July 25, 2018
Contact: Lynn Coakley
mail@equusfoundation.org | 203-259-1550

Making New Friends - Two- and Four-Legged Ones!

"Volunteering is hard work, but it's an experience I recommend to everyone," said Rosi Beachy, one of five Champions selected to receive a pair of Ariat boots in recognition of her volunteer service on behalf of horse welfare. "I've made good friends, both two- and four-legged ones."

Ariat International sponsors the EQUUS Foundation's Champions program to inspire and reward equine service. The five Champions selected for the past quarter include: Rosi Beachy, Kathy Jo Hanson, Kimberly Kruse, Laura Renshaw, and Danica Rix-Wayne.

Rosi Beachy
Hope's Legacy Equine Rescue
Afton, VA

Rosi Beachy has had a life-long love of horses, but school and work got in the way of spending much time with her favorite animals. In 2006, a new job led Rosi to Charlottesville, Virginia. When she decided to retire in 2017, having spent most of her work life travelling and leaving little time to make friends, she thought that volunteering would be a great way to meet people.

Rosi Beachy with Donkey
"Hope's Legacy was the ideal place for me," said Rosi. "I've logged over 250 volunteer hours in the past 1 1/2 years - feeding animals, throwing hay, working the food tent, mucking manure, assisting with vet visits."

"I've made good friends, both two- and four-legged ones - especially Donkey, a survivor of a massive anti-cruelty seizure in 2015. Donkey was not expected to live after this ordeal, but he's going strong, and has become Hope Legacy's Ambassador."

"I've been sad when my favorite horses have been adopted, but also really happy when I've heard about the great new owners they now have. Volunteering is hard work, but it's an experience I recommend to everyone."

Kathy Jo Hanson
River Valley Riders
Woodbury, MN

Sonia and Mary join Kathy Jo Hanson on a carriage ride drawn by Tanner

Kathy Jo Hanson has been volunteering with River Valley Riders since 2000, serving as a sidewalker, horse leader, board member, and in many other roles. She is passionate about enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs by providing equine assisted activities and therapies.

Volunteering inspired her to become certified as a PATH Intl. Certified Driving Instructor. "I've been volunteering as the carriage driving instructor for six years now," said Kathy Jo, "and every day I see the benefits of how this activity improves the lives of my students."
Kimberly Kruse
Ride On St. Louis, Inc.
St. Louis, MO
Kimberly Kruse with April
Horses have been a part of Kimberly's life since she was seven when began riding at weekly summer camps. At 14, she got a job working with a newspaper route so that she could afford her own horse. Cherokee and Kimberly competed in barrel racing for all four years of high school.

Horses remained in the forefront for Kimberly at Truman State University where she studied Animal Science/Equine Science and competed on the Equestrian Team. She also worked at a nearby Arabian boarding stable as the assistant manager.

"My junior year I did an internship at the Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Wyoming, which rescues former research animals," said Kimberly. "My main charges were a group of foals taken from Premarin-production facilities who had never been handled other than to be haltered and put on a trailer. Seeing them go from being terrified of humans to readily approaching us and asking for scratches and treats was such an amazing experience!"

After graduating, she volunteered at the Humane Society of Missouri's Longmeadow Rescue Ranch where she worked with their trainer to rehabilitate abused and neglected horses and develop a more standardized training program for incoming volunteers to follow.

"Life moved me away from working with horses for a few years, until I heard about the devastating flood damage that the Ride On St. Louis facilities had suffered, and I reached out to offer help." Since then, Kimberly has been a regular volunteer on Sunday mornings, helping with the chores and upkeep of the grounds. "It's a small part of the broader work that Ride On does, but I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to give some of my time to an organization that has such a positive impact on the lives of its clients and their families."

Laura Renshaw
Horse and Buddy
Apex, NC
Laura Renshaw with Joe at the Horse and Buddy horse show last October. Fun fact: Joe and Laura are the same age. Joe is turning 26 years old this year.
Laura started volunteering at Horse and Buddy to reconnect with horses and to add structure to her free time. She soon realized how much she enjoyed everything about the experience (aside from the North Carolina summer heat), especially leading horses during lessons.

Laura's day job is in research operations, but her weekends are reserved for Horse and Buddy. Since January 2017, she has volunteered over 500 hours in lessons, with the horses, training new volunteers, and helping with special events.

"When anyone asks me if I have a favorite horse or rider, I end up picking a favorite thing about each horse and rider instead," said Laura. I love the program, the horses, and the people."

Danica Rix-Wayne
Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue, Inc.
Dover Plains, NY
Danica Rix-Wayne with Liam
Danica Rix Wayne's passion for horses began when she was just four years old, spending her summers in Florida at a horse farm down the street from her grandparents.

It was Danica's daughter, Abigale, that led to Danica volunteering at Lucky Orphans five years ago. "To have a daughter with the same passion has been a gift," said Danica.

Abigale attended a clinic organized by Lucky Orphans Executive Director, Deanna Mancuso. Abigale didn't have a horse to ride so Deanna offered her Liam.

"They were a dynamic duo from the second they met," said Danica, "and it has been my greatest pleasure to have been given the opportunity to volunteer with my family!"

"It's the most amazing feeling leaving after a day at the farm knowing that we make a difference in every orphan on the farm. We are committed to every Sunday no matter the weather - from snow storms, ice storms to rain and 100 degree weather. I am forever grateful for the experiences we share as a family!"

Learn more about Champions here

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 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: 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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