and on the equine industry through his role in the development of the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) at the University of Wisconsin.
As a young vet, just joining his father's practice, he visited the personal residence of Sherry Monty, founder of SMILES, to care for her horses. There he learned of her dream to partner horses with individuals with disabilities and joined an effort that has become a lifelong commitment of donating all the needed care to the SMILES horses.
"We have precious memories of Rick and his stethoscope, center stage in the arena, demonstrating to our special need riders the horse's breath and beating heart. How better to inspire us, and to equip us to move forward in life, than to bring us back to the message that we all share the same air", said Monty.
A true humanitarian of horse and human alike, Dr. Tully is both an advocate for the SMILES mission and a champion for the needs and welfare of horses - helping to provide second chances to horses who can no longer continue in their previous careers and finding the perfect homes for those special horses who need to retire from therapeutic riding.
Building the SMILES program from four borrowed horses and four borrowed saddles was a long journey and the number of therapy horses that he and his practice have cared for cannot be counted.
Dr. Tully has dedicated extensive personal time for almost three decades to the SMILES organization and the clients they serve - as a Board member, and a fundraiser, and most of all, as the caregiver of their horses.
About The EQUUS Foundation
The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, advancing the use of horses to enrich the lives of people in need and educating the public about the horse’s unique ability to empower, teach and heal. What started as a local effort is now a nationwide campaign on behalf of horses. The Foundation accomplishes its mission by providing financial support to horse-related charities across the United States; connecting a network of equine organizations to equine enthusiasts; providing scholarships to reward volunteer service on behalf of horses, and conducting information outreach to educate the public about horses.
Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: email@example.com, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.
About The United States Equestrian Federation
Established in 1917, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), www.usef.org, is dedicated to uniting the equestrian community, honoring achievement, and serving as guardians of equestrian sport. The USEF promotes the safety and welfare of horses and riders while encouraging interest, participation and excellence at every competitive level and for all breed and discipline affiliates within the Federation family equally. The USEF is the only national organization dedicated to the promotion of the equestrian sport, fair competition and equine welfare regardless of breed or discipline.