Hello, and welcome to the website of The Horse Fund and the Int’l Fund for Horses. I am Vivian Grant Farrell, our founding President. Here is a bit about myself.
Horses have influenced my entire life. I cannot remember a time when horses have not been a part of it.
My dad and uncle took me to my first horse race when I was about 9 months old at Haydock Park in Liverpool, England not far from where I was born. I rode around all day on my father’s shoulders full of glee. He said I was never a moment’s trouble.
But my experience with horses goes back even further than that. It goes back to the day I was brought home from the hospital a few days after I was born.
My dad carried me from the car — not into the house — but straight to the barn where the horses seemed to be waiting for us. The horses were very curious about what was in that little blanket.
Then he took me around to each horse in turn to let them gently blow their breath on me through their nostrils. He said he prayed that I would have in some part the same spirit as these amazing animals he adored so much.
Because we always had horses around, I began helping out with them mornings and evenings, mucking out as soon as I was able to handle a fork and a barrow.
I took up riding at a very early age of course. Nothing could have been more natural. I never rode with any tack until my early teens.
It was all Thoroughbreds when I was in England, and not until we came to America that I met a Quarter Horse. What a jolly breed they are. And if they are remotely capable of doing what you ask them, they will try to do it.
When I married and lived in Texas, we boarded all sorts of horses and this was when I had my first experience with gaited horses, having a gorgeous Missouri Foxtrotter resident with us.
Later, after I was widowed I left America to return to England and settled in the north. I took up work as a photographer at the local racecourses travelling no further south than York. But my career blossomed, and I eventually relocated to racing headquarters, Newmarket, Suffolk, and spent many happy years photographing some of the world’s most beautiful and talented horses on the flat and over the jumps in the UK and Europe. I was even lucky enough once to draw a coveted position at The Chair for the Aintree Grand National (I usually got the water jump!).
Years later saw my return to America with my second husband who worked for a breeder/owner who raced Thoroughbreds.
I began to witness things done to horses that greatly disturbed me that I had not seen go on anywhere else I had worked or lived. I began to ask questions, to speak up. It is no exaggeration to say that this made me wildly unpopular to the point I was warned off.
My husband was ready to quit anyway and return to Ireland because he couldn’t handle what he saw or what he was asked to do. But I could not follow him because I had too many animals who would have to be quarantined and I couldn’t bear to give even one of them up. And couldn’t afford to keep them in quarantine for the required 6 months (at that time).
So back to my old stomping ground in Texas I went.
Shortly after I arrived, I was shocked to learn that horses were being slaughtered there for their meat for human consumption.
From here you can pick up the rest of the story of how I got involved in horse advocacy in Part 1 of this section.
You will also learn more about the organization I founded and still run today in Part 2 and Part 3 such as what we do, how we do it and some of our results.
If you love horses and are grateful for them, we invite you to find a way to get involved.
It doesn’t have to be anything big — although we would naturally love it if you are inspired to do big things.
But this is what I have found over many years:
When a group of people take the same steps together at the same time towards good, big things — what some might even call miraculous — happen.
And our horses need you to be one of those people, however and whenever you can. No act of compassion is ever too small and never goes unrewarded.
Thank you for stopping by and visiting with us.
For the Love of Horses,
Founded by Vivian Grant Farrell, The Horse Fund got its start on February 3, 2003 with a grassroots group of 200 advocates called Texans for Horses.
Our success in Texas garnered national attention and rapidly expanded to include horse lovers from around the United States.
The group incorporated as a not for profit charity on September 16, 2003, under the name The Fund for Horses. As our influence reached beyond the United States, The Fund for Horses amended its name to Int’l Fund for Horses on June 7, 2004.
In 2014, we re-organized under the name of The Horse Fund to demonstrate our shift away from lobbying and toward intervention and education.
2017 marks our 14th year advocating for horses.
The mission of The Horse Fund is to promote the health, safety and welfare of equines both domestic and in the wild.
History shows that the equine has been a vital part in the expansion and development of civilized cultures.
Horses have been bred, lived, worked and died to suit our purposes.
Horses are not a commodity, but sentient beings with a high degree of physical, emotional and spiritual sensitivity.
Horses do not belong to us, but are our fellow citizens. Their wants, desires and needs are to be respected.
To inflict pain, suffering and anguish on horses in any way is immoral and a gross act of ingratitude and betrayal.
The Horse Fund is firmly committed to fulfilling our Mission through peaceful and lawful means. Therefore we will neither knowingly nor willingly participate in or condone, incite or promote others to participate in any unlawful or unpeaceful activities, nor will we harass, encourage others to harass, or support those who do.
The Horse Fund is the single most influential watchdog organization dedicated to the protection of equines.
What We Do
• Educate the public on horse welfare issues
• Develop and maintain a large, well-informed and active constituent base
• Help to draft horse protection resolutions, orders and legislation
• Lobby for the passage of horse protection legislation and the enforcement of existing laws
• Develop and implement successful horse protection campaigns to raise awareness and rally for change
• Advise government agencies and appointed officials on horse welfare policies and oversight
• Work with industry leaders on how to better the lives of the horses they employ
• Conduct lawful, private investigations into breaches of horse welfare practices, laws and regulations
How We Do It
• Educate grassroots advocates regarding lobbying procedures, techniques and etiquette
• Employ and mentor political, governmental and industry lobbyists
• Street team to meet and greet the public and raise awareness
• Billboard advertising
• Press releases, statements and editorials
• Table at equine events
• Design and distribute door hangers, posters, pamphlets and flyers
• Sponsor research
• Fund private investigations
• Assist and advice law enforcement regarding crimes against horses
• Take legal action
Who Does It
The Horse Fund is driven by a dynamic team of volunteer advocates.
Our President Vivian Grant Farrell is responsible for the smooth day-to-day operation of the organization. She is supported by a solid administrative team to accomplish this. Additionally, Vivian personally oversees every campaign.
Vivian also edits Tuesday’s Horse and comes up with many of the concepts and campaigns you see here at the Fund.
Public education activities are performed by staff, volunteers and interns who have press, media, video, graphic arts, audio and event management skills.
Intervention work is conducted by volunteer researchers, analysts, writers and issue leaders collaborating with a network of skilled “go to” professionals and highly placed experts in all sectors of the horse industry.
Legislative work is carried out with the assistance of top lobbyists, strategists and political insiders who help our political action team write, promote and enact new and stronger horse protection laws.
Where We Do It
Our staff and volunteers work in home-based offices.
For our staff and volunteers, working in their own space and setting their own hours gives them the flexibility and convenience necessary to work for us.
This gives our organization the freedom to recruit from among the most highly skilled and knowledgeable staff available unrestricted by where they work and what they do.
Additionally, working this way substantially reduces our overheads, and allows us to build a phenomenal team without the usual hiring constraints.
During re-organization, The Horse Fund moved its administrative offices to Louisville, Kentucky.
As of this writing, The Horse Fund has four staff and just over 120 volunteers working virtually around the clock in 13 countries including the U.S.
We also from time to time employ legal professionals, veterinary specialists and private investigators on an ad hoc basis.
What the Press says about us: