EQUUS Foundation in the news
February 26, 2015

Ariat's 2014 Volunteers Pay it Forward

Thanks to Ariat International, five more deserving equine service volunteers received Ariat boots bringing the total to 20 in 2014. Ariat sponsors the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, the equine service incentive program that rewards volunteers for their service to equine organizations participating on the Foundation's Equine Welfare Network. Over 335 individuals in 2014 achieved Champion status and are recognized here.

Elaine Brenton
Bridge Between, Inc.
Snellville, GA
Elaine Brenton

Elaine Brenton with student Manual Munoz (aka Lil Bit) and rescue pony, Sammie. Sammie's mane was painted blue (non-toxic paint) to introduce him for the first time to Manual and his grandmother.

Elaine joined the Bridge Between Inc in August of 2013. The Bridge Between was established in the fall of 2009 in response to an overwhelming need to care for horses that were being neglected and abandoned due to the economic condition of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Along the way they decided to give their rescue horses the opportunity to pay it forward and developed a program to use the rehabilitated horses for therapy with adults and children with mental, physical and emotional difficulties.

Elaine had been riding horses, on and off, since childhood, and by high school she had three horses of her own. Riding took up most of her free time after school and weekends, but horses went on hold during college where Elaine earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz. "The Bridge Between gives me the opportunity to work with young, inexperienced (green) horses and use my background in Graphic Design to get the word out about this wonderful organization."

Linda Carney
Free Rein Therapeutic Riding
Spokane, WA
Linda Carney

Linda Carney with therapy horse Terra Mae. Terra Mae retired from Free Rein last month.

Linda works as an Educational Assistant in the Autism Room at one of the local Elementary schools in Spokane Valley. She started volunteering at Free Rein three years ago to help those who struggle with mental, physical, emotional or social issues using equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT).

"I love seeing the relationship that forms between the students and their new found equine friends – and also the bond they form with us, the volunteer side walkers and leaders. Free Rein provides the training we, as volunteers, need to properly handle the horses so that each rider achieves the ultimate benefit from their time with their equine partner!" The training Linda is receiving at Free Rein is helping her achieve her vision of teaching her own horses to do therapy work.


CHAMPIONS is the EQUUS Foundation's incentive-based equine service volunteer program sponsored by Ariat International to recognize and reward individuals and organizations on the Equine Welfare Network.

It's easy to become a CHAMPION, an individual must log a minimum of 24 volunteer hours from January 1st to December 31st. The volunteer hours will be verified by the organization and the EQUUS Foundation.

Arika Friedman
Equine Assisted Therapies of South Florida
Boca Raton, FL
Arika Friedman

Arika Friedman with her Arabian Solomon

Arika Friedman anxiously waited for her 14th birthday when she would be eligible to start volunteering at Equine Assisted Therapies of South Florida (EATSF). She began as a side walker and progressed to a camp counselor, a horse leader and eventually a Hoof Print Captain for the barn. Now an 18 year old high school senior, Arika volunteers at EATSF on a weekly basis.

Arika also competes with the Millpond Farm Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Team, participates in the Millpond Farm 4H Club, and volunteers for the South Florida SPCA and the College Preparatory Invitational.

"Although I have been riding and caring for horses since I was 7 years old and have my own horse, working with the special needs kids has been one of my most rewarding experiences. I feel extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be working with these amazing kids and horses. They've shaped me in ways I couldn't have imagined was possible.”

Sarah Madden
Spartanburg, SC
Sarah Madden

Sarah and Rascal with student

Sarah is a sophomore at Wofford College and is majoring in English and Environmental Studies. She is a member of the Wofford Equestrian Team and owns an American Saddlebred mare named Dancer.

Sarah is an instructor in training at HALTER (Handicapped Athletes Learning To Enjoy Riding), where she works with handicapped and special needs children and adults from Spartanburg.

HALTER has served students at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind since 1987.

Julie Stern
Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, Inc.
Perrineville, NJ
Julie Sternn

Julie Stern and Thor, a rescue in need of a forever home. "I love him and not to mention he gives the best KISSES!!!"

"It was two years ago when my husband of 30 years finally got tired of me moping around and needing something to do to validate my experience," said Julie Stern, "and I discovered Helping Hearts Equine Rescue and Lisa Post.

It's my little piece of heaven to go there every Saturday and sometimes during the week to groom, kiss horses, scoop poopies - whatever they need me to do."

Julie knew nothing about horses the day she arrived - except how to kiss them on the nose. Not surprisingly, her nickname is the "horse kisserer" [no typo]. "To see these rescues come in and to be part of their journey to brand new loving homes is a gift."


About 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, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal. 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: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: 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.

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