Just after the awards were handed out for the last class of the day, the rain began to fall on the American Gold Cup in North Salem, New York. Hannah Selleck joined EQ and JustWorld International’s founder, Jessica Newman, under the tent just in time to watch the shops close up and the spectators disperse.
Selleck was fresh from her trip to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France, and eager to talk about her experience there as the ambassador representative for JustWorld. “We were one of just four charities invited to attend,” she said. “It was really interesting to participate in a professional capacity, while many of my friends and colleagues were there to ride or to spectate.”
Hannah began riding when she was only 4 years old and started to show in the A circuit at 14. Now, she has risen to recognition as an accomplished show jumper, model, and businesswoman. A popular Ariat ad campaign recently featured stunning photos of her outfitted in sporty riding apparel, looking beautiful, dynamic, and athletic. As her equestrian career grew to extend in many directions, she became interested in JustWorld. “I was aware of them. I had seen the Horseless Horseshow and the Galla, and I just wanted to become involved,” she said.
Her first and very dramatic role as an ambassador for JustWorld International was the Jump 4 JustWorld in March, when she and seven other equestrians jumped from a plane over Wellington, Florida, to raise awareness and funds for the charity’s efforts in education, health, and nutrition programs in Asia and South America. “I wasn’t scared until I got to the door of the plane, but it was amazing. You feel like you can do anything after that,” she laughed.
Share the Love
JustWorld is not specifically an equestrian charity, but it has become a staple of the equestrian world—a way for a generally fortunate community to give back. Selleck explained, “I think it’s very important in the equestrian world to have an organization like this bringing awareness. The riding community can be small, and it’s important to have kids be made aware of what else is going in the world.”
As JustWorld prepares to move into its 12th year, the organization continues to gain support around the world. Projects are expanding, and more new countries are on the horizon. For example, the success in Cambodia has led to a campaign for a second school there, and the founder of the project in Guatamala was recently named a CNN hero.
Over the next several years, this model of community involvement is where she sees JustWorld heading. “In Guatamala,” Newman explained, “there is an equestrian community that is supporting the project.” Over the next several years, this model of community involvement is where she sees JustWorld heading. “We hope to make more of these projects sustainable, where people from the local community are also involved,” said Newman. “The common passion for horses mobilizes people everywhere.”