Octavia Brown Honored as EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipient

Octavia Brown received the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the Pegasus Awards Dinner on January 13, 2022 during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in Naples, Florida. The EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation established the Humanitarian Award in 2009 to honor a member of the equestrian world who has devoted considerable personal time to making the quality of life of our equine partners paramount.

For over 50 years, Octavia Brown has been a pioneer in the development and growth of therapeutic riding in the United States, as well as internationally. She has dedicated her life to ensuring accessibility to horses for the disabled. A founding board member of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, now known as PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), she also served as president of the Federation of Riding for the Disabled International and Horses in Education and Therapy International.

Holding numerous instructor certifications and qualifications, including the PATH Master Instructor and Equine Specialist, Brown founded Somerset Hills Handicapped Riding Center in 1972, now formally known as Mane Stream. In 2003 she co-founded the Therapeutic Riding Center at Centenary College and served as TRAC’s Executive Director while also a Professor of Equine Studies.

Currently retired from her role at Centenary College, Brown remains an Emeritus Professor. Brown has been honored with numerous accolades during her career including the New Jersey Horse Council Person of the Year in 1981, the PATH President’s Award in 1989, PATH James Brady Professional Achievement Award in 1998, and most recently the Centenary University Golden Dome Award in 2021.

Kelly Munz, Equine Studies Department Chair at Centenary, said, “Octavia has had a huge impact on the lives of the children and adults in the TRAC program and an internationally respected teacher of Therapeutic Riding, ” and recollected one of Octavia’s many words of wisdom in which she said, “Along the way, I learned some important lessons. Never lose your temper. Make sure the quiet people have a voice in the discussions, and control those with too much to say, including oneself.”

“Octavia continues to be a visionary for the entire industry,” said Karen Bocksel. “She has dedicated her life to improving the lives of others with the help of therapeutic equines and continues to be committed to improving the education and certification of instructors to enable best outcomes for both participants and equines.”

In accepting the award, Brown said, “What an honor to receive the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award! Being a pioneer in the field of equine assisted services means that I have seen the profession grow from a grass roots group of well-meaning people to a worldwide profession serving thousands of people with disabilities and challenges of all sorts. My greatest joy is watching people whose careers I have influenced carry the work to new levels of excellence – as well as to think of the many people I have known who have benefitted from that amazing partnership offered by our horses and ponies.”

Brown recited the poem, The Horse in accepting the Humanitarian Award.

The Horse

Where in this wide world can one find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is laced with muscle, And strength by gentleness confined.
He serves without servility; He has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent,
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
Our past has been borne on his back. All our history is his industry.
We are his heirs; he our inheritance.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Horse!

ABOUT EQUUS FOUNDATION: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, is the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

ABOUT THE UNITED STATES EQUESTRIAN FEDERATION: Established in 1917, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the governing body of equestrian sport in the United States, is dedicated bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible. Learn more about the USEF at www.usequestrian.org/

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Contact: Lynn Coakley