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Willowview Hill Farm


Making The World Of Difference – OTTB Brennan Inspires A Welfare Legacy
By CH Staff

Linda Pavey with her personal horse, Argonne.

There are many folks out in the equestrian world doing their bit to help care for neglected horses. Linda Pavey is one of them. In 2000, Pavey established the Brennan Equine Welfare Fund to carry on the memory of her equine companion, Brennan (J.B.'s Hero), an off-the-track Thoroughbred. Brennan Equine Welfare Fund is a non-breed, non-discipline specific organization believing that all horses, regardless of their breeding, training, age or stature in life, are deserving of respect and dignity.

If you have ever considered starting up your own business to help rescues or sanctuaries that need funding, Pavey has some sage advice. Catskill Horse interviewed Pavey to find out more about how the funding works and what guidance Pavey can offer to others interesting in lending a hand to help secure much needed financial help for rescues and sanctuaries

Brennan (J.B.'s Hero)

CH: Can you tell us how Brennan Equine Welfare Fund locates the invite only rescues or sanctuaries it considers for funding. What geographical area do you cover? What tips the scales in favor of one over the other/pre-requisites etc? How do you monitor how the funding you provide is utilized?

Pavey: At Brennan Equine Welfare Fund (BEWF) (a Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation), we select only the most outstanding, well-run equine rescue/rehabilitation/retraining/retirement or re-homing organizations to issue an invitation to. BEWF is a non-breed, non-discipline specific granting 501(c)3 organization and our geographical area for both invitations and grants is the entire USA. Many of our grantees are repeat grant recipients, but we also do extensive research and information gathering about other organizations that we may consider.

Sunny, a retired therapy horse sponsored by Brennan Equine Welfare Fund at Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship. Sunny, in his younger years, was featured in The Book of the Horse as a perfect example of a Leopard Appaloosa. Following, he was in the Breeds Barn at the Kentucky Horse Park. He then served as a therapy horse, helping many children and young adults, and is now retired under sponsorship from Brennan Equine Welfare Fund.When making our final decision on whom to grant, we take into consideration if they meet BEWF’s Mission, the operations at that particular facility, as well as their need, their commitment to their equines, if they have a strong adoption contract that offers a no-breeding clause (if they offer adoptions), and whether or not they may be accredited by Global Foundation for Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) or Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA). 

After providing a grant, we monitor how the grant funding is utilized by requiring specific requirements including a final report where all expenditures and receipts must be documented and submitted, along with photos and copies of press statements. 

CH: Can you share with us the organizations that you have funded in the past few years ( I realize you have been operating since 2000), and how the funding has been used?

Pavey: Some of the Thoroughbred-focused organizations we have granted in the past few years are The Exceller Fund (multiple foster locations in the USA), Re-Run (NY), and Glen Ellen Vocational Academy (CA). Some of the multi-breed facilities we have granted recently are Kentucky Equine Adoption Center (KY), Duchess Sanctuary (OR), Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement (CT), Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship (OH) and Brook Hill Retirement Center for Horses (VA).

The usage for our grant funding to these organizations has included sponsorship/retirement, farrier and veterinary care, capital improvements, and medications such as Prascend for aged retirees with EMS/Cushings issues.

CH: Can you tell us a bit about your usual daily routine? Are you working full-time on the welfare fund? Is running/operating a welfare fund as rewarding as it sounds? 

Pavey: Personally, working on BEWF is a full-time job, but the amount of time varies daily depending on the time of year it is. As I write this (August, 2020), we have just made our annual grants, and the work associated with that, including paperwork, press, newsletters, social media, etc. has been completed. Daily/weekly social media posts and BEWF news is ongoing. Speaking engagements are also booked year round. Towards the end of year, we gear up for the end-of-year fundraising, so it is our busiest time. To work on BEWF is immensely rewarding. Everything I do has BEWF’s namesake behind it. I am happy to carry on Brennan’s memory and I am happy to have so many great supporters that allow us to help so many equines in need.

CH: If someone was interested in starting up an organization similar to Brennan Equine Welfare Fund, what advice would you give them? Do’s/Don’ts etc.

Pavey: I would highly encourage anyone to start up an organization similar to BEWF. There are so many horses out there that need assistance! It is imperative to get a 501(C)3 established. Also, it is essential to establish a Mission Statement and adhere to that.

Criteria for applying organizations/grant funding should be very strict to allow for the funds to be used to help the most respectable/responsible organizations and to make sure that the funds are really going directly to the horses and that there is accountability for those funds.

CH: What would you consider your greatest success story to date that the fund has helped? One that has touched your heart the most?

Angel: Before and AfterPavey: While there is not just one success story, as multiple horses have been assisted over the years, one horse stands out as she represented how we at BEWF feel that every horse, no matter breed, discipline, or circumstance, is deserving of dignity and a lifetime of care. Her name was Angel. Found in a feedlot, soon to ship to slaughter, a Good Samaritan found an emaciated and weak chestnut Thoroughbred mare and turned her over to Friends of Ferdinand (IN).

Given the name Angel at that time, it was known that she was an aged mare, but because of not being able to read her lip tattoo that would positively identify her, the vet could only tell by her teeth that she was approximately 28 years old. Because her condition was so desperate, it took months of rehabilitation and veterinary care to bring her back. Angel was cared for by a foster family, and with multiple grants from BEWF over 8+ years, her sponsorship was carried while she lived out her days in freedom with rolling green pastures, other equine friends, and the best of care.

Angel had to be humanely euthanized due to infirmities of old age when she was 36 years old. We were honored to be a part of Angel’s recovery and good quality of life until it was her time.

CH: Do you have any forthcoming events/fundraisers you would like to share news about?

Pavey: Sadly, because of COVID-19, we do not have any in-person fundraisers planned. We continue to spread the word about BEWF through email and postal mail communications as well as on social media. Close to the end of the year, BEWF will have a $10k Matching Gift Opportunity, where every cent of every donation will be matched, until $10k is reached. This is a wonderful opportunity to support our work as each donation can go twice as far during our 2021 grant cycle. It is also a great opportunity to get in a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year.

If you are interested in learning more about BEWF, please visit their website at https://www.brennanequinewelfarefund.com