Ivercare Because You Care Award Finalists Announced

Nearly 31,000 online votes were received from the public in the semifinals of the Ivercare--Because You Care award program sponsored by Farnam Horse Products. Earlier this year, more than 100 organizations and individuals were nominated for the award program, which was initiated by Farnam to recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals that strive to improve the health and welfare of horses and/or the lives of humans that love them.

All nominees were posted on www.IverCare.com with a short description of their efforts for the public to vote. The top five finalists in each category will be posted on the web site during September 2003 for the public to vote again, but this time it will be for the winners. Farnam will award a total of $17,500 to four nonprofit organizations and one individual in the equine industry. Two small organizations (annual operating budget of less than $250,000) each will be awarded $2,500; two large organizations (annual operating budget of more than $250,000) each will receive $5,000; and one individual will receive $2,500.

Following are the names of the 15 finalists:
The finalists for the small organization category are Ozland Horse Rescue; Nokota Horse Conservancy, Inc.; Lone Star Equine Rescue; Lazy Maple Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation Center, NFP; and Bran Manor Equine Rescue and Placement.

Finalists in the large organization category are Rocky River Riding, Inc.; Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation; Hooved Animal Humane Society; Institute of Range and American Mustang Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary; and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm/Equine Center.

The individual finalists are Lucinda J. Christian, Linda Lutes, Rebecca Miolen, Maggie Parker, and Paul Searle.

Small organization category finalists:
The mission of the Ozland Horse Rescue is to provide a home and loving care for abused and neglected horses. OHR provides education and training in proper horse care to the local 4-H Club and anyone else interested. It provides help to horse owners who have problems they don't know how to deal with. It does all it can to put a stop to the starvation and physical abuse of horses, by whatever means necessary, such as filing charges to prosecute, which included two starvation cases this year. OHR takes in any unwanted horses that have a chance at life and provides the care necessary to give them a decent quality of life for as long as possible. OHR adopts out horses to homes educated in the necessary care for the particular horse, and networks to lend a hand when possible with other rescues around the country.

The main goal of the The Nokota Horse Conservancy, Inc., is to save and preserve the rare and endangered Nokota horse that was native to the Northern Plains. Believed to be descended from Sitting Bull's war horses, they were used by early ranch settlers of North Dakota in the late 1800s and then ran wild throughout the 20th Century. The NHC established a sanctuary where these horses can live free from the persecution that has been their legacy for more than a century. The NHC is working with the Sioux Indians of the Standing Rock Reservation in hopes to one day reunite Sitting Bull's Indian ponies with the Sioux people. Toward this goal, the NHC is developing Native American youth outreach programs through a partnership with the United Tribes Technical College of North Dakota. The challenge for the past two years has been the severe drought in the West. Feed costs have skyrocketed and the quality of available feed is abysmal. The Nokotas are suffering the slow affect of starvation from these conditions, while the NHC is struggling again to save these horses from extinction.

Lone Star Equine Rescue, Inc., is dedicated to improving and preserving equine lives in the Southwest via education, fostering and rehabilitation, adoption, and assistance law enforcement. LSER uses a preventive strategy by educating horse owners, and also rehabilitates and places horses in need. LSER educates the horse owning public as to the proper care of their horses, thus reducing neglect and abuse cases. It also assists law enforcement in neglect cases by helping with seizures, accepting horses into its program, providing guidance if needed. It also provides for owners in times of need by accepting their horses into the fostering and adoption program, thus giving an alternative to auctioning and possible slaughter for many equines whose owners can no longer keep them for various reasons.

Lazy Maple Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation Center is dedicated to providing a safe refuge and care for older or special needs horses, while placing some in therapeutic riding programs. The Center gives these horses a second chance at life through rehabilitation and lots of "TLC." The Center participates in many fund raising events related to children and the welfare of animals. It accepts horses and ponies that would have nowhere else to go. Each horse's dietary needs are evaluated and an exercise routine is implemented to rebuild muscle tone and put the necessary weight back on before allowing them to be adopted. Thirty horses have been accepted into the program, with 30 placed in new loving homes where their care will be continued under the Center's supervision. Three horses have been placed with therapeutic riding centers working with children who might be enjoying their only form of mobility outside of a wheelchair.

The main objective of Bran Manor Equine Rescue & Placement is to provide food, shelter, medical care, retraining, and above all, love to equines rescued from auction where they may be in jeopardy of being sold for slaughter, or placed by owners no longer able to care for them. Bran Manor provides ongoing education of horse owners to assure that they are aware of the responsibilities and expenses involved in horsekeeping, and have the knowledge, resources and ability to care for them. It also educates the public about anti-slaughter initiatives and encourages folks to learn about this issue and lends its support to passing laws that would serve to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Even with a slump in the economy and subsequent reduction in charitable donations, Bran Manor was still able to take in and successfully place a total of 62 equines over the course of the year.

Large organization category finalists:
The objective of Rocky River Riding, Inc., is to give people an idea of not only how to ride, but to understand how horses can be rewarding. RRR teaches students a basic seat, how to become acquainted with horses, safety and encourages individual achievement. Rocky River Riding is a wonderful place where horse's stalls are kept clean and you can ask anyone a question. The instructors provide helpful tips and lessons that ensure almost any rider will be successful. RRR stresses English riding, teaching riders basic skills. It provides beginner through advanced lessons. RRR also has a therapeutic program that gives physically/mentally challenged riders confidence and ability. RRR's best achievement has been simply to have its riders achieve their personal goals.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation provides and encourages humane alternatives for Thoroughbred horses at the end of their racing careers. Objectives include: (1) To provide retirement homes and rehabilitation services for ex-racing Thoroughbreds; (2) to increase awareness and education within the racing industry about TRF services and other humane options for retired racehorses; and (3) to create new beginnings for TRF Thoroughbreds and the people who work with them. In 2002, the TRF adopted out 129 Thoroughbreds, all while increasing the total number of horses in its care from 452 to 630. Additionally, the TRF established a formal partnership with Churchill Downs, Inc. As a result, CDI racetracks nationwide are infused with information about equine adoption and retirement.

The Hooved Animal Humane Society promotes the humane treatment of hooved animals through education, legislation, investigation and intervention. The Society produces "Hoofprints" magazine and has a web site, e-newsletter, internship program, hands-on clinics, youth seminars, and an exhibit booth for shows and expos. HAHS testified on a state humane transport bill, was involved in amending the Humane Care for Animals Act and continues to monitor equine slaughter bills. Its 20 state-approved humane investigators handled nearly 300 cases in 2002; inspected Chicago carriage horses; and assisted local law enforcement, county animal control and state Department of Agriculture. HAHS also rescued or impounded neglected, abandoned and loose animals for rehabilitation and adoption.

The purpose of the Institute of Range and American Mustang Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is to provide not only a home and freedom for more than 400 unwanted and unadoptable wild horses, but also a research area dedicated to solving the problems of wild horse herd management that will contribute to the well-being of wild horses everywhere. The Sanctuary is devoted to the spirit of the wild mustang by giving America's unwanted horses a quality life. The Sanctuary also provides a showcase where the public can see large herds of wild horses running free and come to understand its efforts toward land conservation and the preservation of our Western heritage -America's wild mustangs!

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm/Equine Center is dedicated to the welfare and humane treatment of horses through rescue, rehabilitation, adoption, foster care, emergency transportation and education programs. As one of the nation's only "open door" equine shelters, it cares for the welfare of all horses in need. Its equine rescue, surrender, rehabilitation, adoption, and foster care services are unique in the Northeast. The MSPCA at Nevins Farm is dedicated to the welfare of all horses in need of assistance from its 24-hour equine ambulance service to its rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and education programs. It is focused on improving the lives of horses and strengthening the bond with the people who love them.

Individual finalists:
Lucinda J. Christian is a veteran conservationist who for the past 15 years has worked to bring public attention to the need for conserving equine genetics in order to preserve diversity in the equine species. She is well-respected in conservation and academic circles for dedicating her personal resources to conserving the endangered Orlov-Rostopchin horse, as well as for her diplomatic efforts in bringing the Orlov-Rostopchin into the United States for the first time in history. In the past, Christian has served on the International Equine Humane Association board of directors. She has rescued and rehabilitated more than 25 horses, and currently is the subject of a documentary film about international equine conservation efforts.

Linda Lutes has worked with 4-H kids for 18 years and is a certified therapeutic riding instructor. Working with 4-H, she teaches kids how to ride and train their own horses. She stresses safety, good sportsmanship, respect for the horse, and having fun while doing it. Lutes also spends one to two days per week donating time working with disabled children as a certified therapeutic riding instructor. She wants kids to have fun, improve their ability to ride, and stay as safe as possible while doing it. Additionally, Lutes has planned and run several fundraising horse shows for 4-H and the therapeutic riding center where she volunteers. She is on the board at the riding center and helps teach and train volunteers.

Only 16 years old, Rebecca Miolen works with abused and neglected horses to bring them back to health and learn to trust humans again. She aims to become the best natural horsewoman through training, and to bring her mount to its fullest potential--and hopes to help other youth do the same. Miolen organized and conducted a yard sale and pony rides to earn $560 for the Georgia Equine Rescue League (GERL) and Foal Rescue. She also won the county versatility contest and represented Georgia's 4-H at the State Horse Fair, placing fifth. She is the vice president of County 4-H Horse and Pony Club where she rides with the Drill Team and competes in Quiz Bowl and Horse Judging. Miolen cares for four neglected horses daily, was responsible for reporting three neglect cases, helped conduct a show for mentally and physically challenged riders, teaches Pony Tails Club, set up "Horse Safety" booths at two community events, and helps beginning riders with horse health and training problems.

Maggie Parker is a private horse owner who works full time outside of the equine industry and selflessly gives of her time and energy for the well being of the horses at Oceana Naval Air Station Stables in Virginia Beach, Va. Parker is one of the most dedicated individuals in her passion for horses. She pasture boards at a large military facility. As the land for the pasture boarders is far away from the main barn, everyone looks out for each other's horses, however no one is more involved than Parker. She owns two horses, but takes care of up to seven others for absentee owners each day by bathing, feeding, grooming, deworming, blanketing, and making sure that each gets special attention. Rain or shine, night or day, she is there, spending her precious time and money to ensure that as many horses are cared for as possible.

Paul Searle is a novice who believes that all horses (and animals!) be they sick, dying or unwanted deserve care and love regardless of forces against them. Searle rescues unwanted, proverbial bottom of the barrel horses from a sure trip to the slaughterhouse because they were not "perfect" enough to be "worth" anything in the eye of breeders. He proves that all horses deserve love despite outward appearances. He travels to auctions around Kentucky stretching his budget to nurse sick, dying, underweight and unwanted horses, saving them from certain death. In one example, Searle rescued a saddlebred stallion considered by some to be next to dead, and a saddlebred mare who was perfect except for a being a little underweight and missing one eye. "Why did you buy a dead horse?" people said. Underweight and with severe sinusitis, he took two, 2-year old saddlebreds home and spent 24-hour-days giving the stallion medicine on his deathbed. Searle stretched his meager budget through the shadow of their death.

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