In 2008, a small group of equine veterinarians met to discuss an organized effort to support working equids. Dr. Jay Merriam coined the term “Equitarian” to describe this form of volunteerism.
Dr. Mariano Hernandez Gil invited the interested American veterinarians to be “the students” for a week. This model became the first Equitarian Workshop which gave rise to the nonprofit organization Equitarian Initiative.
The Foundation for the Horse supported the workshop for five more years, and since then has provided leadership development grants to bring promising senior veterinary students and recent graduates to the workshop.
Equitarian Workshop attendees have taken that training and inspiration to begin projects in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico and Native American Reservations in the U.S., reaching even more working equids, owners, veterinary students and veterinarians. Many other attendees have chosen to continue this great volunteerism in existing projects.