The Equine Welfare Committee (EWC) of the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) was honored as the 2014 recipient of the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pegasus Awards Dinner on Friday, January 16, 2015, during the Federation's Annual Meeting in Lexington Kentucky.
The Humanitarian Award is a celebration of the humanitarian achievements made by an individual or a group of individuals in the equestrian world. From improving the health and welfare of the horse to promoting and expanding the general public's appreciation and respect of the diverse roles of horses, the recipient of this award has devoted considerable time to making the lives and quality of life of our equine partners paramount.
Chrystine Tauber, USEF President, and Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President, presented the award to the EWC in recognition of its diligent work to ensure a safe and prosperous future for the American Saddlebred. Its work has included sponsoring grants, developing policies and procedures for handling at-risk horses and working with legal entities in seizures. The committee advises on rule changes affecting the breed as well as educates the public regarding the rich traditions behind the first breed to form a registry in the United States.
"The EWC has been an unheralded and tireless group of volunteers for many years," said Coakley, "serving as a clearinghouse to handle rescue situations". The EWC created the "My Meadows" program allowing previous owners of horses to recover them if they are in need of assistance and provide them with forever homes. Additionally, the EWC is working to set policy within the ASHA and the American Saddlebred Registry so that horses that have been separated from their papers and subsequently seized, adopted through a rescue, or sent to auction, can be identified and have their papers returned to them.
Tauber said, "The EWC has been proactive in the humane treatment of the Saddlebred breed." The EWC has established a new program, 'Operation Identification', which identifies horses that could be in danger and facilitates access to local professionals to evaluate horses for appropriate placement. Self-funded, the EWC awards its Bruce Hanson Grant to deserving, non-profit rescues that work with Saddlebreds. In addition to the recognition of winning this prestigious award, the EWC will receive a $5,000 grant from the EQUUS Foundation for the Bruce Hanson Grant program.
In accepting the award on behalf of the ASHA EWC, Dunn-Jacobsen stated, "Winston Churchill once wrote that 'there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.' Too often we forget that in pursuit of a blue ribbon. While the Equine Welfare Committee is honored to receive this award, we are looking forward to the standards and processes that we hope to forge not only for our breed, but for the industry in safeguarding the welfare of every Saddlebred."
Learn more about the Humanitarian Award here.