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October 25, 2019
California, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Texas Volunteers Share a Common Bond Because of Horses

On hearing the news that she was one of the five lucky volunteers to receive a free pair of boots from Ariat International in recognition for her volunteer service, Kathleen (Kat) Austin said, "I can't wait to go shopping. Good timing too - the boots I wear working in the pasture have sprung a leak - I could use some new ones!!"

Thanks to Ariat International, sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, the five volunteers receiving a free pair of boots from Ariat for the third quarter of 2019 are: Kathleen (Kat) Austin, Thomas Chandler, Nancy Dorn, Jill O'Connell and Aubrey Stewart.

Kathleen (Kat) Austin
SPCA of Texas
Dallas, TX

Kathleen Austin is a third grade teacher and started volunteering for the SPCA of Texas three years ago. Although she admits it is sometimes difficult to see the horses come in who have been the victims of severe neglect, she says it is even more rewarding to see them flourish under the compassionate care of a dedicated staff.

Commenting on how much she has enjoyed the opportunity to help care for the horses in need, she said, "It is a privilege to be part of the team of equine volunteers and staff at the SPCA of Texas who share the same passion for horses."
EQUUS Foundation
Kathleen (Kat) with Darling

Thomas Chandler retired in 2010 and discovered the opportunity to volunteer at NCTRC in the spring of 2017.

NCTRC empowers children and adults with physical, mental, emotional and social challenges to create more active, healthy and fulfilling lives through equine assisted activities and therapies.

Chandler volunteers as a leader and side walker in therapeutic riding sessions.

"Initially, I volunteered as a means of staying involved with horses, but discovered that I also love working with the NCTRC staff and clients," said Chandler.
EQUUS Foundation
Chandler with Emmi, a 13.1 hand, 24 year old Welsh cross mare, who spent most of her life showing in dressage, before becoming a mainstay at NCTRC in the spring of 2016.

Nancy Dorn
Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation
Greenville, NY
EQUUS Foundation
Dorn with Get Goin' BB, the gentle leader of the sanctuary herd at Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, was rescued from the kill pen in June of 2018. The map of scars across his body told a tale of exploitation. With careful attention to his physical rehabilitation and much consideration for his mental wellness, BB has rebounded and is thriving.

Dorn realized early in life that she wanted to be an advocate for those who cannot speak. Working beside Susan Kayne, the founder of Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, Dorn said, "I am proud to be a voice advocating daily for horses bound for slaughter and other horrific situations and to be able to witness the transformation of these abused, mistreated and broken souls. Susan has devoted every part of her being into their well-being. She turns them back into the majestic beings they once were."

Jill O'Connell
Maryland Horse Rescue
Mount Airy, MD

O'Connell's family moved frequently while she was growing up, admitting that her experience with horses was very limited -- but she would become friends with girls that had horses.

When she had children of her own and was living in Virginia in the heart of horse country, she took riding lessons along with them or while they were in school.

A friend of O'Connell mentioned that the Maryland Horse Rescue needed volunteers. Apprehensive at first because she thought it would be too sad, she commented, "Quite the contrary -- the horses receive great care and love."

Upon completing her volunteer training, she said, "I am able to be "hands on" in the care of our horses. I can't imagine not having this wonderful and gratifying opportunity."

EQUUS Foundation
O'Connell with Skippy, an 11 year old Appaloosa Gelding, who competed in eventing and dressage before losing his sight, but Skippy doesn't let his blindness stop him from learning to work on a long line and in ground work.

Aubrey Stewart
Wild at Heart Horse Rescue, Inc.
Lancaster, CA

Wild at Heart Rescue rehabilitates, trains and prepares rescue horses to become the well-loved family members they are meant to be. Dedication runs in the Stewart family.

Founder Leslie Stewart could not be prouder of her daughter, Aubrey, who at 15 years old, has been volunteering at the rescue for the past three years.

Aubrey has been riding horses since she was eight years old, and, says Leslie Stewart, "her passion for animals is inspiring. She is an accomplished rider and works our horses under saddle as well as helping with maintenance of our animals. She is a great asset to our rescue."
EQUUS Foundation
Stewart with Jeremy

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: 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.