The adage “if you build it they will come” might work for Kevin Costner in the movies but its not an effective plan in real life. Equestrian rescues and sanctuaries work long hard hours caring for abused and neglected animals. Community engagement and fund raising are just an important, without volunteers and money, the best efforts of a rescue are undermined.

The ASPCA launched Help a Horse Day (HaHD) as a platform through which local rescues can spread their message. Today is the 5th annual Help a Horse Day.

In addition to providing rescues with marketing guidelines and promotional material, the ASPCA also offers participants a chance to win a portion of $100,000 in grant money. Each year’s program culminates with rescues hosting a public event or open house to highlight their work and teach local communities how they can help.

In 2016, 187 organizations from 40 states held events between April 22 and 26. Help a Horse Day engaged more than 33,000 visitors to local rescues netting more than $1 million in cash and donations. Additionally, 11 organizations received monies from the ASPCA’s grant including grand prize winner Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary in Arizona who received $25,000; five rescues won $10,000 each and five more each received $5,000.

If you manage a rescue or sanctuary and wish to participate in next year’s event, monitor the ASPCA’s website. In January they post applications and qualification information for that year’s event.

We encourage all WARHorses to help a rescue. Donations are always welcome but there are many other ways you can help. Rescues rely on volunteers, man power, from cleaning stalls to stamping envelopes, maybe you can spare 2 hours a month? If you have the means you might even adopt or foster a needy horse. Contact a rescue, one that you feel a connection with, and lend them a hand. Please.