We believe horses and equestrian sport are important to who we are as Ontarians. From first time riders to seasoned competitors, more and more people are experiencing the special bond between horse and rider.
Since its inception in 1977, Ontario Equestrian has been dedicated to promoting the sport and providing programs, while establishing supports and guidelines for a safe and level field of play for both equine and human athletes. At Ontario Equestrian, we are focused on enhancing the experience for our members.
For the Herd Emergency Fundraiser
In response to the ongoing pandemic, Ontario Equestrian has launched #ForTheHerd, an emergency fundraising initiative to support lesson horses and riding school facilities in Ontario.
The reality of the situation is, without support these businesses will fold and equestrian sport becomes obsolete. Worse yet, these riding school facilities won’t have the means to support these animals’ lives, which in turn may result in selling off the horses or euthanasia.
What is a School Horse?
School Horses, affectionately known as “Schoolies,” live and work at riding facilities and are often the first horses that people learn to ride on. They are chosen for their temperament to work with beginner riders, both children and adults, to help develop their skills to various levels recreationally and competitively.
Here’s the current breakdown of our initiative.
During the initial impact of the pandemic, our fundraising goal has been set at $500,000. This figure was based on the number of horses requiring assistance recorded by a survey taken by Ontario lesson facility participants.
The cost to keep one school horse healthy per month averages $500 – 1050. These costs include hay, grain, bedding, Farrier Services (hoof trimming/shoeing), veterinary support (dentals, vaccines, emergency).
In the first 2 weeks of launching the campaign, 197 of donors registered to donate in-kind donations.The For The Herd fundraiser is also connecting farm owners and other equestrian advocates with those in need.
In the first 2 weeks of launching the campaign, the following In-Kind services were organized and will be distributed to qualified lesson facilities.
- 1200 Units of ivermectin
- 89 Stalls for Fostering Horses
- 554 bales of Hay
- 8 Active Vets & Farrier Donors
- 61 Product Discounts Offered
- 4 Bags of Hay Cubes
- 3 Winter Blankets
Applying for Assistance
In the first 2 weeks of launching the campaign, 112 applications for assistance were received.
For The Herd is focused on assisting lesson facilities to cover immediate expenses pertaining to basic and necessary care of their school horses.
Ontario Equestrian is helping to direct people to government programs and/or legal/accounting advice to seek additional funds for personal or other business expenses.
Board & For The Herd Committee
For The Herd is all-in to help as many riding school horses as possible during this pandemic and as a result, a committee has been created to help organize and distribute donations.
Jen Sweet, owner of Lions’ Bridge Stable in Ayr, Ontario, began the “Helping the Schoolies” initiative to match assistance to barns in need as a result of COVID-19 closures. The initial response was overwhelming – and indicative – of the urgent need in the community.
This led Sweet to partner with Ontario Equestrian to expand the initiative so it could reach more barns and school horses in the province and led to the creation of “For the Herd.”
- May 11th, 2020 – TJ Stables humbled by community support
- May 6, 2020 – Coronavirus: Equestrian centres seek help for horses as income dries up
- May 5, 2020 – COVID-19 restrictions could lead to difficult decisions for equestrian schools
- May 4, 2020 –COVID-19 hits equestrian facilities hard across eastern Ontario
- April 30, 2020 – Equine industry feeling fallout of COVID-19 pandemic
- April 28, 2020 – Equestrian centres hurting financially as ‘non-essential’ businesses
- Apr 27, 2020 – Horse lovers going into debt as COVID-19 closures continue
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For The Herd is available for, comments, interviews and affiliation opportunities. We need your help to spread the word about our cause. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for feel free to reach out.
Brandon Hall, Director of Marketing and Communications
Ontario Equestrian and For The Herd
1 West Pearce Street, Suite 201
Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 3K3