The Wellington-based Equestrian Aid Foundation is celebrating its 20th year of assisting individuals from all riding disciplines and equine professions coping with catastrophic injury or illness.
The foundation was founded by six-time Olympic dressage rider Robert Dover, together with R. Scot Evans, Gene Mische, Mason Phelps Jr., Robert Ross and Kim Tudor. Initially, the organization focused on providing financial support to those battling HIV/AIDS. The foundation later broadened its mission to provide needs-based assistance for living and rehabilitation expenses to any equestrian who is suffering from a severe illness or injury.
“The Equestrian Aid Foundation has made a difference in the lives of so many,” Foundation President Stephanie Bulger said. “This milestone celebrates all of those who share our mission.”
The Equestrian Aid Foundation has provided more than $2.5 million in direct grant support to recipients in 30 states. As the foundation’s reputation expands nationally, it has hired its first executive director, Louise Smith.
“As a dressage rider and farm owner, I understand how quickly life can change for people involved with horses,” Smith said. “When equestrians become seriously hurt or ill, they sometimes risk losing everything.”
Steven Castillo was a leading dressage trainer and judge when he was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
“After discovering the Equestrian Aid Foundation, my life truly changed,” Castillo said. “The fear of not being about to put food on the table or pay medical expenses was wiped away.”
Linda Andrisani, a hunter judge was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to work for a time.
“The Equestrian Aid Foundation helped to provide a sense of security that created hope in spite of life’s circumstances,” she said.
For more information about the Equestrian Aid Foundation, visit www.equestrianaidfoundation.org.