The Aviva Community Fund has helped raise:


The 2014 Aviva Community Fund is complete.

Congratulations to all our Winners. See Winners

Grand Prize Winner
2012 Winner

The Compassion Project

ACF13790 Earth Spirit Horse Rescue Quispamsis, New Brunswick

Created September 26, 2012 by Christy Clarke


Quispamsis, New Brunswick

Funding Level

$50k - $100k (< 2014)

Community Size

More than 1,000


The rescue horses are key to the ‘Horse Wisdom’ program which has been very helpful to many of our youth at the Boys and Girls Club. The kids, mostly teens, have walked away from their experience with a profound understanding of their own power, their ability to set their own boundaries, their inherent goodness and capacity for caring, compassion and leadership – very empowering experience...” -Cony Brienza Board of Directors, Boys & Girls Club, Saint John

Who We Are:
Earth Spirit Horse Rescue (ESHR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a legacy of positive change throughout all of New Brunswick. Our mission is to rescue and rehabilitate abused, neglected and slaughter-bound horses while responding to the tremendous emotional and mental health crisis surrounding at-risk and disadvantaged youth. Through unique Human-Horse interactions, we utilise our rescued horses in heart healing programs directed specifically toward our younger generation to create a better future for everyone.

The Problem:
Part 1: Horses are the 3rd most abused and neglected animals in Canada, next only to dogs and cats. Our province has no official shelter dedicated to helping them. Unwanted horses are frequently abandoned to slaughterhouses, where they get subjected to a horrific environment prior to being shot and butchered for human consumption. Most rescue organizations are only equipped to serve small animals, and thousands of horses in our province are left suffering, without hope.

Part 2: According to NB Child & Youth Advocate, New Brunswick has the greatest demand for mental and emotional support of youth across Canada. With both economic hardships and divorce rates increasing, nearly an entire generation of youth is exposed to broken homes, often suffering in poverty. Our youth are struggling to cope with the intense mental and emotional stresses. Devastatingly, statistics prove that depression, incarceration, and suicide are increasingly the results with suicide being the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10-24. This number does not include those who have either thought of or attempted to commit suicide. Additionally, 3.2 million youth in Canada ages 12 -19 are at risk of developing depression and specifically the NB youth incarceration rate in 2009 was three times higher than other provinces including Quebec and BC.

Our Solution:
Winning funds will buy/build our rescue stable and youth classroom, establishing a healing center that will last decades & impact thousands of lives around our province. Not only will ESHR be the first therapeutic animal-rescue facility in NB, but it will also be one where at-risk and disadvantaged youth from across the province will come to experience the therapeutic benefits of working with rescue horses. Partnered with professionally designed programs, our rescued horses lead the way in teaching Horse Wisdom to a generation in need.

Community Impact:
Some help animals. Others help youth. We help both. Our operation is about fostering lasting change in the world, helping youth find their own voice while caring and speaking for animals that cannot speak for themselves.

Youth Programs:
Through our Horse Wisdom – Youth Empowerment & Leadership Training programs youth work with rescued horses to learn about respect, emotional intelligence and compassion. This is a very effective way of getting youth in touch with their authentic self. Given the trauma and chaos in the lives of many of our children, this is big. The growth we are seeing in the youth is in how they are managing themselves - their boundaries, their emotions, their behaviour - BIG! Working together with horses, youth develop self-confidence, communication skills, and learn how to set and respect healthy boundaries - life-changing skills that can break cycles of depression and impact their whole future.

Horse Rescue:
Every horse rescued is a life saved, and so much more. These special horses become counselors for at-risk youth, offering a level of healing and compassionate understanding that exceeds traditional therapy programs. The positive impact is exponential.  

Our pilot program with the youth from the Boys and Girls Club was a huge success. “Profound healing...Life changing...the most Amazing and insightful experience of my life!” are just a few of the testimonials that speak volumes about the need for, and future success of our innovative programs. Several programs have been professionally designed by PhD candidate Christy Clarke for larger scale impact and we are building partnerships with local youth-serving agencies to ensure long-term sustainability for our program delivery. 

Many youth organizations that ESHR has engaged with, have shown a committed interest in our Horse Wisdom Programs for their youth. We need to build the facility where this magic can happen. Without the facility our ability to provide these programs is not possible.

We bring youth together with horses, healing hearts & inspiring potential. It's a big vision, and one that will change & save countless lives as it is realized! Help us build a legacy of positive change.