Las Vegas-based Horses4Heroes, one of the most successful equestrian service groups for the military and First Responders, has launched the Give $18 Challenge to raise funds to pay feed and medical bills for horses that have been donated to Horses4Heroes, here in Las Vegas and at facilities throughout the country. The organization hopes to raise at least $18,000.
According to president and founder Sydney Knott, in Southern Nevada, a bale of alfalfa hay costs $18. The hay and feed bill for horses at the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center is $3,000 a month.
"Add to that medical bills and you can see the need for this fund-raiser," added Knott. "Aged donated and rescue horses cost more to maintain than other horses. One visit by the local vet can cost $500. We are happy to give these horses new homes and new jobs, but we need help paying the bills. It is essential that we build a fund to pay for medical bills and end-of-life costs."
Participating in the challenge is simple. Visit www.horses4heroes.org, click donate and give $18, $36, or $72. Any amount is welcome. "So far, University of Southern California graduates and members of the Alpha Omicron Pi national fraternity are participating in the challenge. We hope to make this a national movement!" Knott said.
"We also are encouraging the community to support our local barns and affiliates by volunteering. Pitch in, help out, muck stalls, any help is appreciated. To find an affiliate near you, visit www.horses4heroes.org, click About and click locations."
Horses4Heroes is the only national equestrian non-profit that owns its own horses and uses those horses every day in affordable activities, including lessons, camps and field trips, and free programs that help veterans with PTS/MST/TBI, victims of domestic abuse and violence and at-risk youth, foster children and teens, and recovering addicts.
"For example, since 2012, we have introduced more than 10,000 men, women and children to horses, horseback riding and horsemanship, through open houses and Operation Free Ride events at the Pinto World Championship Show, Cheyenne Frontier Days, River City Rodeo, the Senior National Finals Rodeo and the National Finals Rodeo Fan Fest.
"These programs are opening our wonderful world of horses to these men, women and their children who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. With thousands of troops returning home, programs like Operation Free Ride are important to those with PTS, Wounded Warriors, caregivers and their families," Knott added.
Founded in 2006, Horses4Heroes is the nation's premier non-profit equestrian support group for the military, veterans, First Responders and their families. Through its growing national network, the organization provides low-cost recreational and instructional activities for all ages and all riding levels and free health and wellness programs for veterans with PTS/MST/TBI, victims of domestic abuse and violence, at-risk youth, and foster children and teens. The organization opened its flagship facility, the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, within Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, in March 2014. For more information, visit www.horses4heroes.org or call 702.645.8446.