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Breyer Animal Creations and ELRC provides trail preservation grant

Michigan’s Highland Equestrian Conservancy presented with $10,000 from Breyer in cooperation with Equestrian Land Conservation Resource.

From Breyer Animal Creations

(Pequannock, NJ – April 27, 2009) – Michigan’s Highland Equestrian Conservancy was presented with a check for $10,000 for their winning proposal to preserve land for equestrian use in Highland, Michigan. The check from Breyer Animal Creations and the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource was presented at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on Sunday, April 26, 2009, by Stephanie Macejko, Vice President of Marketing at Breyer, Jane Beshear, First Lady of the State of Kentucky and a member of the ELCR-Breyer Grant Committee, and from the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource, Libbie Johnson, Chair of the ELCR-Breyer Grant Committee and Georgiana Hubbard McCabe, President. Sharon Greene accepted on behalf of Highland Equestrian Conservancy.

Noted Sharon Greene, “Every time we turn our backs, we lose land to development.” Her group, based in southeastern Michigan, will use the $10,000 grant to purchase land that connects a road in neighboring Rose Township to Highland Oaks Park, a popular park for local trail riders, uniting two tracts of land, both zoned for equestrian use. This purchase will help preserve the area’s equestrian way of life, that is, like so many, struggling with encroaching development.

“We will continue this program into 2009 and have created two new models from which a portion of the sales will help fund another $10,000 grant to help preserve land for equestrian use.” said Stephanie Macejko, Breyer’s Vice President of Marketing & Product Development, and a frequent trail rider. “If we don’t act, the land we ride on, drive through, pasture and raise our horses on will be gone.”

The ELCR is the only national organization dedicated to saving land for horse-related activities. The organization’s goals are to get horsemen to understand the magnitude of the land loss issue and to guide them in taking grassroots action to preserve open space. “It’s not enough to be aware,” agrees Deb Balliet, ELCR CEO. “You have to take action and be advocates in understanding and conveying appreciation of the value of horses.”

The Highland Equestrian Conservancy, the first of its kind in Michigan, started as a small group of area residents with a mission to conserve and protect natural resources and the equestrian heritage of Highland Township. Merle Richmond, Coordinator of the Oakland Equestrian Coalition, Paula Weaver from Highland Trail Riders, Sharon Greene, a 4H, US Pony Club and Equestrian Team mom, (all Michigan Horse Council members), and Dr. Fay Hansen of Oakland University and the Oakland Land Conservancy, spearheaded an effort to work with horse facilities, trail clubs, equestrian groups (4H, Pony Club, Equestrian Teams), Highland Business Association and the township Downtown Development Authority. The “Highland Model” was established to promote open space, interconnecting greenways and wildlife corridors.

Plans are underway for hitching posts and stabling for equestrians to ride into the horse-friendly town. The Conservancy has already established two greenways with riding trails around local housing developments. The HEC is working on two more to create a network. The “Highland Model” is now recognized as a strategy for preserving the rural character of developing townships. Information on the Highland Conservancy can be found at www.highlandequestrians.org.

Applying For Funds

To support the program, Breyer has created two new model horses for 2009 in ELCR/Breyer branded boxes that also contain an application to apply for funding. The ELCR Benefit models will be available from January-December 2009 at specialty toy stores, tack shops, and agricultural retailers nationwide in specially marked displays. Details about applying for funding will also be available online at www.breyerhorses.com or www.elcr.org.

About Breyer Animal Creations®

Breyer Animal Creations®, a division of Reeves International, Inc., is the world’s best-selling brand of equine-themed toys and collectibles. Breyer designs, manufactures and markets individually hand-decorated model horses of enduring quality for play and collecting. From Hollywood heroes like Roy Roger’s Trigger to racing legends Seabiscuit and Barbaro, Breyer brings the world of horses to life! Visit www.BreyerHorses.com for the latest news and information.

About Equestrian Land Conservation Resource (ELCR)

Equestrian Land Conservation Resource, based at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. is the only national organization that advances the conservation of land for horse related activities. Equestrian Land Conservation Resource is a resource for horse people, towns, land trusts, and elected officials nationwide – a clearinghouse of information on such topics as getting organized, placing conservation restrictions on farms and securing trail easements.. It is a network that puts people in touch with those of similar need or experience, partnering with environmental and other interest groups, and other information to secure land for horse activities. In addition, ELCR promotes the vital connection between horse landowners and land conservation in general. For more information, visit www.elcr.org or call 859-455-8383.

Contact: Kathleen Fallon, Breyer Animal Creations®
Phone: 973-694-5006, x. 127
Email: kfallon@reevesintl.com

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