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Appalachian Trail Hikers Part Company to Visit Two Equine Charities

WESTPORT, CT - August 21, 2014 - Lauren Davis and Nate Kramer, the two hikers who are Hoofin' It for Horse and Healing, parted company for a short while to visit two equine charities, Green Chimneys based in Brewster, New York, and Blackhorse4Heroes based in Bethany, Connecticut.

Lauren Davis visits Green Chimneys
Green Chimney students with their teachers and aides pause from their trail ride for photos. Standing between the horses, from left to right, Dr. Samuel B. Ross, Jr., Lauren Davis holding Demon, Michael Kaufmann, and Lynn Coakley.

Human-Animal Interaction at its best at Green Chimneys!

"I was thrilled at the opportunity to meet Lauren in person for the first time at Green Chimneys, one of the charities that was the inspiration for founding the EQUUS Foundation and a charter grant recipient," said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. Founded in 1947 by Dr. Samuel B. "Rollo" Ross, Jr., and headquartered on a farm and wildlife center, Green Chimneys is recognized as an innovator in animal-assisted therapy and nature-based education, therapy and recreation.

Green Chimneys School, a New York State 853 school, is designed for students who have been unsuccessful in a traditional educational setting and who require a highly structured and supportive program. Its Residential Treatment Center (RTC) provides intensive structure and support to emotionally fragile boys and girls in grades K-12. Green Chimneys also operates a psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) for boys licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Lauren Davis visits Green Chimneys

The Equine Education program comprised of equine-facilitated learning, therapeutic riding, vocational training in the barn, equine sport, a small driving program, vaulting, and equine massage, is just one of Green Chimneys' unique nature-based "Green Care" progams. Other programs include Farm Animal Education, a Dog Interaction program, Horticulture, and Wildlife Education.

"As we toured the grounds with Michael Kaufmann, Director of the Farm & Wildlife Center, we passed by an Andean condor, Griffon vulture, numerous hawks, falcons, and owls, ducks, snakes, goats, sheep, pigs, cows, and even two Bactrian Camels," said Lauren. The center is home to over 300 farm animals, permanently injured or imprinted wildlife and horses, and is licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The main purpose for each animal's presence is to thrive in the care they receive at Green Chimneys and play a supportive role in educational and animal-assisted therapy for children with special needs.

Green Chimneys also serves the public with its Boni-Bel Organic Farm, Wildlife Tours and programs like its Clearpool Campus, a premier outdoor education center and recreation facility for learning and discovery and its Nature's Nursery, which offers early education and school age programs for the local community. "They do it all. It's incredibly impressive," said Lauren. Learn more about Green Chimneys HERE.


Equine Training for Veterans at Blackhorse4Heroes!

"When we first discussed the Hoofin' It for Horse and Healing Adventure, Nate said that he wanted to visit a facility where veterans benefited from the magic and power of horses," said Coakley. "Easy, I said, I want to take you to visit Blackhorse4Heroes when you pass by Connecticut."

After his service in the military, Blackhorse4Heroes Founder Brad Bertele turned his passion for horseback riding and driving into a service to help disabled veterans re-open doors closed by emotional numbness and an inability to connect with friends and family after returning from service.

Nate Kramer visits Blackhorse4Heroes
Nate Kramer in Hoofin' It Blue T-Shirt standing in center next to Brad Bertele in the carriage with veterans and volunteers at a training session.

"Horses don't have agendas," said Bertele. "They don't care where you live or where you come from. As prey animals, they rely on their senses for survival. So when they trust you, they mean it!"

One of the core facets of the veteran experience is the inability to communicate with once familiar people, places and things. Appropriate responses required in combat are often inappropriate in a non-combat environment but not easily unlearned; likewise, a horse may react adversely to even a simple task such as grooming if approached inappropriately.

Nate Kramer visits Blackhorse4Heroes

Working with horses helps veterans re-learn appropriate social interaction skills and build confidence to re-connect with family and friends. Visit Blackhorse4Heroes HERE and learn more at their annual fundraiser on September 28. 2014.

Nate Kramer visits Blackhorse4Heroes

$7,800 Already Raised!  Lauren and Nate's goal is to raise $25,000 to essential funding to reduce the unwanted horse population, retrain horses for multiple careers, and make equine therapy available to more people.

133 Days on the Trail!  Lauren and Nathan set out on their journey of a lifetime on April 9 to hike the Appalachian Trail to make a positive impact on their lives and to contribute to their passion - the welfare of horses and their powerful bond with people. Lauren and Nathan are using their own funds and resources to support themselves along the trail. EQUUS Foundation Corporate Partner Ariat International provided the hikers with needed attire.

The donor levels match important landmarks on the Appalachian Trail. When a landmark is reached, the donor will receive:

  •  Harpers Ferry, WV: a photo of gratitude in front of Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the "psychological" half-way point
  •  Gardners, PA: a photo of gratitude at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Gardners, PA engaging in the 1/2 gallon ice cream challenge
  •  Mount Washington, NH: a photo of gratitude at the peak of Mount Washington, NH, a location labeled as having the "worst weather in the world"
  •  Mount Katahdin, ME: a photo of gratitude at the peak of Mount Katahdin, ME, the original through-hike finish line (should you choose, photo can also include your name, logo, or message)
  •  IAT Cap-des-Rosiers, QC, Canada: a photo of gratitude in front of the Imperial Lighthouse (Cap-des-Rosiers) in Gaspe, Canada, a very rare through-hike finish line (should you choose, photo can also include your name, logo, or message)
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: equus@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.