‘Tis the Season: 10 Equestrian Charities to Support this Holiday

By Meghan Blackburn

At a loss for (very) last minute Christmas ideas? Why not donate in your friend, trainer, or loved one’s name to one of the following charities that help the equine world go ‘round.

  1. Red Bucket Equine Rescue

Help this Chino Hills, California-based rescue pay off their mortgages by the end of the year! The Red Bucket Ranch is committed to saving and serving slaughter-bound, abused, high-risk and desperate horses. They finally found a forever home on a “ranch that the horses own” in 2012—a first major step in creating a long-term future for the horses, and the promise of a sustainable model to ensure that their good work would continue, and that many more horses would be provided a second chance.

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  1. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

While not technically an equestrian charity, as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) raises money for childhood cancer research, the story of ALSF had an amazing link with the equine industry in 2005. The foundation emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. She passed away 8 days after her foundation raised $1 million—a goal she had set. Later that year, Chuck Zacney, owner of star racehorse Afleet Alex, heard Alex’s story and pledged to donate a portion of the colt’s winnings to the foundation. Afleet Alex would go on to win the 2005 Preakness Stakes (in dramatic fashion), as well as the third jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. Watch the touching video of that story, which ran this Preakness Stakes on NBC Sports.

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Don’t miss the heartwarming story behind Alex’s cause. Photo courtesy of AlexsLemonade.org.
  1. Saratoga War Horse

Saratoga WarHorse assists veterans who are suffering from invisible, psychological wounds by providing a confidential, peer-to-peer, action based, equine-assisted experience that initiates immediate and empowering changes.

  1. Just World International

JustWorld International is devoted to breaking the cycle of poverty by funding local partners around the world helping children thrive. Founded by equestrian Jessica Newman, many members of the horse sports community have taken on ambassadorships, and Jump for JustWorld is one of the ways the organization educates the public.

  1. USET Foundation

Support the future success of the United States Equestrian Teams by giving to the USET Foundation. What does the foundation do? It helps provide funding for the High Performance competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s developing (and team hopeful) athletes and horses.

  1. CANTER

CANTER is dedicated to providing new homes for Thoroughbred racehorses that are non-competitive or injured on the track, giving them opportunities to find new careers and new homes. Nationally, more than 20,000 Thoroughbreds have transitioned through CANTER and are now competing in new careers such as hunter-jumper, eventer, cross country, polo, in dressage and enjoying the pleasure of trail rides.

  1. Compton Junior Posse

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For over 20 years, the Compton Jr. Posse has given inner city kids hope by teaming them with horses. Through these equestrian activities, youth develop responsibility, discipline and self-esteem. Students learn to set and achieve both academic and career goals. In 2015, they were able to provide service to over 1500 inner-city youth, and they have now have 20 CJP students attending college across the country, who they are assisting financially. Horses create miracles in the lives of youth who are at daily risk of falling prey to the negative influences in their communities, and CJP is making a difference with your help. Your yearly donation of $10 per month feeds one horse for a month, $25 per month provides safety equipment and uniforms for one youth, $100 per month helps a CJP student with college expenses, and a $500 per month would send 15 youths to their summer camp.

  1. PATH International

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International was formed in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. With more than 4,600 certified instructors and equine specialists and 866 member centers, more than 7,600 PATH Intl. members around the globe help nearly 62,000 children and adults—including nearly 4,000 veterans and active-duty military personnel—with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse each year.

  1. AAEP Foundation

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry. The foundation’s work includes education and research, the Equine Disease Communication Center, and disaster relief efforts, among much more.

  1. Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption

A recipient of a 2015 Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) Award of Merit, Bowman Second Chance Thoroughbred Adoption offers rehab and rehoming services to OTTBs. Operated by Dr. Richard Bowman, BSCTA (based in Rhame, North Dakota) was founded in 1993 to give retired race horses a safe-haven, with hopes that the healthy and sound ones would be adopted and start a new career. Bowman, who works as a state vet, takes many horses from Canterbury Park and Racecourse.

"Bam," adopted from BSCTA by Gunner (shown) and Melanie LaCour, enjoys life as a trail and "husband" horse after a race career.
“Bam,” adopted from BSCTA by Gunner (shown) and Melanie LaCour, enjoys life as a trail and “husband” horse after a race career.