FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 21, 2016
Contact: Lynn Coakley, mail@equusfoundation.org, 203-259-1550
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EQUUS Foundation's Champions - Equestrians That Serve

Each quarter, five volunteers participating in the EQUUS Foundation Champions program sponsored by Ariat International are randomly selected to receive Ariat boots. "It's a small token of our appreciation for the essential work performed by volunteers at equine charities across the United States," said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

One of the five for the quarter ending September 30th was Grace Hetherington who volunteers for not one but several equine organizations through Equestrians That Serve based in Arlington, Virginia.

Hetherington
Grace Hetherington & Elisco de Beaufour

A freshman at Langley High School in Mclean, Virginia, Grace started riding horses when she was nine years old and is now competing in the High Children's jumpers. In learning that she would be recognized for her volunteer service, she said, "By volunteering, I am able to share my love of horses with others and help educate them about horses."

Grace belongs to the Difficult Run Pony Club where she has helped organize Girl Scout events, volunteered at Great Meadows events and helped to maintain the cross country jumps at Frying Pan Park. She currently serves on the Junior Committee of the Washington International Horse Show where she hopes to someday compete. She helps disabled riders at Lift Me Up and also takes care of foals in the ICU at the Virginia Tech Marion DuPont Scott Equine Center.

Bridget Rogers
Illinois Horse Rescue of Will County
Peotone, Illinois

Rogers
Bridget Rogers & Shane


Bridget Rogers has been volunteering at the Illinois Horse Rescue of Will County for just over four years. She's an EMT during the week, but spends her days off "healing both the body and the spirits of neglected and abused animals. It is one of the toughest but most rewarding things I have ever done," said Bridget.

Bridget started volunteering to fulfill community service hours for the Purdue Calumet Equestrian team. After one Saturday volunteering, she said she knew this was where she belonged. Bridget said, "The rescue not only helps horses, it provides opportunities for at-risk youth, veterans, and the disabled to benefit from the healing power of horses. I have gained friends (human and animal), knowledge, understanding, patience, and so much more."

"I have been riding my entire life, but the rescue took my passion and love for horses above and beyond anything I ever thought possible. The rescue has given me a chance to be a voice for abused animals. It reminds me every day that miracles still happen, and gives me the opportunity to be a part of the miracle!"

Yana Hills
RideAbility Therapeutic Riding Center
Clover, South Carolina

Hills
Yana Hills & Shadow




Twenty-year old Yana Hills arrived from the Ukraine 10 years ago. Yana was initially drawn to RideAbility because her own ten brothers and sisters revealed a variety of special needs. "The moment I stepped foot at the center I knew right then what I wanted to do," said Hills.

"I get to witness firsthand how these beautiful horses help people overcome obstacles and to absolutely flourish," said Hills. Hills also loves teaching new volunteers and and serving as a Special Olympics Equestrian coach.

"Caring for and loving the horses is such a privilege. It is my hope that one day in the near future I will get my certification to be a therapeutic riding instructor."

Roberta De Fiore
Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc.
Middletown, Connecticut

De Fiore
Roberta De Fiore & Gaia

For almost six years, Roberta De Fiore has been volunteering as a sidewalker and leader for Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center. Along with the great work that the center does for riders, including a Horses for Heroes program for veterans, it also offers a wonderful experience and education for volunteers, including classes in natural horsemanship and hands on teaching in horse care.

Roberta said, "I feel fortunate to be part of their program, to have gained all my horse experience, and to have gotten to experience the generous, giving spirit of horses."

When Roberta is not at Manes & Motions, she works as classical singer and teaches private voice and piano lessons. She is also a church music director and serves on the board of the Meriden Arts Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring priority to music education in schools and in communities.

Stephanie Brake
Parkwood Farms Therapy Center
Snellville, Georgia

Brake
Stephanie Brake & Monty

Stephanie Brake started riding horses when she was seven years old, began showing a few years later, and competed on the Auburn University Equestrian Team. After college, life presented new challenges for Stephanie leaving few opportunities for her to be around horses.

Fast forward to 2014, when a friend of Stephanie's told her about Parkwood and it piqued her curiosity. "I showed up for an orientation in September 2014, and the rest is history. I just fell in love with this farm, the horses, the riders, the volunteers.... all of it," said Stephanie. Before long she started scheduling the weekly volunteers, helping out with the bookkeeping, and has served for two years as the volunteer chair of the Special Olympics Management team.

"I will continue to serve in whatever capacity I am needed. The connection between our riders and their horses is special, and I am humbled to witness and be a part of it."

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal. 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: www.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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