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Walthour-Moss Foundation Awarded $10,000 Breyer/Equine Land Conservation Resource Grant

(Pequannock, NJ – April 26, 2010) – The Walthour–Moss Foundation of Southern Pines, NC was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Breyer Animal Creations® and the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) to help them preserve land for equestrian use. The Walthour-Moss Foundation had the winning grant proposal for 2009 beating out numerous other organizations for the $10,000 grant.

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(Pequannock, NJ – April 26, 2010) – The Walthour–Moss Foundation of Southern Pines, NC was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Breyer Animal Creations® and the Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) to help them preserve land for equestrian use. The Walthour-Moss Foundation had the winning grant proposal for 2009 beating out numerous other organizations for the $10,000 grant. Landon Russell, Executive Director of the Walthour-Moss Foundation, accepted the award yesterday at a presentation held during the Rolex-Kentucky Three-Day Event, at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, from Libbie Johnson, a member of the ELCR Board of Directors, Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear and Breyer’s Kathleen Fallon.

Breyer®, makers of the world’s finest model horses, and Equine Land Conservation Resource, the only national organization that advances the conservation of land for horse related activities, teamed up in 2008 to create a program to fund grassroots organizations trying to preserve land for equine use at the local level.  Breyer creates and markets a model horse, the ECLR Benefit Model, which helps to underwrite the program and raise awareness of the issue.

Open land for equestrian use is one of the great challenges facing the equine community. It is disappearing throughout the United States at an alarming rate.  The ELCR got underway about 12 years ago, as a result of  a U.S. Pony Club strategic planning meeting set to look at the issues that pose the greatest threat to the club’s mission of teaching children about horses.

“By far, the biggest issue everyone agreed was loss of land. But loss of land was not within the Pony Club mission and so, the ELCR was born,” said ELCR’s Chief Executive Officer Deb Balliet.  The organization’s broadest goals are to both educate—get people to understand the magnitude of the land loss issue confronting horsemen, and then to teach them how to  take grassroots action to preserve the remaining open space.

“Breyer supports ELCR’s mission – by 2010, Breyer will have donated $30,000 in three years to this cause – because it is an on-going concern that won’t go away without awareness, education and most importantly, action,” said Stephanie Macejko, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, who trail rides frequently. “Breyer’s support of the horse industry as a whole, through sponsorships such as the 2010 Games, product donations and publicity about these wonderful animals, is real and tangible.  Ensuring that future generations can get up close and personal with horses and ponies is very important to us.  Working with ELCR, we can take small steps to shape that future.”

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Since it was begun by W.O. “Pappy” Moss and his wife Virginia Walthour Moss, the Walthour-Moss Foundation has grown from the initial Walthour Moss bequest of 1,739 acres to 4,052 acres from donations and acquisitions. This property is considered the core of the Southern Pines equestrian community which includes riders and carriage drivers and a variety of equestrian disciplines. The focus on horses and all things equestrian traces its roots back to the Moore County Hounds, a foxhunting club founded in 1914.

Russell explained that the foundation recognizes the importance of keeping the access to this network of trails. She noted that as a part of its long range planning effort in 2007, the Foundation came to understand clearly that equestrian access throughout the community known as ‘horse country’ was vital to the long-term health of the equestrian community in Southern Pines.  If historic bridle trails were lost, the character and use of the lands could quickly follow. 

“As we continue the effort to protect the long leaf pine eco-system and the bridle trails throughout the community, the validation provided by the Breyer grant will assist greatly in communicating to our residents the importance of this mission,” stated Russell. “In addition the grant from Breyer will assist in the substantial costs associated with protecting easements and allow the Foundation to more aggressively pursue this effort.”

Breyer is offering a new ELCR model in 2010. Each custom Breyer and ELCR-branded box contains an application to apply for an ELCR grant to preserve land for equestrian use. These benefit models will be available through December of 2010 at specialty toy stores, tack shops and agricultural retailers. Details about applying for funds can be found at www.breyerhorses.com or www.elcr.org.  Information on the Walthour-Moss Foundation can be found at www.walthour-moss.org.

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