August 10, 2010
Contact: Larry Kinneer
Aurora, CO (August 10, 2010)—The Arabian Horse Foundation (AHF) has announced it awarded $15,000 in grants and youth scholarships this year. Since the Foundation was re-launched three years ago, the nonprofit entity, which is the philanthropic arm of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), has given over $75,000 in grants and scholarships. The AHF recently awarded $5,000 in Scholarships, $5,000 to Rescue and Rehoming of horses, and $5,000 to Equine Research.
“The Foundation is pleased to once again step forward and provide funds for projects that will have a positive impact on the equine world and provide funds to help educate our future leaders,” stated Larry Kinneer, AHF President. “Since the Foundation was successfully re-launched at the 2007 AHA Annual Convention, we have made significant strides in our ability to grant scholarships and fund worthy projects. Our hope is that we continue to grow, with more people making contributions that will enable us to do the work we do.”
The $5,000 grant to Rescue and Rehoming was split evenly between Mountain View Rescue, which is in Columbia, Kentucky and the Emergency Rescue Fund, a new fund set up within the AHF. The grant of $2,500 to Mountain View will be used to help those impacted by the nation’s struggling economy by providing hay on a short term basis for owners who have been financially challenged. New to Mountain View’s program is a low-cost gelding program, designed to encourage gelding intact stallions. This is the second grant to be given to Mountain View. The second designation of $2,500 will be used for emergency situations that require quick evaluation and response.
Carol Darnell, chair of the Foundation’s Rescue and Rehoming Advisory Panel, commented on both gifts. “Mountain View’s use of our grant last year demonstrated how effective a small, well-managed, and well-thought-out rescue can be in addressing real world challenges. Their vision and the execution of that vision earned them our support for a second year. Their programs have the ‘legs’ we seek; the ability to do more for the horses and the equine community than would be expected from the size of our grant. We feel that the new gelding clinic program will demonstrate the same kind of ‘legs’.” She continued, “We are delighted to have seed money for the emergency fund which carries the tentative title, ‘Horses’ Distress Fund.’ We are actively pursuing additional funding sources. It’s disheartening to be approached for emergency funds, only to have to send people in need elsewhere. Now we will be in a position to act. Our goal is to be able to assist in both man-made and natural emergencies, but we’re going to need a lot more than our initial seed money! Yes, I’m asking!”
The Foundation directed $5,000 to Equine Research, with $2,500 going to work at UC Davis, and $2,500 going to Cornell University. The Foundation has funded projects at both institutions previously with evidence of significant progress as a result of funding.
The $2,500 to UC Davis will be directed to the work of Dr. Cecilia Penedo in the continuing efforts to refine the search for the mutation that causes Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA), a degenerative condition of the brain caused by the death of neurons called Purkinje cells, resulting in a severe lack of coordination. Most affected horses are euthanized before adulthood. Evidence indicates that CA is widespread in the Arabian breed.
The $2,500 to Cornell University will go toward research into Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Equine Cushing’s Disease (ECD) in the Arabian. The grant will fund the work of Dr. Samantha Brooks and Cassy Streeter. A frequent complication of EMS, also known as Insulin Resistance, and ECD is laminitis and laminitis, in turn, is one of the most common causes of lameness and death in the horse.
Beth Minnich, chair of the Foundation’s Equine Research Advisory Panel, commented on the two recommendations made by the Advisory Panel. “Continuing to support the research on Cerebellar Abiotrophy is very important. These funds will be used to incorporate whole genome scanning, utilizing the Equine 50K SNP chip into the project. This upcoming work will provide a strong base of data to continue moving the research forward to identify the causative mutation for CA and reach the ultimate goal of developing a direct DNA test.” In addition, Minnich stated, “Arabians are a breed affected by EMS and ECD, so to be able to define genetic markers associated with a predisposition to these diseases would help tremendously in being able to identify at risk horses, properly manage affected horses and potentially assist in developing therapies for treatment. Additionally, the influence of the Arabian breed in the development of many modern breeds will assist in the identification of these genetic markers among a variety of horse populations.”
“Our Foundation Advisory Panels consistently do a wonderful job of researching and evaluating the best projects for the Foundation to fund,” Kinneer said.
Ten youth were awarded scholarships by the Foundation. Jim Cada, Foundation Treasurer and chair of the Scholarship Advisory Panel, commented, “We continue to be pleased with the quality of applications for scholarships. It is always rewarding to help a young person achieve their dreams and potential by furthering their education. Many parents continue to struggle with the economy and the need to support their children in their efforts to continue their education. It is good that the Foundation can provide help with this need.” Serving with Cada on the panel is Nancy Harvey, Foundation Secretary.
The AHF Scholarship winners are: Carissa Grisham of Southlake, Texas; Bethany Dewey of Newfane, New York; Breanne Ensor of Heath, Texas (winner of the Jon Ostermeier Scholarship); Lucy Rutt of Denver, Pennsylvania (winner of the Don Thompson Scholarship); Matthew Christian Hoffman of Hastings, Minnesota (winner of the Norm Dunn Scholarship); Melanie Ray of Wichita, Kansas (winner of the Myron Krause Scholarship); Robbin LeJune of Lota, Louisiana; Lindsay Jones of Corvallis, Oregon; Kaitlyn Zurek of Howell, Michigan; and Ethan Hendrickson of Friendswood, Texas.
“In order to continue supporting worthwhile projects and scholarships, the Foundation will continue to look to the AHA membership to help with donations,” Kinneer said. “Perhaps one of the most positive things to happen to the Foundation within the last year was adding the check-off box on the online membership form. People are checking this box and donating amounts ranging from $5 to $100. The Foundation board is deeply appreciative of those who are choosing this easy way to donate. A reminder also, that one can make a contribution through PayPal. If everyone makes a contribution, no matter how large or small, it will help us achieve our goals.”
Other board members in addition to Kinneer, Cada and Harvey, are Lollie Ames, Vice President, Frank Galovic and C.A. Butler. For more information about the Foundation, visit the web site at www.arabianhorsefoundation.org