A historic exhibit featuring horse welfare is to be unveiled at the Kentucky Horse Park's International Museum of the Horse on Tuesday, during the World Equestrian Games.
'Angels for Horses: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' will be unveiled at the museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, by ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador Georgina Bloomberg. She will be joining ASPCA equine experts to officially open the exhibit with a ribbon cutting ceremony during the games, allowing the public access to artifacts that celebrate the history of horse protection in the United States, which began with the ASPCA nearly 145 years ago.
"Many people do not know this, but the ASPCA was established after its founder, Henry Bergh, witnessed the savage beating of a work horse in the streets of New York City," says Valerie Angeli, Senior Director of ASPCA Equine Events and Special Projects.
"The prestigious International Museum of the Horse is the perfect location to exhibit the ASPCA's long history of horse protection in the United States and educate the public about the needs of our nation's horses and companion animals."
John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park and President of the World Games 2010 Foundation said the US was a "better nation today because of the ASPCA's efforts on behalf of animals. The Kentucky Horse Park is honored to join them in presenting this exhibit to the world, as a reminder of the tremendous efforts and great strides that have already been made, but also as a clarion call for the work that still needs to be done to improve the lives of horses everywhere."
'Angels for Horses: The ASPCA' will remain at the International Museum of the Horse for four years and will include original artifacts from the ASPCA archives, such as:
- An 1845 diary of Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA. Chronicling his honeymoon in Europe with wife Catherine, Henry Bergh described the carnage of bullfighting in Spain. This event is a precursor to the dramatic changes he would make in the United States 20 years later.
- The ASPCA's founding document, April 1866. Featured in some of the most reputable museums in New York and described as the "Animals' Declaration of Independence," the founding document features notable signatories such as Horace Greeley, John Jacob Astor, August Belmont (of Belmont Racetrack), Peter Cooper, C.V.S. Roosevelt, James J. Roosevelt, Samuel Ruggles, William Bryant, Frank Leslie, ASPCA founder Bergh and more.
- "Mercy to animals means mercy to mankind!" This handwritten original quote signed by Henry Bergh was written on card stock, circa 1867.
- An original bronze medallion shield of the ASPCA from 1875. Depicting an armed angel of mercy hovering over a beaten carriage horse, this iconic image was created by ASPCA supporter and famed illustrator Frank Leslie, and still stands as the symbol of the ASPCA.
- An 1878 portrait of Henry Bergh. In the only known existing oil portrait of Henry Bergh, painted by famous miniature portraitist John Wood Dodge in 1878, Bergh wears an 18K diamond-encrusted badge with the seal of the fallen carriage horse and avenging angel. The badge was a gift to Bergh from a wealthy "first patron" of the ASPCA.
- An 1880s zinc stallion horse finial from an ASPCA horse fountain. The cornerstone of the "Angels for Horses" exhibit, the stallion weighs almost 800 pounds. Having graced the tops of ornate ASPCA horse fountains and guarded various ASPCA headquarters, it will now have a permanent residence at the International Museum of the Horse.
- An 1880s ASPCA horse sling. The first horse sling to lift fallen horses was designed by Henry Bergh and produced by the ASPCA.
In addition to the exhibit, the ASPCA will be hosting the following workshops for attendees of the World Equestrian Games at Education Hall in the Visitor's Center at the Kentucky Horse Park:
- "Rescue, Repurpose, Re-home: Helping Horses At Risk" - This interactive discussion will enlighten attendees interested in making a difference for at-risk horses, and will educate them on how their choices as equine advocates can save the lives of countless of American horses each year.
- "Animal Cruelty 101: How To Spot It And How to Stop It" - ASPCA cruelty experts will educate participants on identifying animal cruelty, carrying out the best practices in preventing abuse in their communities, and becoming a voice for animals.
- "Inspiring Youth to Make a Difference for Horses" - This interactive discussion will provide successful examples and creative ideas to inspire young people interested in becoming active voices for equine welfare.