Leading equine rescues and sanctuaries from across the country gathered in Irving, Texas, on September 25-26 for the 2015 Homes for Horses Coalition conference. The only national conference for horse rescues and sanctuaries brought together nearly 120 people from 56 different organizations and provided training, problem-solving tools and moral support.
A wide range of topics vital to equine welfare, including working successfully with law enforcement, marketing adoptable horses, community engagement, and courting major donors were presented by experts from national animal welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies and horse rescues.
Preceding the conference, the Coalition hosted a unique, full-day, professionally facilitated forum. A small distinctive group of leaders in the field of equine welfare were invited to discuss the barriers to and opportunities for saving America’s at-risk domestic horses. Together, the group identified key tools and resources for rescuers and uncovered innovative ideas for advancing the field.
The conference opened with a Friday evening reception allowing attendees to network with like-minded individuals. Saturday’s schedule included a full-day of panel discussions, break-outs and more networking.
“One of the best ways for rescues and sanctuaries to learn new and better methods for doing things is by hearing from other equine protection organizations that have overcome the same obstacles to excel in particular areas,” said Cindy Gendron, The Homes for Horses Coalition coordinator. “To have this cumulative expertise in one place at one time was a unique experience, and I am grateful that so many rescues were able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.”
“Attending a conference like this is a big commitment for rescues with limited funds and time and we are so pleased with the turn-out and the learning and sharing experienced by everyone who participated,” said Gendron. “A major theme that emerged from the conference was the need for greater communication and collaboration with stakeholders in the horse industry, and this was a rare opportunity for equine welfare organizations from across the country to come together face-to-face and share knowledge and community. The energy and the openness were exhilarating. These rescues shared their successes and best practices and reaffirmed their commitment to matching great horses with great homes.”
The conference was open to anyone involved in, or interested in, horse rescue and sanctuary work and was offered at a minimal registration cost, thanks to the coalition’s sponsoring organizations, which include the Animal Welfare Institute, ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and The Humane Society of the United States’ Jeannie and Jim Dodson Equine Protection Fund. The coalition currently has 325 members and is the only professional organization dedicated solely to providing training and support to the nation’s equine welfare community.
The Homes for Horses Coalition is supported by the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the Animal Welfare Institute and The Humane Society of the United States’ Jeannie and Jim Dodson Equine Protection Fund. It is dedicated to ending horse slaughter and other forms of equine abuse, while promoting growth, collaboration and professionalism in the equine rescue and protection community. Find us online at www.homesforhorses.org and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/HomesforHorses.