July 19, 2017
Contact: Lynn Coakley
mail@equusfoundation.org | 203-259-1550

Ariat Continues Support of Dedicated Equine Volunteers

"Horses have always filled that empty place in my heart," said equine service volunteer, Devyn Barrett. Volunteering led to a career for Devyn in the equine community as a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

Barrett, along with Terry Blum, Melinda Colonna, Deb Gibson and Adriana Kaplan, are all receiving new boots for their equine service thanks to Ariat International, the sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions program.

Devyn Barrett
Hands and Hearts for Horses (HHH)
Thomasville, Georgia

Devyn and Ivan
HHH was the first place that Devyn Barrett volunteered when she was younger. "Horses have always been a huge passion of mine." She helped out all summer and was there every day after school.

She found the volunteer experience so fulfilling that she encouraged her sisters to come out and let them work with the horses.

Recognizing Devyn's commitment and potential, the HHH instructors encouraged her to pursue a career as a therapeutic riding instructor. "I owe a huge thank you to Susie, Kylie and Lynn for pushing me to do my best and always standing behind me."

Devyn is now ready to move forward and start her career because of this amazing opportunity."Being able to teach others how the love of a horse can heal people in ways doctors and medicine sometimes cannot is a priceless gift."

Terry and Hawk

"Many people thank me for my time, but my response is, 'I get far more from the program than I give!'"
Terry Blum will tell you that Hawk has a calm and gentle disposition which makes him great for a variety of riders. His nickname is "Eeyore", but to Terry, he is "the Wonder Horse". At 34 years old, he's still giving lessons and going strong.

Terry and his wife Joy retired to Grand County, Colorado, for the winter and summer sports, and the climate.

The bonus for Terry was the opportunity to volunteer with NSCD, one of the largest therapeutic recreation agencies in the world, offering a variety of year-round sports and recreational adventures, including therapeutic horseback riding.

Terry volunteers primarily with the NSCD's Horse Therapy and Alpine Skiing programs, and 2018 will be his 10th year of volunteering with an average of 200+ hours a year.

Melinda Colonna
Rose of Sharon Equestrian School (ROSES)
Glen Arm, Maryland

Melinda and Izzie

It was one of Melinda's daughters who encouraged Melinda to join ROSES in March of 2014 as the volunteer coordinator. Melinda's three daughters were grown and she was retired.

She said, "I thought it would be the perfect time to become involved with something that really spoke to me." She found that helping children with special needs through the powerful bond with horses and the opportunity to work with amazing volunteers was "beyond rewarding".

In addition to her duties as volunteer coordinator, Melinsa assists with class sessions, barn chores, grooming, and welcoming guests at special events.

Melinda regularly pairs with Izzie in class sessions, who is ROSES's most experienced "teacher" and has been a star player for students with autism since 2003. A Thoroughbred/Percheron-Shetland Pony cross, Izzie has the strength of a lion and the gentleness of a lamb.

Deb Gibson
Chasing Rainbows
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Deb and Sprite
Deb Gibson has volunteered at Chasing Rainbows since it started operation in 2011. "We are always looking for volunteers to assist our participants during their lessons as Horse Leaders or Sidewalkers," said Founder Andrea Gibson. It's a great way to learn more about horses and have a great time in a meaningful way."

There's no coincidence in the names - Andrea is Deb's daughter. "I've always loved horses," said Deb, "but had no opportunities to be with them growing up."

It was her daughter Andrea who inspired Deb and provided this opportunity to benefit from the powerful bond with horses. Andrea started lessons at 14, worked at a barn to lease a horse, went on to earn an Equestrian Studies minor from Houghton College, and then started Chasing Rainbows in 2011.

"I have learned so much from my volunteer time. I truly love going there."

Adriana Kaplan
Saving Horses, Inc.
Encinitas, California

Adriana and Annie
Adriana grew up riding horses and was a competitive gymnast in San Luis Obispo, California before attending the University of San Diego.

She currently works as a CPA having graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Accountancy in Accounting and minors in Italian and Leadership. She spends her free time doing yoga, riding horses, and volunteering at Saving Horses.

Saving Horses has been rescuing horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect since 2007. "Our goal is to rehabilitate and re-home as many as possible, and also provide sanctuary when needed," said Founder Audrey Reynolds, "but we are also home to an Equine Facilitated growth, development and healing program. As our horses heal, they also play a major role in the healing of individuals suffering from PTSD, addiction and social/emotional disorders."

"I am planning to adopt Annie." said Adriana, " and, I hope to have my own farm one day where I can adopt rescue horses like Annie and other animals in need of a good home."

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States dedicated solely to horse welfare and the horse-human bond. 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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