Three deserving equine charities were selected as the winners of the 2016 Win A Grant program thanks to the dedication of their volunteers and Ariat International, the sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions volunteer program.
Individuals who volunteer a minimum of 24 hours in a year for an equine charity on the EQUUS Foundation Equine Welfare Network are recognized as Champions and automatically entered into a drawing where the winners have the opportunity to select their charities to receive an EQUUS Foundation grant. The three champions selected by random draw. The first drawn earns the charity a $2,500 grant, the second drawn earns a $1,500 grant, and third drawn earns a $1,000 grant.
Thanks also to Ariat, each of the individual winners receive a gift card towards any Ariat boots valued up to $270.
Saving Horses & Champion Tanya Clifton
Marley Clifton on Buddy, rescued from slaughter at age five, Audrey Reynolds, Anja,
Tanya Clifton, and Tessa Clifton on Pirate, a BLM mustang.
It was in April of 2013 that Tanya Clifton read a newspaper article about Audrey, her horses, the rescue, and her ongoing need for volunteers. Although an avid horse lover all her life, it had been over 20 years since she had any significant interaction with horses. With a 10-year-old horse loving daughter at the time and another younger daughter who was up for anything, Tanya reached out to Audrey and the three of them began volunteering. What started out as once a week quickly became a twice each week commitment and a willingness to be on call whenever more help was needed. That was over three years ago.
Audrey Reynolds founded Saving Horses in 2007 to rescue horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect. With over 100 horses saved to date, many have been rehabilitated and re-homed, while others have found suitable sanctuary or retirement homes. Twelves horses currently reside at the rescue/sanctuary.
“The horses are loved like no other,” said Tanya. “Volunteering has been a great opportunity to learn commitment, work ethic, and perseverance especially on the HOT days of summer or the days when the barn is flooded from a winter night’s rain. It is an honor and privilege to be a small part of what Audrey is doing to rescue, rehabilitate, train, and re-home these amazing creatures. In return, my girls and I are blessed with the opportunity to be around, care for, and ride these animals in a way that we could never do otherwise. It has been especially meaningful for my oldest who clearly has a gift with animals of any kind and aspirations to be a vet or animal behaviorist.” The $2,500 grant earned by the Clifton family volunteer experience will be used to offset veterinary expenses.
Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue & Champion Dawn Caldwell
Pat Muncy, Stallone, and Dawn Caldwell
Dawn Caldwell, a 43-year old human services professional with “zero experience with horses but a solid love of animals” began her volunteer work at Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue (RVHR) in January 2014 – in the dead of a harrowing winter. Her desire to learn about horses was put to the test while slushing through snow and skiing (and slipping) on the winter’s ice!
Having now logged over 1,000 hours of service, Dawn assists with just about anything needed, whether it’s trudging through snow and ice to get the horses fed, helping new volunteers come on board, fundraising, or just being around to lend an extra hand. Why? Dawn says, “I get pleasure, joy, and peace from simply being with the horses.” Now Dawn can also say that her volunteerism earned RVHR a $1,500 grant.
Dawn is most appreciative of and thankful to Patricia Muncy, RVHR’s Founder and CEO. While Pat is often tending to budgetary issues, cutting hay for the horses, and dealing with a myriad of other things required to sustain the rescue, she says Pat has a true gift with horses and is always willing to share her knowledge with others. Watching Pat ‘dance’ with the horses is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.” Dawn expects to continue her horse journey for years to come.
Dream Catcher Stables & Champion Sanna Roling
Carinosa with Board Member Rodrigo Castillo, Docs Michelle with Volunteer Carl Rigg,
and Ima Lil Bit of Doc with Sanna Roling.
What more can be said of Sanna Roling – Dream Catcher’s Founder, President, Program Director, and Volunteer – she is also lucky! On learning that she has earned a $1,000 grant for Dream Catcher Stables, she said, “This has taken me by total surprise. Thank you (EQUUS Foundation) and Ariat so very very much. This will be my second pair of boots and I intend to to make it a pair of English style boots this time!” Sanna won her first pair to reward her volunteer service in 2013.
The $1,000 grant will go a long way for this small all-volunteer public charity serving the Greater Houston community with an annual operating budget of just $34,000. During the first six months of 2016, 36 riders with disabilities ranging from autism and traumatic brain injury, to intellectual disability, Down Syndrome, physical disabilities received 309 lessons.
Established in 1999 to provide recreational, educational, and sport programming to youth and adults with disabilities from low and modest income families, Dream Catcher Stables operates at a facility located near Bush Intercontinental Airport on 98 acres of leased wetlands. Dream Catcher Stables recently initiated a capital campaign to secure a permanent home to fulfill its mission of providing programs “in perpetuity”.