Freedom Hill Horse Rescue (FHHR) in Owings, Maryland has been celebrating the ASPCA (R), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, national Help A Horse Day, by hosting a series of community events throughout the month of April. The theme for this year’s activities is HEART, with the aim of “Helping Equines through Art.”
Despite a rainy day, over 600 people attended the Ponypalooza event on Saturday, April 23 in Owings, Maryland. The event was free of charge to all ages and was designed to raise awareness about horse rescue, volunteer opportunities and equine-assisted learning programs available to youth in the area. Attendance on Saturday was triple the attendance at last year’s event.
Participants watched the rescue horses play musical chairs, ran the Kiddie Steeplechase, went on an educational scavenger hunt and made Kentucky Derby hats. There were demonstrations and talks on natural horsemanship, equine-assisted learning, taking equine vital signs, responsible horsemanship and equine healing arts. There was also face painting, balloon animals, a petting zoo and food vendors.
FHHR also conducted a nationwide youth art contest during April, inspiring participants to illustrate the positive side of horse rescue. Art submissions were made in the first half of April and the winners were announced and art displayed at the Ponypalooza event.
Enough funds were raised during the April activities to cover the full cost of care for three rescue horses for one full year. Additionally, thirty people attending Ponypalooza expressed interest in becoming volunteers for the organization, an important result, as FHHR is an all-volunteer team. Over sixty volunteers helped with Ponypalooza, about half from the community, including Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls.
Executive Director Kristy Alvarez said, “We had a great outpouring of support from the community with hundreds of visitors coming out to participate in the day’s festivities, submit artwork for our Youth Art Competition and meet and learn about the horses of FHHR.” She continued, “I want to thank all of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and event planning committee, vendors, clinicians, supporters, attendees and of course our rescue horses for making our Help a Horse Day event such a huge success.”
Founded in 2004, Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is dedicated to rescuing senior and special needs horses from neglect, abuse, abandonment and slaughter. The organization strives to improve the lives of horses by providing a safe haven for healing and rehabilitation, while working with equine partners to educate, inspire and improve the lives of youth and their families. In 2015 thirty horses were helped, bringing the total helped since 2004 to 275; over 500 people attended education and out reach events; 26 new volunteers were recruited; and over 15,000 volunteer hours were worked. Additionally, four horses received Angel sponsorships, FHHR held 45 sessions in horse care, horsemanship and continues to hold weekly equine training clinics.
For more information about Freedom Hill Horse Rescue, visit