FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2018
View this release online
Contact: Lynn Coakley
“Knowing that I helped someone heal is the greatest feeling,” said Brittany Williams, a volunteer at StableStrides in Elbert, CO. Williams is one of five volunteers to receive Ariat boots as part of the EQUUS Foundation Champions program, sponsored by Ariat International to inspire and reward equine service. The five Champions selected for the past quarter include: Kelly Austin, Ellen Pearl, Chuck Powell, Joanne Slappo, and Brittany Williams.
“When I found StableStrides, I knew it would be the perfect fit from the minute I walked into the barn. I have always had a passion for horses, but I never thought that I would be able to witness these incredible animals helping so many individuals heal and grow,” said Williams.
Brittany’s involvement with StableStrides began in November 2017. During the week, Williams operates a local indoor waterpark and resort, but on the weekends, you’ll find Williams helping with anything the day may call for – from mucking stalls, grooming, to leading clients in class sessions.
“Not only have I gained so many new friendships from the volunteers and staff I work alongside, to the animals I help take care of, but I have had the opportunity to learn more about myself,” said Williams.
“The knowledge, patience and love that I have gained in the last year will last me a lifetime. Knowing that I helped someone heal is the greatest feeling, and I am so thankful for StableStrides for letting me be a part of that experience.”
Kelly Austin has loved horses for as long as she can remember. When she was in her early teens, she lucked into the opportunity to work at a riding stable in exchange for lessons. She learned how to ride, but more importantly she got a hands-on education in all aspects of horse care. School and work eventually became priorities, but it was always her intention to have horses in her life.
Many years later, she found her way to Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding. Volunteering not only gave her the joy of being around horses again, but also helped her deal with her own challenges with anxiety and depression.
Now, three years later, she regularly trains new volunteers, helps with field trips, and interacts freely with CTR’s riders and their families. “I have no idea where I’d be without these horses,” said Austin. “They truly saved my life.”
“I can’t recall any time in my life without the presence of a horse in my heart,” said Ellen Pearl, who began her “equine experience” at the age of three.
Fast forward, when she got her degree from Ohio State, got married, divorced, raised two daughters in Boston and Seattle, got a teaching credential from Lesley College. Then she didn’t have time to ride, but, when she was 40, she had the opportunity to own a horse, and never looked back.
“I have to give credit to the staff and volunteers at Great and Small who make my life, learning, and working so fulfilling,” continued Pearl. “Everyone shows up for the students, for each other, and most of all for the horses. This is by far the most gratifying experience I can remember.”
Chuck Powell would say that he’s had a great life. Jackson, TN has been his home except for a four-year tour with the Air Force. “I am 65 years on this earth and retired from a career in industry,” said Powell. “I’m blessed with support from my wife Lisa, and my daughters and grandchildren, Ashley, Cole, Meg and Mary Clark Hodges, Anna Powell and Kara and Barrett Roudabush.”
“Everything I have learned about horses has been though my time at Redemption Road,” said Powell. “Lori, Patti, Jennifer, and Dana take very good care of me when I am at this wonderful organization.”
Powell started volunteering in November 2017 and plans to continue helping as long as he is able. He’s sometimes known as “Thursday Chuck” since most of the volunteers are women.
Joanne Slappo, PhD, CRC
Bethel Park, PA
Joanne Slappo is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Washington, PA. She has volunteered for HWH for the past nine years and currently serves on the HWH Board, having formerly served as the HWH President.
“I love horses and have had a couple of my own. I also love working with children/adults with disabilities,” said Slappo. “I have had many duties over the years, and one that I am responsible for now is administering the internship programs we offer for college students, as well as organizing our fundraisers.” Slappo is donating her Ariat Gift Card for boots to HWH for their upcoming raffle. “It will be put to good use!”
Learn more about CHAMPIONS here
About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: [email protected], Website: www.equusfoundation.org.
About Ariat International: Ariat International, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian footwear, apparel and belts. Featuring a patented technology designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat pioneered the application of advanced athletic shoe technology into English riding boots and authentic Western boots. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail outlets throughout the world. For more information about Ariat products or for the Ariat retailer nearest you, contact Ariat at 800.899.8141 or visit