It’s Never Too Late When It Comes to Horses!

Thanks to Ariat International Ariat International, five deserving volunteers at equine charities across the United States receive a $270 Gift Card for Ariat Boots each quarter. Ariat International sponsors the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, which aims to stimulate and reward volunteerism on behalf of horses.

The EQUUS Foundation would like to congratulate the winners for the first quarter of 2024: Kathleen Curran, Kelly Duffy, Hannah Fairbanks, Jessica Hutt, and Erica Suiter. The EQUUS Foundation is grateful for volunteers like these who dedicate their time to keeping horses safe and healthy and aiding the charities and horses that serve people in need.

Kelly Duffy

Promise Landing Farm, Inc.

Upper Marlboro, MD

Kelly Duffy is a semi-retired teacher and horse lover who grew up on a farm in upstate New York. After moving to the DC area, she was able to renew her love of horses thanks to her daughter who became obsessed with them at four years old.

Duffy said, “Promise Landing Farm is a wonderful community for horses and people – volunteers and riders alike. I’m lucky enough to sidewalk during lessons and help out wherever I can around the barn!”

Kathleen Curran

Rising Starr Horse Rescue

Wilton, CT

When Kathleen Curran decided to take early retirement after 20+ years at IBM Corporation, she wanted to do something totally different. “No more desk work, being on quota, presentations and spreadsheets,” said Curran.

For the past three years Curran has been volunteering at Rising Starr Horse Rescue three or four days a week. “My love of horses began – later in life,” said Curran and it keeps growing.

Curran is now certified as an Equine Sports Massage Therapist and a PATH Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.

“I’m late to this horse party,” said Curran, “and I’m never leaving! Helping horses feel better, one at a time”.

Erica Suiter, FC3 USN

Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Diana, TX

There have been many stories of veterans who struggle to cope with everyday life resulting from their military service, and Erica Suiter was no exception. Suiter, a U.S. Navy Veteran, with two children that she homeschools, found Windridge not only to be a place where she could volunteer, but also a place to heal.

“Horses have helped me to trust again. My life feels complete, and my children are thriving with a happy mother and caregiver/homeschool teacher,” said Suiter. “Windridge is a safe place,” continued Suiter – “where the staff understands everyone’s individual needs – both human and horses.

One day, Suiter hopes to own a horse or two and hopes that her children will grow to love these magnificent animals.

Jessica Hutt

Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue and Retirement, Inc.

Junction City, KS

Jessica Hutt has been volunteering for Rainbow Meadows for one year. She wanted to learn about caring for horses, but she did not expect to also learn about herself.

Hutt had the opportunity to learn how to train a horse by taking a ground training class with a horse that had already done the class several times. “I was ready to help train a more difficult horse,” said Hutt, and picked Thorne (pictured above) who was surrendered in 2023 with some aggressive behavior.

“I have gained confidence, worked through fears, made friends with like-minded people, and found a purpose. Rainbow Meadows is my happy place.”

Hannah Fairbanks

BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center

Harvard, IL

At 18, Hannah Fairbanks is no stranger to horses and has been riding on and off for years. After taking a break, she started looking for a place to get back into horses and found Bravehearts where she has been volunteering since the fall of 2022.

She helps with new volunteer training and orientation and has realized that she is making a difference in helping new people find the same joy in horses that she feels. In recognition of her accomplishments, Bravehearts awarded Fairbanks the 2024 Junior Volunteer of the Year Award. In learning that she is going to receive some new Ariat boots, Fairbanks said, “Over this past year I have been wearing boots taped together with neon green tape, Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”

Learn more about Champions here

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 from peril 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:, Website:

ABOUT ARIAT INTERNATIONAL: Ariat International, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian footwear, apparel and belts. Featuring a patented technology designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into English riding boots and authentic Western boots. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail outlets throughout the world. For more information about Ariat products or for the Ariat retailer nearest you, contact Ariat at 800.899.8141 or visit

View release and photos online here

Contact: Lynn Coakley