Help a Horse Day 2016 surpassed all expectations with 187 organizations from 40 different states holding events between April 22 and 26.
More than 33,000 people in communities across the country came out to recognize the extraordinary efforts of equine rescuers and gifted more than $1 million in cash and other donations!
A record 107 applications were submitted for the celebration contest—more than twice the number received in 2015. The entire month of April was focused on Help a Horse Day activities, including work parties, barn raisings, gardening parties and more.
Participants took the media tips gleaned from How to Rock the Media for Help a Horse Day webinar to heart, and local and regional media reported on Help a Horse Day events in droves. Politicians attended events with family in tow and there were even several mayoral proclamations in support of local rescues and the special day.
Notable Help a Horse Day Celebrations
- Movie screenings
- Book signings
- Wine tastings
- Restaurant events
- Award ceremonies
- Open houses
- Art contests
- Clinics and seminars
- Family fairs & spring festivals
- Tabling at horse expos, tack and feed stores and community festivals
- Pony parties
- Aviation festival, interfaith Passover Seder, health expo and a mini wedding!
Organizations shared rescue stories with community members and advocated for a ban on horse slaughter—and community members responded with donations, purchases, sponsorships and promises to volunteer. Reports of recruiting 20+ volunteers were not uncommon!
In 2014, only one Help a Horse Day participant raised $10,000, but in 2016 more than one third of the celebrants surpassed that number—with several raising $50,000 or more. Here are some unexpected benefits that arose for groups as a result of holding an event:
- A special invitation to meet with a local philanthropic group to discuss program funding
- A $2,000 check from a company affiliated with one of the event vendors
- A large donation of luxury goods to auction from a neighbor who heard a radio interview
- A group of naysayers turned into supporters thanks to a group’s transparent presentations at their event
- A mobile home donation, which will be used for an office and restroom for volunteers
Event founder, Jacque Schultz, says, “Kids learned about gentle giants and horses found new homes and sponsors thanks to tens of thousands of people across America who came out and celebrated the rescues’ and sanctuaries’ work on behalf of at-risk horses. Event organizers should be very proud of themselves and their teams whether or not they were selected as one of the grant award winners.”
$25K Grand Prize: Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary (Green Valley, AZ)
- All About Equine Animal Rescue (El Dorado Hills, CA)
- Begin Again Horse Rescue (Honeoye, NY)
- California Coastal Horse Rescue (Oak View, CA)
- Hidden Acres Thoroughbred Rescue (Cocoa, FL)
- The Pegasus Project (Ben Wheeler, TX)
- Blue Rose Ranch (Springfield, CO)
- Freedom Hill Horse Rescue (Dunkirk, MD)
- HiCaliber Horse Rescue (Valley Center, CA)
- Horses of Tir Na Nog (San Diego, CA)
- Horse Protection League (Arvada, CO)
Those wanting to participate in Help a Horse Day 2017 should consider lessons learned by this year’s participants:
- Utilize the entire month to promote your big event to draw the biggest audiences
- Incorporate a month-long social media fundraising effort to increase resources raised
- Make sure visitors can get up close and personal with horses, donkeys, mules and minis
- Expand your reach and you will amazed by the community support you will draw
- To draw the biggest crowds, keep it family-friendly