EQUUS Foundation Horse-Human Bond

Equine Experiential Learning Initiative

Ensuring a sustainable environment for America's horses now and in the future

Based on current demographic and economic trends in the United States, the long-term future and welfare of horses could be in jeopardy. Public access and involvement with horses, especially among young people, declining. The expense and time required for competition is becoming unrealistic for most people.

326 million
Population of the United States
294 million of the U.S. population live
in cities of 50,000 or more
2 million of the U.S. population
owns horses

An updated human-horse model, based on different collaborative relationships between horses and humans, offers a more realistic plan for access to horses by people unable to experience the magic of horses through the traditional means of ownership and competition. For horses to remain an important part of American life and have a viable future, a paradigm shift in the perception of how horses partner with people will be required.

The overarching intent of the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative is to stimulate volunteerism, cultivate advocacy on behalf of horses and inspire a lifelong commitment to horse welfare.

Today, the benefits of the horse-human bond are becoming more apparent. Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) offer the best model of a modern human-horse interaction, with horses helping humans in new innovative ways. This type of human-animal experience may be more appealing, and certainly more realistic, for many of today's urban and suburban youth.

Young people today care about social issues, perform community service and want to give back. It has long been recognized that people who participate in meaningful, impactful activities often become deeply committed to lifelong support of that activity or cause.

Through on-line education and hands-on real-life interactions with horses, the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative is uniquely designed to:

• Provide meaningful community service and
equine experiential learning for teens
and adults;

• Highlight the importance of equines
historically and in modern society;

• Foster a deep understanding of the vital role
of horses now and in the future.

Engaging people to witness the impact of horses to empower, teach and heal will enlarge the base of equine advocates and raise awareness of the new and important role of horses. The future of horses is in the hands of their advocates, and we need advocates to help ensure the welfare of horses for decades to come.

Leonard I. Gilman Horses & Humans Grant

The EQUUS Foundation would like to express its appreciation to Dr. Terri Champney for helping to develop the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative and the Leonard I. Gilman Horses & Humans Grant.

The grant program is still in its formative stage. Organizations that are selected by the EQUUS Foundation will receive a grant of up to $1,000. The selected organizations will be responsible for enlisting volunteer participation and designating personnel with expertise to teach the on-site sessions and serve as mentors to the volunteers, and participating in the program follow-up.

The participating volunteers will be responsible for completing the online course of study, on-site educational sessions guided by mentors, hands-on involvement in the participating organization's EAAT programs, and online follow-up.

Dr. Champney will coordinate the grant program and work directly with the participating organizations by:

• Assisting with implementation of all phases
of the program;

• Providing a detailed "tool kit" for the
implementation, including suggestions for
scheduling, orientation, training, awards;

• Monitoring the online educational

• Providing a tool/questionnaire to measure
the effectiveness of the program, including
recommendations to improve the program.

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About Dr. Champney

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About Dr. Terri Champney

Dr. Champney graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University. She practiced equine and small animal medicine in California and Michigan before moving to Virginia where she worked in small animal medicine full time for several years.

Dr. Champney is a retired professor and Program Head of Veterinary Technology at Northern Virginia Community College. While at the college she established the first program between a county animal shelter and a veterinary teaching program. The model program was recognized by the organization, Veterinarians for Animal Rights, as a unique effort to benefit both animals and students.

She initiated educational innovations in the veterinary technology classroom including the development and implementation of one of the first American Veterinary Medical Association accredited Veterinary Technology Online programs in the US. She received a student award as Faculty of the Year.

Terri volunteered with the P.A.L. (People Animals Love) program of Washington D.C. and taught animal care classes to prison inmates. The program goal was providing skills needed for employment after inmates left incarceration. She volunteered with Fairfax Pets on Wheels (FPOW) assisting with the administration of the programs, co-coordinating volunteers, pet visits to nursing homes and received the “Mary Latshaw” award for her work at FPOW.

Dr. Champney is a co-founder of Dominion Equine Welfare (formerly Virginia Equine Welfare Group), a 501c3 organization devoted to the humane care of horses. She authored a paper/presentation, “Turning the Table” for the 2013 International Equine Conference, Lexington, Kentucky.

When Dr. Champney was eight years old Tubby her first equine “mentor” taught her to ride among many other valuable lessons. Since then she has been involved with different breeds and activities.

Dr. Champney has used her teaching, curriculum development and online course development experience to create the Equine Experiential Learning Initiative.

Dr. Terri Champney
Dr. Champney & Dicha