More Than 170 Equine Rescue Groups Will Compete to Help At-Risk Horses on ASPCA Help a Horse Day

ASPCA #HelpAHorse contest will award $100,000 in grant prizes to equine organizations across the country
April 11, 2017

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the participants in its fourth annual ASPCA Help a Horse Day grants contest. The nationwide competition of equine rescues and sanctuaries is designed to raise awareness about the year-round lifesaving work they do to care for at-risk horses who’ve been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless. This year, 173 groups will be hosting events across 38 states during the weekend of April 21-26 as they compete to win a grand prize of $25,000.

“The goal of ASPCA Help a Horse Day is to shine a light on the incredible work equine rescues and sanctuaries do to care for horses who have been abused or neglected to give them a new lease on life as they look for new homes,” said B.J. Rogers, vice president of ASPCA ProLearning. “Each year, we are continually impressed by the innovative ideas that rescues come up with to engage their local communities on Help a Horse Day and we are honored to help support these efforts to help maximize exposure for the many wonderful horses available for adoption at rescues across the country.”

Participating rescue groups will be judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their ability to engage their local communities to assist their efforts to protect horses. Scheduled activities include open houses, education and volunteer programs, spring festivals, scavenger hunts and other fun-filled events. 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, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants.

To coincide with Help a Horse Day on April 26, the ASPCA will be partnering with the leaders of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus (CAPC), the Humane Society of the U.S., and Animal Welfare Institute to host a briefing on Capitol Hill in support of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), the SAFE Act would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and prohibit the transportation of horses to other countries for that purpose. According to research, 80 percent of American voters support a ban on the grisly, inhumane slaughter of horses for human consumption, but more than 100,000 American horses are still being shipped to Canada and Mexico each year to be slaughtered for their meat.

“The ASPCA is working with Congress to pass the SAFE Act to permanently ban the unnecessary and cruel practice of horse slaughter, but we could not do this work without the support of rescues and sanctuaries around the country who step in to provide these horses with an alternative to slaughter,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA is proud to recognize these everyday heroes on Help a Horse Day and we encourage community members to go out and support their local rescues who work tirelessly to care for horses in need.”

Last year, the ASPCA Equine Fund awarded over $1 million in grants to support 171 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grant money supported several areas of equine welfare including large-scale rehabilitation, emergency relief grants, safety net programs, and the Rescuing Racers Initiative, which aids in the rescue and rehabilitation of retired racehorses to save them from slaughter.

For more information about ASPCA Help a Horse Day or to see if there is an event near you, please visit