Just one of the beautiful portraits from the 2014 fundraising calendar, Horses and Hope.
There's a bare spot on the wall in my office. You can't see it, but I know it's there. Over the past two years, sunlight has faded the paint except where my ?Horses and Hope? calendar has hung in its place of honor each year.
Soon I'll be taking the 2013 calendar down and replacing it with the shiny new 2014 edition. I'll see that bare spot and remember that this calendar has become a tradition.
You may have a bare spot on your wall, too. Or maybe you should.
Today is Cyber Monday, the day when we are all supposed to be on the web clicking like mad to take advantage of the great deals that merchants are offering.
But tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. That's the day we're supposed to click on our favorite charities? donation pages, and make sure that some of our holiday largesse goes to those who need it.
Here's a way to combine Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday into one keystroke: order the Horses and Hope Calendar for your own wall...and for your horse-loving friends, colleagues, professionals and supporters. You can't give too many of these this holiday season.
What is Horses and Hope?
As in previous years, the 2014 Horses and Hope calendar benefits One Horse At A Time (?OHAAT?), a Kentucky-based 501(c)(3) non-profit equine advocacy group that awards grants to equine rescues and individuals in need.
Where does the money go? OHAAT used the Horses and Hope donations from the 2012 and 2013 calendars to award gelding and emergency medical grants, host stallion castration clinics, and distribute emergency feed for more than 600 horses.
And those donations are no small potatoes: they currently total around $80,000. Sales from the 2014 calendar should cross the $100,000 mark.
Sarah K. Andrew took the calendar?s photos at farms and rescues in Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Since January 2010, Andrew has worked with a network of volunteers and photographed over 5,000 horses who needed homes or were are at risk of entering the slaughter pipeline.
When she's not at auctions and rescue farms, Sarah's at elite horse races and equestrian sport events. She's noted for her photography of horses in competition. She balances the top horses in the USA with the horses at the bottom, and manages to portray both as noble and compelling, each in their own ways.
Chances are, you already know Sarah?s portraits of homeless horses. They pop up all over the Internet. Less common are her ?after? photos; for the calendar, she looked up some formerly-homeless horses to record them in their new homes. Many have gone on to successful show careers or are beloved companions.
Meanwhile, equine publishing entrepreneur Gina Keesling of Alexandria, Indiana designed and published the calendars. Founded in 1986, her HoofPrints.com online emporium offers farrier, equine, and canine art and products. Her heart is printed on every page in Horses and Hope; you read empathic, inspiring quotes and, when you do, imagine Gina up late putting 100 or so photos together into a jigsaw puzzle design of optimism for what we can do for the horses who need us.
The Horses and Hope calendar guarantees 365 days of feel-good reminders that we can all help horses in small ways. Even if you can't afford a lavish donation to charity this season, you know you need a calendar, and this one will do your soul some good.
And everyone's wall should have a noble bare spot where the paint fades and hope lives.
To learn more:
The 2014 Horses and Hope: Every Horse Has a Story calendar costs $19.95 and is now available at http://www.hoofprints.com/ska. One-hundred percent of the proceeds are donated. In addition to the funds donated to One Horse At A Time, a small portion of the proceeds will be set aside for Simon's Legacy Fund, a project sponsored by New Jersey-based 501(c)(3) organization Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, Inc., to help retired draft horses.
For further information about One Horse At A Time, Inc., contact Penny Austin at 859-402-6790 or visit http://www.onehorseatatime.org.