The Perks of Volunteering
Thanks to Ariat International, sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, five volunteers receive a free pair of boots each quarter from Ariat in recognition of their service as volunteers for equine charities across the United States.
The five volunteers selected by random draw for the fourth quarter of 2019 are Christine Achtermeier, Lynn Grismore, Terry Hurley, Samantha Morgan-Neumann and Aubrie Smith.
"Volunteering at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is the best job I've ever had," said Hurley. "I always smile when I leave. I think horses are a gift to mankind."
Christine discovered the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation (MHWF) back in 2012 and has since not only become a volunteer and dedicated advocate -- but an adopter too! On her first volunteer day, she adopted a horse -- and there's been a few more over the years including an ex-racehorse and a draft.
"I feel as though each and every time I volunteer, I am helping MHWF make an impact. I look forward to every opportunity to help. It really does take a village," said Achtermeier.
One of her favorite experiences at MWHF is Vet Day, established by Dr. Suzanne McKichan. McKitchan engages other veterinarians, like herself, as well as vet students to donate their time twice a year to provide services to the MHWF horses. Vet Day not only helps the horses, it provides the veterinary students with the opportunity to have valuable hands-on experience - A Win-Win!
"Life is life," said Achtermeier. "My life is busy balancing family, work, and obligations, but when I can also contribute to something I am passionate about, it creates balance. I am whole because I volunteer."
A native of Virginia, Aubrie Smith came upon Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa (TROT) as a sophomore at the University of Alabama in January 2016. She had just switched her undergraduate major to social work.
Smith had been horseback riding since she was a young girl and grew up with a sibling with special needs. "My new advisor introduced me to TROT," said Smith. "I wasn't aware of the potential of incorporating horses with therapy and was eager to learn all I could."
Now, a graduate student of the University of Alabama's School of Social Work, Smith is passionate about pursuing equine-assisted therapy and psychotherapy in her work with individuals with disabilities. "I am incredibly thankful for all that TROT has done and continues to do," said Smith. "They have truly made an impact in the community utilizing the power of the human-horse bond."
Hope for Horses, Inc.
Lynn Grismore with Mindy and Calico Kid
Mindy is a mystery Mustang, and Calico Kid (Cal) is a rescue from a feed lot.
"I have always been a horse person," said Grismore, but there was about 30 years in there going to school, career, children that I was 'estranged' from my passion."
A trip to the Calgary Stampede in Canada lit the flame again in Grismore and now, she's happily back in the fold.
Grismore serves on the Board of Directors of Hope4Horses, recruits and orients volunteers, plans fundraisers, as well as barn work. "I want to thank Ariat for the gift card. I love their boots!"
Hurley lives in Calvert County, Maryland, with his wife Cathy of 38 years and their new rescue pittie, Norman. He retired seven years ago as a certified welder/mechanic and served six years in the Navy as an aviation electricians mate.
"When my wife and I aren't traveling, we spend most of our free time volunteering at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue," said Hurley. Hurley has been volunteering for about five years as the Farm Operations Manager in charge of repairing and maintaining equipment and farm needs from fencing to whatever is broken. He also helps on two feed shifts per week, feeding, grooming and mucking. He refers to all the rescue horses as his 'kids'.
"Volunteering at Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is the best job I've ever had," said Hurley". "I always smile when I leave. I think horses are a gift to mankind."
Despite the diagnosis of "Mild Cerebral Palsy and Learning Disability", 20-year old Samantha Rose Morgan-Neumann has always been in awe of horses and the opportunity to ride horses surpassed all her expectations.
Samantha moved several times in her life, living in several different homes in as many states. Over a year ago, she moved to Ohio to live with her aunt and uncle. There, she was introduced to Camelot Center. It was the first activity that she was able to really get involved with.
"I have had the ability to not only ride weekly but also volunteer my time", said Morgan-Neumann. "Volunteering has allowed me to learn, grow and be with these amazing animals that help me in so many ways. I owe so much gratitude to Camelot for the time, love and patience they have towards all of their 'family' - humans and animals alike."
Learn more about Champions here
ABOUT EQUUS FOUNDATION: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, is the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America's horses and strengthening the bond between people and 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.
ABOUT ARIAT INTERNATIONAL: Ariat International, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian footwear, apparel and belts. Featuring a patented technology designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into English riding boots and authentic Western boots. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail outlets throughout the world. For more information about Ariat products or for the Ariat retailer nearest you, contact Ariat at 800.899.8141 or visit www.ariat.com.