Can You Make A Horse Smile? You Bet! Here's How...

by EQUUS Foundation

When Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk arrived at Beyond The Roses Equine Rescue (BTRE) in Emmett, MI, he was emaciated, sore and was diagnosed with severe arthritis in all of his ankles. The rescue found Nyuk, a 15-year-old ex-racehorse on Craiglist for $1 two years after his last race. Nyuk had competed in 80 races during his stakes winning career earning $813,953.

Through a partnership with Hagyard Equine Pharmacy, the EQUUS Foundation was able to provide joint supplements for Nyuk to receive some immediate comfort. BTRE is one of 135 equine charities across the United States recognized by the EQUUS Foundation as Messengers. What sets Messengers apart from other organizations is their commitment to public transparency and willingness to publish and share extensive data about their programs, horse care practices, and governance.

Messengers receive not only resources, but also financial support thanks to the donations of special individuals and organizations who recognize the magic and power of horses in our lives.

Nyuk is lucky. He will live out his life at BTRE as a sanctuary horse, but there are an estimated 200,000 unwanted horses in the United States. Unfortunately, many are slaughtered. Horses may not have nine lives like cats – but they certainly have more than one.

It costs at least $1,000 to rescue, rehabilitate, re-train and rehome one horse. Our challenge is to transition as many horses as possible to new careers especially as therapy animals. Of the 50 million people with disabilities, only 50,000 have access to equine therapy.

The EQUUS Foundation is committed to supporting equine organizations operating at the highest standards of horse care and use and to awarding funds where it is needed most. Thank you for making Nyuk smile!

When it comes to inspiring others to live life to the fullest no matter the circumstances, not many horses come close to the abilities of a little one-eyed rescue horse named Lulu – one of the horses inducted into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame by the EQUUS Foundation in February 2016.

Found in a half-collapsed metal building by the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation in Zimmerman, Minnesota, she was in foal, starved, abused, and worst of all, her right eye was so severely damaged that it was split in half and had to be surgically removed.

She was considered "unadoptable" by many within the rescue, the wildest of the bunch, but miraculously, the little one-eyed wonder made the decision to trust an eleven year-old girl, Aimee Schulz, and was officially adopted by Aimee in April of 2009. 

Since then, she has not missed a beat as a top competitor, competing across the nation in Miniature horse shows sweeping youth, amateur, and open classes in everything from showmanship and obstacle to jumping and earning AMHR Hall of Fame recognition. 

However, Lulu’s greatest impact has come with her events outside of the show ring. Lulu has become a poster child for the rescue and disabled horse with a fairytale story that everyone fell in love with - a horse and a girl with a one-in-a-million bond. She gives demonstrations, acts as a lesson horse, walks in parades, visits churches, stores, and nursing homes, helps with fundraisers, and attends horse expos.

Lulu has introduced thousands to the world of horses. Everywhere she goes, she touches lives and changes the world’s view on horses and especially rescued horses - one small hoof-print at a time.

The problem:   There are an estimated 200,000 Lulus in the US, and tragically many are slaughtered. Although there are thousands of equine charities that have the expertise to "rescue, rehabilitate, retrain and rehome" these amazing creatures, funding is sorely lacking.

The solution: The EQUUS Foundation provides funds to qualified equine charities whose focus is "Helping Horses Healing People". A little goes a long way!

What do you think it takes to hear a non-verbal child say her first word?  How can a veteran overcome PTSD?  Horses make this happen! Horses provide an extraordinary experience that no other therapy can. 

Lulu and Aimee
Lulu and Aimee


As we conclude our 12th year of improving the lives of horses and people, we are extremely proud to report to you that we now provide resources and best practices to over 900 horse rescues and equine therapy organizations across the country. We awarded over $250,000 in grants to equine charities that are operating at the highest standards for the care and use of horses.

However, our work is not done . . . 

  • There are an estimated 200,000 unwanted horses in the United States.
  • Rescue groups can only accommodate 20%.
  • Tragically, many are slaughtered. Instead, these horses can be rescued and rehabilitated. Many can be re-trained as therapy horses. 
  • 50 million people in the United States have disabilities. One in 88 children lives with autism. One in 4 veterans has PTSD.
  • Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) are recognized as an effective alternative or complement to traditional therapy
  • Less than 1/100% or about 54,000 people with special needs have access to EAAT.

.A horse with a home – and a purpose – is a horse with a smile!

From one horse lover to another, thank you for your support!

Let's start ROARing!

Animal Planet has given us an exciting challenge. They will match up to $100,000 in donations during the Animal Planet R.O.A.R. Matching Campaign hosted by GlobalGiving starting today through October 12, 2015.

There's a catch . . . 
Animal Planet is supporting six other charitable partners, but the EQUUS Foundation is the only one solely dedicated to helping horses. Donations will be matched while their funds last, but they won't last long! 

There are an estimated 200,000 unwanted horses in the US. Tragically, many are slaughtered. Of the 50 million people with disabilities, only 54,000 are able to benefit from equine assisted activities and therapies.

You can change this! Your donation may go twice as far if you give here today.

Can't donate right now . . . All it takes is a click to help!
Help us win the Most Traffic to Our Project Page $4,000 Bonus by just clicking here every day as many times as you can. 

Help us win the Fan Favorite $4,000 Bonus by voting here once a day through October 12.

You supported us in the past. Please support us again.

Helping the EQUUS Foundation in the Animal Planet ROAR Campaign will help horses everywhere!


Katelyn with therapy horse Jewel
Katelyn with therapy horse Jewel

"Many young girls dream of owning a horse, and I was one of them. For many years, my love of horses extended only to Breyer models, Girl Scout horse badges, and riding lessons during school vacations. That all changed for me in freshman year of high school when I turned my passion into purpose."

Katelyn is one of eleven individuals who were awarded EQUUS Foundation Champion of Equine Service scholarships.

Dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal, the EQUUS Foundation provides financial support and services to over 900 equine charities across the United States.

The EQUUS Foundation Champions program recognizes and rewards individuals for their volunteer service in support of these charities.

Katelyn is a 16-year old high school junior and member of the Crossroads East Valley IEA high school team. Active in her school and community, she admits, "horses are my passion".

When she was a freshman, she responded to an ad on the "volunteers needed" bulletin board for Stable Influence Charity Programs.

Katelyn recalls, "I enjoyed working with kids through Girl Scouts and as a mentor at school, so blending that with horses was a great opportunity for me." She eagerly signed up and has been volunteering weekly ever since.

"I was impressed by how responsive the horses are to the riders, and have learned to trust their instincts as they often sense something going on with a rider before we even notice."

"Clients get so much joy from their relationships with the horses and show progress toward their goals with every session. I consider this opportunity a blessing, as I am now more aware of the needs of others, how to communicate effectively, and how to offer appropriate help."

"Competition has built my confidence and strengthened my work ethic, and now I have a lifelong sport. Horses have taught me to be a leader not a master. My volunteer experience has taught me to do the best with what I have."

Learn more about our volunteers at


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Organization Information

EQUUS Foundation

Location: Westport, CT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lynn Coakley
Westport, CT United States
ROAR 2016
Time left to give:
$120,340 raised of $250,000 goal
387 donations
$129,660 to go
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