The Inspiration for Volunteering! The Making of Forever Volunteers!

Thanks to 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 second quarter of 2023: Jacob Barnes, Lori Harrington, Jennifer Kayton, Evangeline Szabo, and Alexandra Wierdsma. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Lori Harrington who said, “I just got a hole in my 25-year-old Ariat paddock boots and welcome a replacement pair!” 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.

Lori Harrington

Freedom Hill Horse Rescue

Dunkirk, Maryland

Lori Harrington started volunteering with Freedom Hill Horse Rescue 19 years ago. She took her daughters’ girl scout troop for a visit there all those years ago and was so impressed with what the organization was doing, she signed up to be the organization’s treasurer. Since then, Lori served as Vice President and volunteer coordinator for twelve years and then President for the past seven years. Lori manages all the horses and not just the current residents. She also manages the new intakes and keeps track of the previously adopted ones. She also oversees the community outreach programs.

“Freedom Hill Horse Rescue will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2024 and has helped over 340 horses find their forever adoption homes,” said Lori. “I am proud to have helped educate the general public about horses, their care, and their profound ability to help people in need.”

Jacob (Jake) Barnes

Red Feather Farm

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Jake Barnes has been volunteering at Red Feather Farm for only a few months. He wanted to work with horses after having personally rescued his pit bull/lab mix from the pound and a chicken named Dumplin who he found in the yard one day. Dumplin had a life-threatening puncture wound.

“These two animals opened my eyes to how fulfilling it is to provide life-long care for a creature in need,” said Jake. “My grandfather gave my sister and I a Welsh pony when we were children, and he was my best friend growing up. I’m very empathetic to the plight of horses, who historically, and still to this day, have a tendency to be discarded when they are no longer useful to their owners. I was drawn to Red Feather Farm because they are committed to provide life-long sanctuary to every critter fortunate enough to make its way there.”

Jennifer (Jen) Kayton

Colorado Horse Rescue

Longmont, Colorado

Jen Kayton has been volunteering at Colorado Horse Rescue (CHR) for the last seven years – most recently for the barn shift every Friday afternoon and as part of CHR’s new Companion Connection program aimed at finding permanent, safe solutions for companion-only (non-rideable) horses. Jen’s current companion horse is Scooby, pictured above, a sweet 11-year-old gelding quarter horse. Jen spends time grooming, walking, and training Scooby under the guidance of the CHR staff.

When not volunteering, Jen works as a financial advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with Edward Jones and enjoys family time with her husband, three children ages 16, 18, and 20, and two furry rescues – a cocker spaniel mix named Buster and a cat who acts like a dog named Roo.

Alexandra (Lexi) Wierdsma

Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc.

Bedford Corners, New York

Lexi Wierdsma has been volunteering at Endeavor for two years. She started as a summer intern last year, and now volunteers whenever she has spare time. Lexi attends Skidmore College and rides on their polo team. “I love horses and I love volunteering,” said Lexi”. “Most of all, I love seeing the impact horses have on so many lives.”

Evangeline Szabo

Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont Circle C Equestrian Center

Sophia, North Carolina

Evangeline Szabo is 14 years old and a high school freshman She’s been a Girl Scout since the first grade. “I love volunteering at the barn,” said Szabo, ” and love working with the horses and learning all of their personalities!

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Take the #HorseProtector Pledge 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