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"CHAMPIONS" at Work - Let's Hear it for our Equine Volunteers!

Written by: Lynn Coakley
Client: Equus Foundation, Inc.
Release Date: 2013-04-24


WESTPORT, CT - April 24, 2013 - "I was so surprised and touched to get rewarded for something I love to do," - that was the unanimous sentiment expressed by the five volunteers who won $250 gift certificates for Ariat boots for their volunteer service in the first quarter of 2013 as part of the EQUUS Foundation "CHAMPIONS" program sponsored by Ariat International.

Hannah Anderson
Hannah Anderson

Hannah Anderson

Hannah volunteers for Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue and Retirement in Sedan, Kansas. "My love of horses began in Bella Vista, Arkansas, with a good old trail horse named Leroy. I would beg my parents to take me to the stables and pay the $8 required for me to ride Leroy".

When Hannah’s parents made the decision to abandon the suburbs for farm living and purchase a couple quarter horses, Hannah and her mother began riding every spare moment, often beginning their day at 5 AM and riding all day long down the dirt roads of Clearwater, Kansas, on their good friends Jasper and Sonoita.

Now, Hannah works at a local hospital and rides her 23-year old saddlebred, Clancey, every spare moment. "Clancey and I are trusted partners and enjoy competing in 25-mile endurance races. We also enjoy riding to the local Sonic to grab milkshakes and tater tots."

Mara Lynn Johnson
Mara Lynn Johnson

Mara Lynn Johnson

Mara Lynn Johnson is a volunteer with Thoroughbred Placement Resources in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. As a volunteer she provides administrative assistance to the organization as well as helps out in the barn.

She is a veteran of the United States Air Force, holds a B.A. in Public Relations and Marketing from Ashford University, and an M.A in Organizational Management, also from Ashford University.

Mara's hobbies include needlework, scrapbooking, camping, shoe shopping, and once a year she travels to a ranch in the Colorado Rockies and enjoys western-style horseback riding.

Debra Lopez
Debra Lopez with Sonya

Debra Lopez

Debra Lopez is a volunteer with Special Equestrians in Warrington, Pennsylvania. "I grew up with a love of horses, and was lucky enough to own several during my teenage years in northern Minnesota. Taking care of them and riding (Western style) was truly my passion."

That wonderful interest took a backseat when Debra headed off to college, got married and raised her family. As a change of careers in later life, she returned to school and became an RN. After retiring from her nursing career in 2009, Debra looked for volunteer opportunities online and found one that immediately rekindled her interest in horses.

"Volunteering at Special Equestrians was exactly what I was looking for - a chance to use my time to do something worthwhile to help people, and to be able to work with horses again. It was a dream come true! The kids and adults who participate in the program, the staff and volunteers, and of course the horses make it a totally awesome way to give back!"

Debra Randolph
Debra (DJ) Randolph

Debra Randolph

Debra Randolph is a volunteer with True Innocents Equine Rescue – TIER in Riverside, California. Born in Pocatello, Idaho, Debra currently lives in Orange County and works for a small manufacturing company as their H. R. Manager. She's married with one son and has one rescue dog and one rescued cat; her interests: horses, reading, art, movies and volunteering!

"I volunteer at TIER because I have loved horses my whole life. The opportunity to help in any small way the abused and abanded horses that come through TIER is a blessing not a chore. I am just glad to be a small part of it."

Sanna Roling
Sanna Roling with Dewey

Sanna Roling

Sanna Roling would have to be described as a "lifer" - a lifelong horse lover and volunteer. She is a full-time special education teacher and the founder of three horsemanship programs for persons with disabilities. "I believe that people with disabilities CAN DO and I try to prove that statement seven days a week in everything I do."

Currently, Sanna volunteers her time as the President and lead instructor of Dream Catcher Stables, Inc., in Spring, Texas. Having been a volunteer stable helper as a teenager, Sanna established Dream Catcher Stables to operate as an all-volunteer facility. The programs are operated on the weekends free of charge.

Sanna is a CHA Certified Riding Instructor Level 3 English and Level 2 Western, a PATH International Registered Instructor and Equine Facilitated Mental Health Specialist.

CHAMPIONS is the EQUUS Foundation's incentive-based equine service volunteer program sponsored by Ariat International to recognize and reward individuals and organizations on the carrots4acause network.

It's easy to become a CHAMPION, an individual must log a minimum of 24 volunteer hours from January 1st to December 31st. The volunteer hours will be verified by the organization and The EQUUS Foundation.

To learn more about the Champions program, visit

carrots4acause carrots4acause carrots4acause carrots4acause

About The EQUUS Foundation

The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to ensuring the well-being of horses, fostering the horse-human bond, advancing the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to power, teach and heal. 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:, Website:

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


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