Equine Welfare Advocacy
The Equine Welfare Advocacy Committee (EWAC) was founded in the mid 1990's by Bruce Hanson, making ASHBA one of the first breed associations to recognize the importance of equine welfare. EWAC is responsible for assisting in seizure situations by helping to identify horses and subsidizing DNA testing (100% for seizure situations). Members of the committee provide expertise, sit in on court hearings and assist with direct payments to vendors.
As EWAC maintains separate funding, not subsidized by membership dues, committee members are also responsible for fund raising. This allows EWAC to provide the Bruce Hanson Grant as well as Emergency Grants to deserving 501c(3) organizations.
EWAC develops educational programs such as "What to do when you can't take care of your horse," presented at the 2023 Convention as well as educational videos.
EWAC is the only committee to ever be awarded the USEF/EQUUS Humanitarian award for the work (much unheralded) they do on behalf of the breed.
The Equine Welfare Advocacy Committee (EWAC), identifies state and national organizations as part of a rescue referral program for membership; evaluates and apprises the Board regarding proposed legislation affecting the Saddlebred industry; seeks to affiliate ASHBA with prominent industry groups, and recommends ways that the ASHBA can be more proactive regarding equine health and welfare issues.
DNA Subsidies are available for horses obtained through auction by 501c(3) organizations or by individuals. Subsidies work as follows:
Bruce Hanson Grant
The Bruce Hanson American Saddlebred Welfare Grant is named in honor of the late Bruce Hanson. Bruce had a great concern for the welfare of the American Saddlebred, and through Bruce’s efforts, ASHBA's Equine Welfare Advocacy Committee. Bruce served as the chairman of the Committee and made the first contribution in support of this grant program.
The purpose of a Bruce Hanson American Saddlebred Welfare Grant is to promote and support the welfare of American Saddlebreds that might otherwise be in jeopardy. To receive a grant, Applicants must demonstrate their activities in support of the welfare of the American Saddlebred and how the grant money will be used in furtherance of these activities. The Committee expects that such grants will supplement, not substitute, fundraising efforts by the applicant.
For more information, click here.
The purpose of an emergency grant is to assist legitimate 501c(3) rescue organizations when an emergency arises. This could include when they are asked to take on unexpected cases. When equipment breaks down that is not in the budget to repair / replace. When events out of their control (such as inflation / weather incidents) seriously impact the ability of the organization to provide for animals in their care. The emergency grant is not to be considered as a part of regular fund-raising activities and must be shown to be outside of the annual forecasted budget.
For more information, click here.
Home for Life
The Home for Life Network, formerly known as the My Meadows program, encourages members to volunteer to provide a “safety net” for horses they bred or own/owned. This free program allows anyone who is either the breeder or a previous or current owner of registered American Saddlebreds to record their name and contact information with the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association. If a horse ever becomes unwanted, the individual with custody of the horse may visit the horse’s page on the ASHBA website, by searching registered American Saddlebreds, to see if Home for Life Network enrollment has been indicated.
For more information and to enroll, click here.
Ruxer Rescue Horse Classes
Each year, EWAC will sponsor up to ten classes around the country open to Saddlebreds, with or without registration papers, who have been rescued. We have always been proud of our community’s commitment to the welfare of our horses and look forward to providing these individuals and organizations with some small measure of the recognition they deserve. Many thanks to the Ruxer Foundation for providing the initial sponsorship dollars for this worthy class.
To apply, click here.
ASHBA Welfare Statement
In 2016, the ASHBA BOD approved the following welfare statement:
Equine welfare has always been a top priority of the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders' Association and a point of pride in our industry. The ASHBA Equine Welfare Committee was the first, and remains the only, breed-affiliated organization to win the USEF EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian award.
The ASHBA is committed to promoting responsible breeding and ownership. Unfortunately, cases still arise in which owners are no longer able to provide for their horses. In these cases, the ASHBA recommends the sale, lease, or donation of the horse to an appropriate organization or rescue/retirement facility.
When none of these options are available, we believe humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian is a preferable alternative to a life of suffering, inadequate care, or abandonment. The ASHBA is not pro-slaughter.
We encourage our members to report instances of abuse or neglect to local authorities promptly so that appropriate action may be taken. We believe the best defense against cases such as these is education, along with a strong network of owners, breeders, and non-profit organizations working together to prevent the need for rescue. As a recognized USEF affiliate, we also follow the USEF guidelines regarding equine safety and welfare. Please see the USEF Reporting Equine Abuse page for more information, publications and forms.
We also encourage our members to contribute proactively to this effort however they are able—by donating money, time, or supplies to rescues in their area or by fostering or adopting.
As of 2016, identified Saddlebreds purchased at an unauthorized auction, obtained through a legal seizure, or adopted from a rescue organization may be eligible for paper transfer with or without an intact chain of ownership. We appreciate our community’s commitment to the welfare of our wonderful breed and look forward to its bright future.
If you would like to contribute directly to the Equine Welfare Fund of the ASHBA, please click here