Ariat International, the sponsor of the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, randomly selects volunteers who have earned Champion status to receive Ariat boots each quarter. “These hard-working horse lovers are so grateful to receive the Ariat boots and the recognition for the essential work they are performing at equine charities across the United States,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.
Cat Madden, has been a volunteer at Hope Equine Rescue for the past four years, assisting with the care for more than 80 horses.
“I’ve always loved horses, and volunteering at HER provided me the opportunity to fill the void of never having my own,” Cat said. “Being a volunteer has opened my eyes to the world of neglected horses.”
One of the rescues, Vidalia (nicknamed Onion), captured a special place in Cat’s heart. The nickname suited her perfectly because of the many layers of abuse and neglect she endured before being seized by the sheriff’s office in November 2015. She showed severe signs of trauma to her ears and face, which made her weary and nervous of halters, bridles, and a simple touch.
With Cat’s help, Onion began her journey to recover and to trust in people again. Onion can now be haltered, and enjoys having her face and ears rubbed by Cat – a far cry from when the horse would not trust or allow this touch in such a vulnerable place. “It’s my goal this year to get a bridle and saddle on her and really focus on her true potential.”
“Hope Equine Rescue is more than just a rescue for horses, it’s a second family. I’ve made lasting friendships with both people and horses.”