About Us

For the Love of Horses

The EQUUS Foundation is the only national charity in the United States 100% dedicated to ensuring the welfare of America's horses and fostering the horse-human bond.

Our mission is to protect America's horses and strengthen the bond between horses and people.

At the core of our mission is safeguarding the comfort and dignity of America's horses throughout their lives and sharing their ability to empower, teach and heal with as many people as possible.

We focus on our efforts on:

EMPOWERING equine charities to operate at the highest standards for horse care and service and be
fully transparent by providing them with financial support, recognition, guidance, and resources;

INSPIRING horse lovers to become horse protectors by stimulating advocacy and volunteerism;

EDUCATING the public on the value of horses in our lives by sharing stories of their amazing
achievements and contributions.

America's Horses Need Our Protection

All horses, even champions of the racetrack and the show ring, are only one unlucky sale away from abuse, neglect and slaughter.

75,000 of America's horses were transported over the border for slaughter last year. Most were young, healthy, and had untapped potential. None deserved this inhumane end of life.

America's horses need homes where they can flourish as athletes, companions, teachers, and especially healers.

Horses Elevate Our Lives

Horses thrill us as athletes, grace our lives as companions, instill confidence and teamwork in equestrians of all ages and perform miracles for people with special needs.

Horses can dramatically improve the lives of people with special needs and allow them to live life as productively and independently as possible, yet equine activities and therapies are only available to a small percentage of people with special needs.

The EQUUS Foundation is committed to raising awareness among horse owners of the many opportunities available for horses after their competitive careers are over.

Our Vision

Horses are powerful teachers and healers — positively influencing not just our happiness but also our health.

Too many horses in this country need a life-line and opportunities to thrive.

We envision an America where:

• Horses are valued not only as athletes, but also
as teachers, companions, and healers;

• Horses transition from one chapter to the next without
risk of abuse, neglect and slaughter;

• Horses live in comfort and with dignity throughout their

• When the times comes, horses experience a peaceful
and humane end of life.

Board of Directors

The EQUUS Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors representing a cross-section of the equestrian community, including supporters, participants, and professionals.

Jenny Belknap Kees

Vice Chairman
Catherine Herman

Patricia Keenan
Richard Mitchell, DVM
Lynn Coakley

Jane Henderson

Anne Walker
Susan Weber

The Foundation operates without employees but retains outside service providers under the supervision of the Board of Directors.

The Federal Identification Number of the Foundation is 42-1547242 and is classifed by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 public charity. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

The EQUUS Foundation does business under the name Horse Charities of America. Information about Horse Charities of America and the EQUUS Foundation is available at two identical website addresses, equusfoundation.org and horsecharitiesofamerica.org.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management approved Horse Charities of America aka EQUUS Foundation for inclusion in the Combined Federal Campaign as a member of Animal Charities of America since 2009. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the annual workplace charity fund drive for federal employees, postal workers, and military personnel and is the largest and most successful workplace drive in the country. The CFC allows contributors to make gifts only to pre-approved "authorized" charities.

The EQUUS Foundation was awarded the "Best in America" seal by the Independent Charities of America in 2009. Of the 1,000,000 charities operating in the United States today, it is estimated that fewer than 50,000, or 5 percent, meet or exceed these standards, and, of those, fewer than 2,000 have been awarded this Seal.

In accordance with IRS regulations, the Foundation files the IRS Form 990 annually and is audited by the accounting firm of Sabel & Oplinger, CPA, PC.

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A Brief History

When her youngest daughter headed off to college, it also came time for the horses, who were dearly loved by EQUUS Foundation Founder, Lynn Coakley and her family, to transition to their next chapters.

While Coakley was fortunate to be able to provide their horses with a comfortable and safe environment where they could enjoy the remainder of their lives, in the process of exploring the options, she learned that many horses in transition find themselves at risk for abuse and neglect because their owners can no longer care for them.

What was most disturbing to learn is that thousands of horses are shipped over the border for slaughter each year – over 75,000 in 2017 - most were young, healthy and had untapped potential. Horse owners often bring their horses to local livestock auctions with the expectation that the horse will find a good home – unaware that middlemen who represent or sell to horse slaughter plants— called kill buyers—frequent these auctions.

This eye-opening milestone inspired Coakley to establish the EQUUS Foundation in 2002 to provide financial support to a handful of equine charities in Connecticut and New York.

The first grants were awarded in August 2003 to seven locally based charities from donations raised in association with the 2003 Fairfield County Hunt Club June Benefit Horse Show in Westport, Connecticut.

In 2008, the EQUUS Foundation transitioned from being all-volunteer to appointing the founder, Lynn Coakley, to the staff position of President. Since that time, the EQUUS Foundation has expanded its programs and now awards grants to charities across the United States.

What started locally has now become a nationwide effort to keep America's horses safe and to ensure that they have loving homes where they can thrive and have opportunities to share their unique abilities with people.

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