This week on All My Children Wear Fur Coats, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ashley Harkins, the current director of the United Horse Coalition, and Emily Stearns, the program manager of the Equine Welfare Data Collective.

Ashley is a pre-veterinary science graduate from the University of Vermont, focusing on equine science. She has 14 years of experience managing a horse and livestock rehabilitation program and serving as a local certified animal control officer handling neglect and abuse cases. She recognizes the importance of the UHC’s mission and spends her free time with her 28-year-old adopted gelding, Sammy, who helps to instill a love for horses in children and her horse enthusiast husband.

Emily holds an MSC in Equine Science from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She considers herself a horse girl and grew up eventing in Massachusetts. Her experience includes equine research, managing horse farms, animal care and adoption counseling, and teaching at the University of New Hampshire and post-university equine programs. She enjoys riding, traveling, and hiking with her dogs in her free time. Emily is excited to manage the EWDC and to bring this resource to the public.

Established in 2006, the United Horse Coalition is a neutral entity and broad alliance of equine organizations that have joined together under the American Horse Council to educate, advocate, and collaborate industry-wide on solutions to the issues that surround our nation’s at-risk horses and those in transition. The work that UHC does helps to ensure that every horse owner has access to the resources they need to keep their horse(s) safe at home should they fall on hard times, or barring that, help provide options to rehome their horse responsibly, ensuring that no horse need be put in a situation where they become at-risk.  In addition to these essential resources, the UHC provides free presentations and educational materials to current and prospective equine owners on responsible horse ownership and breeding, estate planning, preparing for euthanasia and aftercare, responsible rehoming options, and more.

“One of the biggest things that we’re also trying to do is remove the stigma and the judgment behind it, that it is okay to make a decision to euthanize your horse.  Nobody should be judging you for that. It’s a decision that’s between you and your vet, depending on your horse’s circumstances.” – Ashley

The United Horse Coalition provides assistance programs to over 900 rescues and sanctuaries, and financial resources for owners in need.  They encourage horse owners to reach out for help.

Learn more about United Horse Coalition

Visit their website at to learn more about how you can help and understand more about their advocacy efforts.

Our pets are family too! To learn more about protecting your loved pets with a Pet Trust, visit


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