ASPCA Awards $50,000 to Winners of 'Help a Horse Day' Contest

Seven equine rescues receive grants to recognize their efforts to protect horses
June 18, 2015

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today revealed the seven winners of the 2015 ASPCA Help a Horse Day contest, a nationwide grant competition for equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the year-round work they do to save and care for at-risk horses. The three grand prize winners received $10,000 each, while the runners up were awarded $5,000 to support their ongoing efforts to protect horses. The winning groups include:

$10,000 Grand Prize Winners:

  • All About Equine Animal Rescue, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
  • Horses of Tir Na Nog, San Diego, Calif.
  • The Pegasus Project, Ben Wheeler, TX

$5,000 Prize Winners:

  • Freedom Hill Horse Rescue, Owings, Md.
  • Horse Haven of Tennessee Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network (LEARN), Meggett, S.C.
  • RVR Horse Rescue Inc., Riverview, Fla.

“In only its second year, the ASPCA Help a Horse Day celebration has grown to include even more groups, and we are thrilled to see the energy and effort that went into engaging their communities and spreading their message about how to protect horses,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “The winning rescue groups embody the spirit and hope behind ASPCA Help a Horse Day and we are pleased to award them these grants to help pay for the vital services they provide every day of the year.”

More than 100 equine rescue groups held events across 33 states during the weekend of April 24-26, and the winners were selected based on the creativity of their events, as well as their success engaging their local communities. This year’s winning events included a Ponypalooza event for families with games and prizes, which also featured members of the U.S. Air Force and local Boy Scout troops engaging in a shelter construction project; a family carnival with pony rides and a “Muggin’ with the Mule” photo booth; the creation of a Help a Horse Posse and Sponsorship program that allowed community members to sponsor horses; and Dancing for the Horses, which paired local celebrities with professional dancers to compete in honor of a rescued horse. One group even hosted an aviation festival in keeping with their theme of giving rescue horses their wings.  Participating rescues also worked to recruit new volunteers, expand their support base, collect donated supplies, and find homes for adoptable horses.

ASPCA Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, which includes supporting equine welfare legislation, public advocacy, professional development, horse rescue, and targeted grants.

In addition to the grants contest, the ASPCA also launched a petition on, which has generated over 24,000 signatures, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter. Each year, approximately 150,000 American horses are purchased and trucked to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. The vast majority of these horses (92 percent, according to the USDA) are in good physical condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes. Horse slaughter is especially inhumane because horses, skittish by nature, are extremely difficult to render unconscious before slaughter.

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to protect horses, please visit