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June 18, 2010

'Ride for the Rescues' Sets Guinness Record and Raises Funds for Horse Protection

World’s largest trail ride competition raises nearly $70,000 to benefit HSUS equine protection programs, horse rescue groups

  • Funds raised will support The HSUS's equine protection program and horse rescue groups across the nation. Hoof Pix Sport Horse Photography, LLC

  • Participants were happy to break the Guinness World Record for the world's largest trail riding competition. ACTHA

  • Horse lovers across the nation participated in the Ride for the Rescues to raise funds for at-risk horses. equinoxphoto.net

The Humane Society of the United States and the American Competitive Trail Horse Association are pleased to announce that the annual "Ride for the Rescues" benefit trail ride held across the country over the weekend broke a Guinness World Record for the world's largest trail riding competition. Nearly $70,000 was raised in one day through the benefit ride, which ACTHA has donated to support The HSUS' programs to protect at-risk equines and horse rescue groups across the country.

"The Humane Society of the United States is committed to the success of every horse rescue in the country, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner in this effort to raise funds for at-risk horses across the United States," said Keith Dane, The HSUS' director of equine protection. "By providing an outlet on a national level for more people to enjoy their horses and set goals in a low-stress competitive environment, the American Competitive Trail Horse Association is increasing the number of jobs—and homes—for adoptable rescued horses, and will be a big part of the solution to end the slaughter of America's horses. I hope that more horsemen and horsewomen will follow ACTHA's example, and work to find and create more opportunities for second careers for horses."

Neglected horses get a second chance

ACTHA, a nationwide trail riders' association and registry, is a true leader in the horse industry for recognizing and celebrating the value of rescued horses. The group demonstrates that rescued horses can be safe, reliable and lovable companions on the trail. Through its donations to equine charities, ACTHA helps the heroes in the horse rescue community who give neglected horses a second chance. ACTHA decided to donate all proceeds from the June 13 coast-to-coast benefit ride to The HSUS, which plans to grant funds to the local rescues where rides were held as designated by local ACTHA ride managers.

"This kind of selfless support to the entire equine community is what made working with The Humane Society of the United States so rewarding," said Tom Scrima, general manager for ACTHA. "People don't always realize that The HSUS is a charity and operates the largest sanctuary for rescued horses in the nation. What we found refreshing was that they take on the responsibility as the nation's largest, oldest and most successful animal protection organization to actually grant money to other non-profits."

There are more than 500 horse rescue groups in the United States. It takes a lot of resources to rehabilitate even one horse, and horse rescue groups, like other nonprofits, rely heavily on donations to sustain their work. These funds will help them help more horses.

Pioneering horse rescue outreach

The HSUS is a pioneer in horse rescue outreach efforts: As the nation's largest animal protection organization, we offer nationwide hands-on assistance in horse cruelty and neglect cases; developed and maintain a national horse rescue database and Equine Adoption Network; co-founded the Homes for Horses Coalition dedicated to rescued horses, and cosponsor the Coalition's Annual Conference, convening concerned horse rescue staffers from across the country. The HSUS is also the nation's largest provider of sanctuary care to equines, providing care to more than 800 equines at the Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon and Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas.

Later this year, The HSUS will open the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, allowing us to assist even more animals, over time, through the rehoming of adoptable horses.

Each year, ACTHA sponsors hundreds of rides across the country. The goal is to provide a casual, fun venue to showcase horses of all breeds while at the same time raising funds for equine welfare charities. To date, ACTHA, with the support of their affiliates, has raised more than $300,000 to support equine charities.

For this ride, Scrima called on volunteers to try and coordinate the largest ride the group has sponsored. About 700 volunteers and 1,700 riders and horses met the call, and arranged and participated in more than 50 "Ride for the Rescues" competitions at locations across the country on June 13.

Scrima said, "The 'Ride for the Rescues' marks a new era for horses and humans. We showed that coast-to-coast horse owners are willing to step up to the plate with their equine companions to help support horse rescue. The goal of ACTHA is to reduce the number of at-risk horses by creating 'jobs' for America's horses and equines. This ride was the first, giant step toward a day when there are no homeless or jobless horses in America."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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