Monday was a day made for horse, dog and cat lovers. More than a dozen adoption and rescue groups and four-legged friends in search of forever families were at Hampton Classic for the 6th Annual ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day.
Award-winning animal advocate and network correspondent Jill Rappaport was the emcee for the horse polo and dressage demonstrations at the Anne Aspinall Ring, where seven horses from three local horse rescues, Our Farm Equine Rescue of Connecticut, The Kaeli Kramer Foundation of New York and the Squirrelwood Equine Rescue of New York, were available for meet and greets. Top international riders and equine welfare ambassadors Georgina Bloomberg, Hayley Barnhill, Brianne Goutal, Stacia Madden and special guest and newest ASPCA ambassador Jennifer Gates lent their time to the cause.
“It’s an extremely important day not only because we’re at this wonderful show and care about animals in general, but because it’s great for all of us to give back. We ride all the time but there are so many less fortunate animals that need help,” said Gates, who is attending her first-ever Hampton Classic.
Barnhill rode four different horses, including a polo pony, that she had never ridden before.
“It’s nice for people to see that someone who has never ridden these horses can get on them and ride them around in this big ring in front of everybody,” she said. “Sometimes, if you don’t see it first-hand, you don’t believe it.”
A pair of real wild mustangs from round-ups out West grazed in a pen nearby, and HEART Horse Ambulance gave tours of its state-of-the-art vehicle by the ASPCA tent.
Over in the Kids’/Exhibition area, people, dogs and cats of all ages had a blast meeting one another. Dog and cat rescues, all hand-picked by the ASPCA, included Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue, Ruff House Rescue, Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, Tails of Courage, Last Chance Animal Rescue and Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center.