What We Do

How You Can Help
Home About Us Contact Us Login Individual Organization
America's Horses
Need Our Protection!

Photo Credits
Grants Transparency Awards Platinum Performance Awards Past Recipients Funding Guidelines
Programs Equine Welfare Network Champions Guardians Next Chapters Equine Education Network
Awards Equine Award Horse Stars Hall of Fame Horse Whisperers Humanitarian Award Klinger Award Research Fellowship

Donate Join Us Corporate Partners Alliance Members Athletes Equine Ambassadors EQUUStars Forever Farms #HorseProtectors (AKA #RideForHorses) Horse Show Partners Houses for Horses Winners Circle Events News Contact Us



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.


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. But, all horses, even champions of the racetrack and the show ring, may only be one unlucky sale away from abuse, neglect and slaughter.

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 accomplish our mission by raising awareness of the impact of horses in our lives and providing financial support, recognition, resources, guidance, and services to equine organizations that provide:
• Shelter for America's horses at risk for abuse, neglect, and slaughter;
• Rehabilitation, retraining and re-homing of America's horses in transition with careers as athletes, companions, teachers, and especially healers;
• Retirement opportunities for aged horses that ensure that they are able to live out their lives in comfort and receive a peaceful and humane end of life;
• Opportunities for horses to change people's lives, especially in the area of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) for people with special needs.

While we would like to think that all charities are successful in their missions, unfortunately, there is a great disparity in horse care practices among equine charities in the United States.

Equine charities seeking financial support from the EQUUS Foundation undergo a comprehensive and unique verification process to ensure donor confidence in the charities selected to receive financial support each year. Click here for more information on our funding guidelines.

Financial support is awarded based on the amount of funds raised by the EQUUS Foundation over the course of the year and the evaluation by the EQUUS Foundation of the needs of the organization, the merits of the organization's programs, services, and activities and the organization's operating budget.

Equine charities receiving financial support are fully transparent and accountable to the public and are operating at the highest standards of horse care.

In addition to funding, programs include:

Equine Welfare Network
The Equine Welfare Network consists of equine organizations united by their commitment to horse welfare that are primarily charitable organizations and in some instances, government agencies or entities that meet our eligibility requirements.

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.

Next Chapters
Next Chapters is an online platform to connect horse lovers directly with organizations that have horses that are ready for adoption and with organizations that are looking for program horses. Horse lovers who may not be looking to adopt or place horses also have the opportunity to make donations directly to the participating organizations.

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.


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.

#HorseProtectors AKA #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. All it takes is $25 to join our campaign and become a Horse Protector!

The EQUUS Foundation recognizes for-profit organizations and grant-making foundations as "Corporate Partners" for their help in promoting and funding the charitable efforts of the EQUUS Foundation on behalf of horse welfare.

Forever Farms are horse farms and equestrian facilities involved with sport and recreation that are dedicated to preserving open space for America's horses and safeguarding their comfort and dignity throughout their lives. Grants are awarded in the name of the Forever Farm in the year that the donation is received by the EQUUS Foundation.

The Horse Whisperers is our named grant program for a special group of people and organizations who are inspired by the magical and powerful impact horses have on our lives. Horse Whisperer grants may be named by the donors in honor of a family member, friend, associate, or in the memory of a loved one or a loved equine companion. A select group of charities are designated as Horse Whisperer Grant Recipients each year by the EQUUS Foundation Board of Directors.

Houses for Horses is our named grant program for a special group of horse property owners who designate a percentage of the sale of their properties to the EQUUS Foundation. Grants are awarded in the name of the property owners in the year that the donation is received by the EQUUS Foundation.

Horse properties come in all shapes and sizes - any percentage of the sale prices of horse properties provides much needed funding to protect America's horses and make the ability of horses to empower, teach and heal available to more people.

The EQUUS Foundation holds two major fundraising event annually - one in February during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida - and one in June at the Fairfield County Hunt Club Horse Show in Westport, Connecticut.

All donations, regardless of size, make a difference! Consider giving a gift of a donation to the EQUUS Foundation to your family, friends and associates!



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.

More About Us

Close X     
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.