The Good People for Good Horses Awards recognize the incredible work done daily on behalf of horses in transition. From the hardworking volunteers who show up day in and day out to the incredible storytellers who are shining a bright light on equine adoption, we are thrilled to celebrate the heroes in our community who make a difference.
In 2020, we had an outstanding group of nominees who’ve had a powerful impact in their fields. In the end, nine individuals in eight categories have been honored for their contributions to promoting adoption and improving equine welfare in the United States.
If you feel inspired by their great work and commitment, become a hero for horses in your own community! Access our toolkit to find ways you can spread awareness about equine adoption and make a positive impact on at-risk horses.
Meet the 2020 Good People for Good Horses winners
Veterinarian, East Region – Dr. Shannon Reed
Non-profit served: Retired Racehorse Project
“Shannon is not only dedicated to the OTTB breed, she also values mentorship and community engagement. Shannon assembled a team of a dozen vet students and multiple vets from local practices to efficiently assess over 350 horses during the 2019 arrival exams. She also led an initiative to engage the vets of the 2020 Makeover trainers, sending letters to their practices explaining how they could best support their competing clients during the most pivotal year in an OTTB’s life.”
With a deep passion and commitment to the Thoroughbred breed, Dr. Shannon Reed was instrumental in the development, implementation and ongoing improvement of the arrival exam at the Thoroughbred Makeover. The exam ensures higher welfare for adopted and adoptable horses through the Retired Racehorse Project. She is committed to the breed and also provides no-cost webinars, consultations and advice to trainers participating in the event. She’s worked to engage the veterinary community, and veterinarians treating participating horses, to provide better welfare for participating Thoroughbreds.
Veterinarian, Central Region – Dr. “Trish” Teersteg
Non-profit served: Humane Society of North Texas
“Dr. Trish is a constant, important player in our equine rescue. Day or night, I have direct access to ask Dr. Trish questions, request assistance, and schedule appointments. She is so generous with her time and her knowledge.”
Owner and operator of the Exclusively Equine Ambulatory Practice, Dr. Trish Teersteg is an invaluable contributor to Humane Society of North Texas’ rehoming efforts by providing medical care and evaluation to their herd of adoptable equines. Dr. Teersteg is always ready to support the organization’s mission and makes her vast knowledge available to HSNT’s team both during the workday and after hours. This past year, she fostered and cared for an orphan foal and then later found him his perfect adoptive home through her network of clients.
Veterinarian, West Region – Dr. Stacy Whitton
Non-profit served: Dumb Friends League
“She is always there for us, many times at a moment’s notice. She does every part of her job with extreme care and passion and is always looking out for the best interest of the horse. She also invests in our education, by teaching staff things we can do to treat horses ourselves as much as possible. In addition, she will take time out of her schedule to help teach veterinary students when they come to Harmony to get hands-on experience.”
Dr. Stacy Whitton has been essential to the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center in preparing and supporting horses for adoption. She works closely with the organization to do intake exams for owner relinquishments before they come to the rescue’s facility, in addition to proving all manner of veterinary care to the organization’s adoptable residents. In addition to providing discounted services, she provides supplies and invests in the staff’s education by teaching them basic equine-care techniques, which allows her to amplify her impact and help more horses.
Trainer – Jamie Jennings
Non-profit served: Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation
“Jamie has become an integral part of Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation. Since our partnership we have gone from adopting 30 horses a year to 90 in 2020.”
Long-time horse trainer and three-day eventing competitor Jamie Jennings found her passion for natural horsemanship after watching a Monty Roberts demonstration. After training under Monty at the prestigious Flag Is Up Farms, Jennings partnered with Oklahoma-based non-profit Horse and Hound to retrain their retiring thoroughbred racehorses for second careers. Jenning’s training methods, combined with her social media reach, have tripled Horse and Hound’s adoption efforts in the past year. In 2020, her contributions to the rescue allowed them to find 90 horses adoptive homes.
Community Partner – Tannetta van Vlissingen
Non-profit served: Horses With Hope, Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals
“Tet and the staff of her remarkable organization have made all the difference for so many Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals’ horses awaiting adoption. The joint venture has been a remarkable success, achieving nearly a dozen heartwarming adoptions.”
Tannetta van Vlissingen is the founder and owner of a retraining facility in Hope, Maine, that serves as a critical partner for the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA). Once a horse has been rehabilitated in the shelter, the MSSPA horses are transferred to van Vlissingen’s state-of-the-art Horses with Hope facility for professional training to prepare for adoption. The training, marketing, and preparation is critical to helping the horses find new homes and adopters.
Farrier – Trey Rogers
Non-profit served: Easy R Equine Rescue
“Trey Rogers is different. He started working with our horses about a year and a half ago. He has been nothing but patient and kind with them. Even the most difficult ones. If he needs to train them for a little bit, he does it in a matter-of-fact way, without being harsh or aggressive.”
A horseman at his core, Trey Rogers is the owner of 7R Livestock and Equine Services in Lorenzo, Texas. Through his business, Rogers offers sales preparation, training and farrier services. Rogers is integral to Easy R Equine Rescue’s rehabilitation and rehoming efforts through his consistent, and meticulous, attention to the adoptable horse’s foot care. In addition to providing both regular and corrective farrier services, he continues to step up for horses in transition by lending the rescue a hand any time needed, and even helps raise funds for the organization.
Volunteer – Steve Casselman
Non-profit served: Love This Horse Equine Rescue
“He is one of the hardest–working volunteers that we have encountered at our rescue. In addition to volunteering, Steve has spent his personal money from his part-time paid job to buy supplies for the rescue. Moreover, for Steve, coming to our rescue to help with the hard physical work is not just a volunteer opportunity, but he takes ownership and pride in helping our horses.”
An invaluable volunteer for Love This Horse Equine Rescue in Mojave, California, Steve Casselman’s ongoing contribution to rescue operations are an important piece of their success. Casselman started volunteering through Desert Haven Enterprises. During his two-year volunteer tenure at the rescue, he has been appreciated for his work ethic, reliability and dedication to caring for the horses and keeping the rescue clean. He has contributed supplies and other critically needed items to support the rescue’s daily operations, ultimately helping the facility run smoothly and facilitate quality adoptions.
Wild Card – Judy and Gary Bush
Non-profit served: Nexus Equine
“We are moved to nominate them because they were thrilled to begin the journey of Nexus right in their own backyard! They realized that we were a startup, grassroots organization and allowed us to be there rent– and utility–free—and still do today. They absolutely love what we are doing and are so proud to be a part. Gary checks on the horses every night and they both get to know each one who passes through their home.”
Judy and Gary Bush are longtime horse lovers, and for many years were a staple on the Morgan horse show circuit. After retiring from horse ownership, their beautiful horse property in Edmond, Oklahoma, remained unused for many years. In 2016, Nexus Equine was envisioned as a non-profit that could support and transition at-risk horses in the greater Oklahoma City area. The organization was positioned for success, but lacked a physical location for their lifesaving work; that is, until Judy and Gary Bush stepped forward and offered to donate use of their property. Nexus Equine has operated out of Judy and Gary’s property ever since and has helped hundreds of horses safely transition into new homes.