National Help a Horse Day and the History of Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines

National Help a Horse Day is on April 26th! This national holiday encourages horse lovers and animal rights advocates to join forces and protect abused and neglected horses. The holiday raises awareness of the need for increased horse sanctuaries and rescues. To learn more about National Help a Horse Day and how Ryerss Farm plays a role in horse advocacy, keep reading!

National Help a Horse Day is on April 26th!

History of National Help a Horse Day

In 2013, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) created Help a Horse Day to raise awareness of neglected and mistreated equines. The goal of the holiday is to promote protection of abused horses across the country, as well as highlight equine organizations that work to aid at-risk horses. An extension of this national holiday is to bring community members together, and demonstrate how individuals can reach out and make a meaningful difference. Across the country, thousands of horses are neglected, mistreated, and simply not cared for. Many rescues and shelters work hard to save endangered equines, and these organizations need support to sustain their efforts. The launch of National Help a Horse Day has aided many organizations to provide continuous shelter and care for horses in need.


Ryerss Farm History

Anne Waln-Ryerss of Philadelphia was a part of a family with a passion for improving the lives of animals in distress. In 1864, her family member Morris Waln donated $10,000 towards the establishment of the Pennsylvania SPCA. Anne and her husband, Joseph Ryerss, carried out this legacy of animal welfare activism. Throughout her life, Anne made a practice of noticing mistreated horses and recommending that they perform a rehabilitation period on her own farm in Burholme (now Fairmount Park Commission in Philadelphia). Upon her death in 1888, Anne left $30,000 to the establishment of an animal hospital for ill and injured animals. An additional $40,000 was placed in an endowment to maintain her farm. Anne’s stepson Robert went on to fulfill her wishes, by purchasing an 80-acre farm in Northeast Philadelphia. The first horse arrived on June 11, 1889. Ryerss early residents were workhorses from the Philadelphia area, many of which served to pull the city’s fire engines. Robert Waln Ryerss was the first president of Ryerss farm until retirement in 1895. The location of the farm changed around across the years. In May 1956, Ryerss purchased a 108-acre farm on King Road in West Whiteland Township. This property had 40 box stalls and was one of the largest in the country at that time. This location served as Ryerss farm for the next three decades. In November 1987, Ryerss acquired the present day location on Ridge Road in South Coventry and Warwick Townships near Chester County. This property consisted of 363-acres. In September 2000, Ryerss acquired an adjoining property, adding 20 acres. Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines is the oldest non-profit horse sanctuary in the United States. Ryerss farm ​​provides a haven for horses of all breeds, sizes, and walks of life, thanks to the far-reaching vision of a bold and determined woman named Anne Waln Ryerss.


How To Observe National Help a Horse Day

How To Observe National Help a Horse Day

April 26th is an opportunity to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of mistreated horses. There are many ways that you can support the cause, on National Help a Horse Day and every other day of the year!



  • Adopt or foster a horse

  • Donate to an equine care charity or farm organization

  • Promote awareness by telling others about the cause (social media is a great tool!)

Donating and Volunteering Options At Ryerss

Here at Ryerss farm for Aged Equines we have numerous options to donate or volunteer to our cause. Any donation or volunteer work is greatly appreciated, as we are a non-profit organization.

Sponsor a Horse

Sponsor a Horse

If you want an interpersonal relationship with one of our horses, we have an option for you to sponsor a horse for one year! Sponsoring a horse is a great opportunity for individuals, families, and groups to help a horse for $500 a year. You can stop by the farm and choose a horse you would like to sponsor! We are open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. A sponsor has an opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with their chosen resident. It is so beautiful to see the bond between a horse and human, especially as the residents enjoy their retirement life.


Volunteer Work

Here at Ryerss farm we appreciate our volunteers and all that they do for us. Our volunteers perform many different tasks such as administrative office work, gift shop duties, barn assistance, decorating the barn for holidays, giving tours, and helping with events. Volunteers may come in as often as they please weather it be daily, weekly, or monthly. No previous experience with horses is required, only a love for horses and a passion for supporting them! Do you want to volunteer at Ryerss farm? For more information visit the volunteer page on our website.


Other Donations

Other forms of donation include stall endowments, benches, memory plates, greener pastures plates, and memory board plates. These options are a great way to show support for our animals, and love for those (animal and human) who have passed on. To read more ways to donate to Ryerss farm, visit the donations page on our website. We are appreciative of your support!



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