Seven years after its founding, "A Home For Every Horse" (AHFEH) continues to be a labor of love, helping to match in-need equines with "forever" homes. This year, the program welcomed a new digital project coordinator, Amanda Bodkin, who stepped up to the position in December and is overseeing a number of productive projects.
What Exactly is AFHEH?
It is the brainchild of a partnership between the Active Interest Media Equine Network and the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition. Their mission: to harness the power of digital media to address the growing national problem of homeless horses. Through AHFEH, 501(c)(3) equine rescue organizations may list their adoptable horses for free on the AIM Equine Network website Equine.com. (This translates into access to 300,000 potential adopters each month, since Equine.com is the world's largest horse marketplace.) According to Bodkin, more than 600 rescues have taken advantage of this to date.
AHFEH also serves as a resource for rescues, sanctuaries and care facilities, providing support through its connections and sponsors. For example, qualifying rescue groups can get coupons for free feed through Purina Animal Health, which has sponsored AHFEH since its founding.
"It has been a great experience, being able to help horse rescues and sanctuaries eliminate some of the financial burden that they face every day with our title sponsor Purina’s coupon contributions," said Bodkin.
In addition, WeatherBeeta has donated horse blankets for eligible rescues since 2012.
In 2014, AHFEH introduced the Equine Comeback Challenge. A program designed to help provide rescue horses with a solid start in training—thereby maximizing their chances of finding new "jobs." It pairs these horses with trainers from all over the country. Together, they compete in a 90-day transformation that tugs at the heartstrings while showcasing the remarkable ability of these "reclaimed" equine partners.
In another important development, the AHFEH team began visiting rescue groups in 2016 and filming videos to further promote their work on the AHFEH website. "Being able to get out in the community and visit these rescues I think is one of the most important things we can do," Bodkin said. "We need to continue to bring awareness to the national issue of all of the unwanted horses."
As of June 1, 2018, AHFEH has recorded the following statistics:
- 2,000 horses have been adopted through AHFEH via equine.com.
- More than 75 horses have been adopted through the Equine Comeback Challenge.
- 1,121.725 tons of Purina feed have been donated to qualifying rescue groups.
- 378 WeatherBeeta blankets have been donated to qualifying rescue groups.
- AHFEH staff members have visited 10 rescue groups and filmed 31 videos of the facilities and their rescue horses.
There is a lot going on, including a campaign to promote local rescues through another AHFEH sponsor, Tractor Supply, and the highly anticipated publication this winter of a new "magalog." Fundraising T-shirts are also in the works, Bodkin said.