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America's Horses
Need Our Protection!



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, enable as many people as possible to benefit from the horse's unique ability to empower, teach, and heal, especially people with special needs, and educate the public on the importance of the horse-human bond in America today - a bond that has existed for centuries. We believe horses enrich the human body and spirit.


Helping Horses Healing People
The Foundation accomplishes its mission through

#RideForHorses is our campaign to inspire horse lovers to become horse protectors, and to educate the public on the importance of the horse-human bond in America today - a bond that has existed for centuries. We believe horses enrich the human body and spirit.

Whether you are a competing equestrian, a pleasure rider, or someone who loves horses — everyone can do something to ensure that America's horses live in comfort and with purpose and dignity.

Equine Welfare Network
The Equine Welfare Network brings together interested individuals with equestrian and horse-related organizations across America with the goal of building a support base of equine enthusiasts and advocates. The Equine Welfare Network consists of several components:

• Equine Charity Network: The Equine Charity Network consists of charitable organizations that are classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt non-profit organizations, and in some instances, government agencies or entities that meet our eligibility requirements. Only organizations designated as Alliance Members or Guardians are eligible to receive financial support (Grants) from the EQUUS Foundation.

Alliance Members organizations involved in the equine community whose activities and programs complement and enhance the mission of the EQUUS Foundation. The EQUUS Foundation Alliance offers a mechanism to address national areas of common interest in the equine community.

Guardians are organizations whose activities and programs are directly involved with providing shelter, rehabilitation, retraining, retirement, and/or re-homing of America's horses at risk for abuse, neglect, and slaughter and/or providing Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) to people with special needs that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their programs, horse care practices, and governance.

• Champions: Champions is our volunteer rewards program sponsored by Ariat International where volunteers receive recognition and rewards for their service. While our goal is to provide financial support to every worthy eligible organization, on the average, due to an overwhelming number of requests, less than half of the applicants receive grant awards. Almost all charities rely heavily on volunteers.

• Equine Education Network: The Equine Education Network is an online resource of educational institutions with equine studies programs, including veterinary schools. The purpose is to: 1) connect individuals interested in pursuing studies and/or careers in the equine industry to the educational institutions with the curricula they seek; and 2) direct individuals interested in collegiate riding programs to the collegiate riding programs at participating educational institutions.

The EQUUS Foundation recognizes excellence in the equine community through Veterinary Research Fellowships, the Humanitarian Award, and the Horse Stars Hall of Fame. The EQUUS Foundation also supports the PATH Intl. Equine of the Year Award and the Washington International Horse Show Klinger Award.

The core of the EQUUS Foundation mission is to provide financial support to equine organizations that are
• Fully transparent and accountable to the public;
• Operating at the highest standards of horse care; and
• Having the greatest impact.

The EQUUS Foundation funds programs that
• Shelter, rehabilitate, and retrain America's horses at risk for abuse, neglect, and slaughter, and re-home them with careers as athletes, companions, teachers, and especially healers.
• Provide opportunities for horses to change people's lives, especially in the area of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) for people with special needs.

Grant recipients must meet the grant making guidelines and eligibility criteria set by the Foundation. The merits of each grant request and the quality of the applicant organization, including its management and financial practices, are carefully evaluated.

The selection of the grant recipients by the Board of Directors is based on the amount of funds raised over the course of the year and a set of guidelines designed to ensure that the donations we receive have the greatest possible impact. Donors can rest assured that due diligence has been undertaken to ensure that their dollars are well spent.


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 EQUUS Foundation also 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.

Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law..


The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., was incorporated in the state of Connecticut and established as an IRS tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity in August 2002 so that the donations raised in association with the 2003 Fairfield County Hunt Club June Benefit Horse Show in Westport, Connecticut, could be awarded to several local horse charities instead of just one.

The first grants were awarded in August 2003 to seven locally based charities. In 2005, the Foundation sponsored another event, this time in Wellington, Florida, which allowed us to increase the number of grant awards.

In 2011, 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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The Foundation operates without employees but retains outside service providers under the supervision of the Board of Directors.

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. The Federal Identification Number of the Foundation is 42-1547242.


The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has 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.