EQUUS Foundation in the news
April 17, 2015

Ariat's Champions - Creating Extended Families

"Having rarely won anything, I am beyond excited to be recognized for volunteering, and I can now retire my hand-me-down rubber riding boots!" said Patty Shaw. Patty is one of the five equine service volunteers receiving Ariat boots in appreciation of their volunteer service on behalf of horses.

The thanks for encouraging volunteerism goes to Ariat International, the sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions program.

Katelyn Boisvert
Stable Influence Charity Programs
Phoenix, Arizona
Katelyn Boisvert

Kaitlyn Boisvert with Lulu.

"Horses have been my passion since I was a little girl," said Katelyn. When she was a freshman in high school, she responded to an ad on the "volunteers needed" bulletin board for Stable Influence Charity Programs.

She eagerly signed up for the opportunity to blend that with horses and has been volunteering weekly for the past three years.

Katelyn does many jobs including training games, exercising with the horses, grooming, tacking up, cleaning stalls, serving as a sidewalker, backrider and leader, writing session notes, and interacting directly with clients on horsemanship skills and treatment activities. She also helps with fundraising by putting together gift baskets for their annual silent auction.

"It is very rewarding to see the enjoyment and progress of the children and adults with physical, mental, and emotional challenges who are being served by Stable Influence."

Working with the horses inspired Katelyn to begin hunter/jumper lessons. She is now a member of the Crossroads East Valley IEA team. "My volunteer experience has allowed me to grow as a person and equestrian, as well as expand my understanding of the nature of horses."

Madison Hebert
TRAX Equestrian Center
Riverside, CA
Madison Hebert

Madison Hebert

Madison has been volunteering at TRAX Equestrian Center for about a year now. "It's an amazing place for both horses and people."

Overseen by licensed speech pathologists and occupational therapists, TRAX coordinates physical and emotional therapy into a one-of-a-kind experience.

The excitement of mastering new skills, caring for the horse, and interacting with the other riders, volunteers and staff are all vital components of the TRAX program.

"I've seen the benefits of their transformative therapy first-hand."

Later in life, Madison says she would like to become a voice actor, interpreter, author, artist, and major in Media Arts in college." As of now, I am studying Japanese, and would like to interpret Japanese-English and as many other languages as I can."


CHAMPIONS is the EQUUS Foundation's incentive-based equine service volunteer program sponsored by Ariat International to recognize and reward individuals and organizations on the Equine Welfare Network.

It's easy to become a CHAMPION, an individual must log a minimum of 24 volunteer hours from January 1st to December 31st. The volunteer hours will be verified by the organization and the EQUUS Foundation.

Timothy Potts
Free Rein Therapeutic Riding
Spokane, Washington
Timothy Potts

Timothy Potts and Bally

Tim Potts, a fifty-nine year old who works full time as a custodian at Franklin Elementary in Spokane, Washington, is blessed with a daughter (25) in nursing school and a grand daughter (23 months) in whom he hopes to instill the love of horses.

"I've always wanted to be involved with horses, but it wasn't until I discovered Free Rein that I began to realize that dream." Tim finds the time to volunteer about ten hours a week and has begun taking riding lessons himself. "Someday, I hope to have my own horse and also get one for my grand daughter".

Tim's dedication has not gone unnoticed. He is receiving the Governor's Volunteer Service Award on April 21, 2015, one of just 12 being honored by the state of Washington. "I cherish my time at Free Rein. I've grown quite fond of the students I work with, and the horses frequently provide a sane interlude in what often seems a crazy work week."

Patty Shaw
Riding to the Top
Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT)

Windham, Maine
Patty Shaw

Patty Shaw with Luke and Austin

"To have the opportunity to do something you love is life-changing. To be thanked and appreciated for that is even better!" said Patty on learning that she was one of the five winners this quarter.

She became involved when her teenage daughter wanted to volunteer but needed "Mom" to transport her to and from the center. Ten years (and two hip replacements) later, Patty is still at RTT, spending the majority of her volunteer time horse leading or side-walking in therapeutic riding lessons.

RTT encouraged her to dust off her riding skills, dormant for 30+ years. Patty now serves on RTT's Volunteer Schooling Team. "Not only did riding help in my own recovery after the hip replacements, but this chance to work with the horses has shown me just how remarkable a good therapy horse is! You can see this in the smiles on the students' faces and the improvements in their strength and skills. Amazing!"

Annika Yappert
Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC)
Longmont, Colorado
JAnnika Yappert

Annika Yappert with Mia

Annika began riding at three years old and owns two horses - a ten-year old appendix named Shadow and a nine-year old holsteiner named Mia. While Shadow spends his days as a pasture pony, Mia and Annika compete in the jumper division.

Annika started volunteering at CTRC two and a half years ago. "I love it! The horses are incredible and the positive effects they have on their riders are amazing to watch. It's a very fulfilling experience to be part of and I recommend it if you have the chance!"


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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