Wellington Horse Lovers Turn Out for First #RideForHorses Rally

Above: L-R: Kate Bomgaars, Upper Echelon Academy, Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation Founder & President, EQUUStar Clementine Goutal, Upper Echelon Academy, Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP Communications & Special Projects, and Harlan Zeerzip, Upper Echelon Academy Photo by Barbara Bower – www.BarbarasVisions.com


Hundreds of visitors from famous riders and equestrians competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival to local horse lovers of all ages took part in the first ever #RideForHorses Rally sponsored by Upper Echelon Academy (UEA) to benefit the EQUUS Foundation on January 15th at Cloverleaf Farm in Wellington, Florida.

#RideForHorses is the nationwide effort of the EQUUS Foundation to inspire and engage everyone who cares about horses to help ensure the welfare of all of America’s horses. “Our vision is that every horse lover across the United States will join and Be A Star for America’s Horses,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “Our immediate goal is for every competitor at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington to join. All it takes is $25 to be a horse protector.”

“The #RideForHorses Rally, sponsored by the Upper Echelon Academy to raise funds and awareness for the EQUUS Foundation, was an event that bridged two ventures incredibly important to me. As an EQUUStar, I am intrinsically devoted to the welfare of horses and my responsibility to defend and protect them. My career with UEA denotes the great importance I place on education, which I believe incorporates academics among other forms of enrichment. By exposing our students to a worthy cause, this rally helped us inspire them to get involved in philanthropic pursuits, and, we believe this enhances their development,” said Clementine Goutal. 

EQUUStars Brianne Goutal, Georgina Bloomberg and Hayley Barnhill joined EQUUStar Clementine Goutal, UEA Founder and President, to rally support of the EQUUS Foundation’s mission to protect America’s horses and strengthen the bond between horses and people. 

EQUUStar Hayley Barnhill with ERAF volunteers and adoptable horses
Photo by Barbara Bower – www.BarbarasVisions.com

The highlight was the “Meet & Mingle” with adoptable horses, including minis, from EQUUS Foundation Guardian charity, Equine Rescue and Adoption (ERAF) of Palm City, Florida. EQUUS Foundation Guardians are equine charities that operate at the highest standards of horse care and demonstrate a commitment to public transparency by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their programs, horse care practices, and governance. 

A Young Visitor Meeting Peeps the Mini Horse Mascot from the Peeps Foundation Photo by Barbara Bower – www.BarbarasVisions.com

“ERAF is so grateful to the EQUUS Foundation for all the support it gives to horse rescues such as ours and we thank UEA and its students, Cloverleaf Farm and the Wellington equestrian community for caring about the work that we do to rescue neglected and abandoned horses,” said Barbara Alesi, ERAF Board member and Secretary.

“Our sweet mini horses, Cody and Charlie, our pony, Calvin, and our beautiful paint, Lakota, got all dressed up in their ribbons, bows and sparkling nail paint for the occasion and loved meeting the visitors who came to greet them!”, continued Alesi. “We were thrilled that Cody and Charlie who were rescued together were adopted at the Rally and will have a forever home together at Buxton Farm in Brewster, New York.” 

The Rally also featured carnival games and activities for kids, including a bouncy obstacle course, a magician, airbrush tattoos, and a dunk tank, along with snow cones and other snacks. Peeps, the tiny mini horse mascot of the Peeps Foundation, famous for her died pink hair tips and sassy attitude, and her goat friend also made the rounds enchanting visitors. 

UEA students volunteered in key positions before and during the event in roles that included posting on social media to promote attendance, greeting visitors, carnival ticket sales, and encouraging visitors to join the #RideForHorses campaign. 

View fun photos here

“We were overjoyed to have the opportunity to showcase wonderful horses in search of their next chapter at this Rally,” said Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP Communications. It was the perfect event to promote the #RideForHorses campaign.” 

“Imagine if everyone across the country who cares about horses joined our #RideForHorses Campaign and encouraged their friends to do the same! We could ensure that America’s at-risk horses could be safe, and live in comfort and with purpose and dignity,” continued Angeli. 

“Let it start with you! Members receive the exclusive #EQUUStar Bar pin worn by our EQUUStars in competition and are featured as horse protectors on our website with their favorite photos. All it takes is a $25 donation here to become a horse protector and make a difference!” 

“Stay tuned! We will be having more successful #RideForHorses Rallies during the year that mix joy and fun with helping horses,” said Angeli. “Horses make us happy – we need to do the same for them!”  

Join the #RideForHorses Campaign here