Today, on Giving Tuesday, we pause to contribute to
charitable organizations that are meaningful to us. Keeping these groups in
mind is important year-round, of course, but today is set apart on the
calendar-right after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday-as
a reminder to donate during this giving season.
Every person's heart is pulled a different way
for their giving-as I said in my presentation to an equine studies capstone
class at the University of Kentucky a few weeks ago, if everyone's heart was
bent toward one cause alone, we'd live in a boring one-dimensional place.
If you’re looking for a
place to make an impact, here are some options I’ve visited or worked with. Some
are local to me here in Central Kentucky, while others are international
organizations whose work I have seen in person at their facilities. And here are some others I’ve highlighted in the past.
Riding for Hope is a multifaceted program dedicated to enriching the community by
improving the quality of life and the health of children and adults with
special physical, cognitive, emotional. and social needs through therapeutic
activities with the horse. http://www.ckrh.org/
The Donkey Sanctuary exists
to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules, and people worldwide
through greater understanding, collaboration, and support, and by promoting
lasting, mutually life-enhancing relationships. I visited their facility near
Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, a few years ago, and Erica, our news editor, visited
their facility in Sidmouth, England, in 2014 and wrote her award-winning Tale
of Two Donkeys longform feature. https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/
Friends of the Lexington Mounted Police Inc. supports the horses and officers of the Lexington, Kentucky, mounted police unit and their outreach to mounted officers throughout North America with an annual National Mounted Police Colloquium. The Lexington mounted unit also offers a Civilian Equine Sensory Clinic where officers teach civilian horse/rider pairs the same techniques they use to help police horses adapt to the conditions of urban work. Happy and I participated in this clinic in October. Shawna, our brand manager, and I have volunteered and taught riding lessons to the officers on the unit. They are actually looking for a couple of new horses to add to the unit at the moment.
Stephanie and “Happy” (second from left) and The Horse Brand Manager, Shawna and her horse “Chunder” (far right) with the mounted police at the 2016 Masterson Equestrian Trust (MET) Hunter Pace.
Photo: Stephanie L. Church/TheHorse.com
Humane Center's horses and other equids in need come to them from a variety
of backgrounds. Some are surrendered by their owners and others have been
rescued from abuse and neglect. Once healed and (re)schooled they are made
available for adoption. The Horse
team has spent a day volunteering at their facility in the past, and it's a
well-run place with equids of all breeds, shapes, and sizes. http://www.kyehc.org/home.html
Secretariat Center is a premier reschooling
facility showcasing adoptable Thoroughbreds, and horses emerge from the program
to become ambassadors for racehorses in new careers. I had my eye on a horse at
the Secretariat Center before buying my off-track Thoroughbred privately from
his racing owner. This is a beautiful facility that does good work. http://www.secretariatcenter.org/
Trust (MET) Foundation supports
a lovely multipurpose equestrian-friendly municipal park-Masterson Station Park,
here in Lexington. It offers free access to all horse enthusiasts, regardless
of discipline or experience level. The goal of MET is to ensure that this
beautiful facility remains a valuable asset to the equestrian community. http://mastersonequestrian.org/
New Vocations Racehorse
Adoption Program offers retiring
racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through
placement in experienced, caring homes. Their new Lexington-based farm
is just a few minutes from where I live and they are doing great things there.
Happy and I have also participated in their all-Thoroughbred show. http://www.horseadoption.com/
Old Friends provides a dignified retirement to Thoroughbreds
whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end. The operators use
education and tourism to promote these
one-time celebrated horses and hope to raise awareness of all equids in
that a life of work should never mean a life of suffering, and their mission is
to improve the welfare of working animals in the world’s poorest communities. I
visited their facility on the ground in Debre Zeit in 2013. https://spana.org/
Who do you support on Giving Tuesday?