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April 19, 2023

Hats Off to Five Equine Service Volunteers!

"Wow! I’m so honored to be selected and honestly it couldn’t have come at a better time. My barn boots just gave out," said Brittany Barnhill, one the five deserving volunteers at equine charities across the United States who will receive a $270 Gift Card for Ariat Boots for their volunteer service during the past three months. Ariat International sponsors the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, which aims to stimulate and reward volunteerism on behalf of horses.

The EQUUS Foundation would like to congratulate the winners for the first quarter of 2023:

Brittany Barnhill, Andy Earp, Barb Keeler, Emerald Millar, and Emma Yarton. The EQUUS Foundation is grateful for volunteers like these who dedicate their time to keeping horses safe and healthy and aiding the charities and horses that serve people in need.

Andy Earp

CHAPS Equine Assisted Services

Sheridan, Wyoming

Andy Earp with Frank

Andy Earp with Frank. "I wear my Ariat boots every day and they have been bullet proof!"

Andy Earp wears three hats at CHAPS - Volunteer, Client and Board Member. He moved to Sheridan in September 2021 and began participating as a client and then as a volunteer shortly thereafter. He was elected to the Board of Directors this past March.

As a disabled veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy medic, Andy attributes his strong mental health today to the bond he has formed with the CHAPS’ horses. He said, “Horses live in the moment. They don’t worry about the past or the future.”

He volunteers 30 to 40 hours a week helping with the maintenance of the barn and property, serving as a lead walker and side walker with clients, and helping with handling, grooming and tacking horses at clinics.

Andy sees the value of engaging with horses for anyone who wants to reduce stress and wants to work with other disabled individuals. Andy is now seeking certification as a PATH Intl. Equine Specialist for Mental Health and Learning and expects to receive the certification next year.  

Brittany Barnhill

Faith N Friends

Powell, Tennessee

Brittany Barnhill

Brittany Barnhill

When Brittany Barnhill moved from Georgia to Knoxville, Tennessee and heard about a horse rescue with an interest in developing programs for children with disabilities, she knew she had to get involved.

Brittany is an occupational therapy professional with a background in hippotherapy and a passion for helping both horses and people. "I am so happy to be a part of this amazing organization," said Brittany. "Faith N Friends has made so many lives richer, both human and equine, mine included!"

Barb Keeler

This Old Horse, Inc.

Hastings, Minnesota

Barb Keeler with Lettie

Barb Keeler with Lettie

Barb Keeler volunteers at Copper Bowl Ranch, a satellite facility of This Old Horse, which provides sanctuary and finds new homes for retired, rescued, and recovering horses.


Barb adopted a five-year-old thoroughbred mare named Lettie from This Old Horse through their Racehorse Reimagined program.

"I wanted a young horse to grow old with. Lettie and I are the perfect match," said Barb. "We celebrated her 5th birthday on March 18th, 2023, with an apple birthday cake."

Emerald Millar

Dream Catcher Stables, Inc.

Spring, Texas

Emerald Millar with Dream Catcher program horse, Triple 7, and program participants

Emerald Millar with Dream Catcher program horse, Triple 7, and program participants.

"Emerald is one of those amazing volunteer finds," said Sanna Roling, Executive Director of Dream Catcher Stables. "She was just 12 when she first came, but she showed such maturity that everyone else in our program thought she was at least 16. With her own family challenges, I have watched Emerald work through her problems while encouraging and uplifting everyone in our program." 

"My first love is swimming," said Emerald, but volunteering at Dream Catcher Stables gave me a place to call home and have another family." Emerald hopes to direct a program like Dream Catcher Stables one day "because I enjoy all the horses and all the athletes who are involved - and want to help the many more to come." 

Emma Yarton

Emma Yarton leading a participant on Tink

Emma Yarton

Mane Stream

Oldwick, New Jersey

Emma Yarton has been volunteering at Mane Stream for five years and riding for ten years. "Horses offer far more than just companionship," said Emma. "Horses have taught me responsibility, respect, organization, and confidence -- and to experience the freedom that comes from riding."

"The most rewarding part about volunteering at Mane Stream for so many years is that I am able to see riders improve from year to year," said Emma - some even starting out afraid of horses. 

Champions Program sponsored by Ariat International

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 from peril 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 ariat.com.