Category Archives: Community/Charity

“Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” Online Auction Launches with the Awesome Gem

Proceeds from this fashion sale to benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 5, 2018 – The online fashion auction “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” kicked off this week with another beautiful handcrafted Derby chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the ninth year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off exclusive Derby hats online, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s retired racehorses. The fashion fundraiser has raised over $32,000 to date.

This new hat was inspired by Old Friends retiree Awesome Gem. The now 15-year-old gelding, once campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, is a multiple graded-stakes winner and counts among his victories the 2010 GR 1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

For this launch, the beautiful chapeau was modeled by Krystal Court accompanied by her husband, leading jockey Jon Court, and their daughter, Aubrey.

Bidding on “The Awesome Gem” can be done between January 1st, 2018 and January 11, 2018 by visiting the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and following the link, or by CLICKING HERE and follow the “click to bid” button.

This new design showcases Awesome Gem’s chestnut coat along with his familiar West Point Thoroughbreds black-and-yellow racing silks.

The hat’s wide, 20-inch, flat-brim design was created out of deep yellow dupioni silk with a black lace overlay and a black taffeta edge. Adornments include a single yellow rose, fashioned out of swirling layers of deep yellow dupioni silk and soft lemon organza, which pays homage to the horse’s Gold Cup win, and a large shimmering button, made of chocolate, crystal, and platinum beads, which adds a final finishing touch.

As always, Steinmann included a physical remembrance of the horse, with strands of Awesome Gem’s tail hair woven into the trim.

Special thanks to EquiSport Photo for the images and video and to the Bella Rose Boutique of Lexington, KY for supplying the beautiful ensembles.

For additional information, contact the Old Friends office at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions – from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can been seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

Tim Jones Takes the Helm as New Executive Director of Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jacksonville, FL (January 3, 2018) — The Jacksonville Equestrian Center grounds first got its start as a former U.S. Naval base. When the Navy closed down the base, they donated 2,000 acres of forestland to the city of Jacksonville, earmarked for a regional recreational park. The city then created an 80-acre, world-class equestrian center on the property, capable of hosting many kinds of events and often has multiple events simultaneously.

The task of running the versatile, multi-faceted facility in Jacksonville, Florida is now in the capable hands of Tim Jones. Although Jones spent the last several years in Kentucky horse country, he is happy to now call the warmth and balmy beauty of the sunshine state of Florida home.

Jones graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture (agronomy/animal science). “I grew up on a farm in far western Kentucky,” he drawled softly. “But I really did not become involved with horses until I attended The University of Kentucky where I began working part-time on a local Thoroughbred farm to help pay for college.” After starting off hot-walking racehorses, an enthusiastic Jones began to learn the horse business from the ground up. He went on to become a groom, and then an exercise rider.

After a short stint as an assistant farm manager in Ohio, Jones moved back to the Lexington area as the event-coordinator of the legendary Kentucky Horse Park. “Although my position at the park wasn’t hands-on with horses any longer, I was heavily involved with the Mounted Police unit there and was fortunate to ride with them on several occasions, including a musical ride and many public relations functions.” It was at the Kentucky Horse Park that Jones learned about the horse show industry. “I loved the job, and I grew with the department during the next 17 years. We added rings and barns, and it was a really good time to be there.”

Next up for Jones was a seven-year stint as the director of Western Kentucky University’s Agricultural Expo Center in Bowling Green, where he was in charge of the operation of a climate-controlled 2,000-seat indoor arena, an outdoor arena and event stabling. “The Expo Center hosts a number of equestrian and livestock events annually,” Jones explained, “as well as providing classroom and support to the Agriculture Department of the University.” Bowling Green was a much smaller facility, and he says he “missed the larger events at a place like the Kentucky Horse Park.”

“So that’s what brought me to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center,” explained Jones. “More than anything, I like diversity and the variety of lots of different events. Horse shows have similar aspects but there are differences. A barrel racing competition is different from a dressage show, which is different from a hunter/jumper show, which is decidedly different from dog agility. Every day is different.” Then he happily added, “I’m definitely excited about not having to put my snow-and-ice-removal skills to the test!”

Jones’ vast experience will serve him well as he heads up the exciting new phase of construction at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Ground breaking will commence next month for an additional covered arena and cattle cover to complement the 5000-seat indoor coliseum, stadium jumping field, four permanent barns, and seven outdoor arenas The Jacksonville Equestrian Center staff has already developed a reputation for hosting family-friendly exciting events all year round, with most events open to the public. The facility is a favorite destination not only for horse lovers and competitors, but also for recreational events that take advantage of miles of hiking and riding trails, a picnic pavilion and even an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool center abutting the equestrian facility.

For more information about the facility and to find out about upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or Tim Jones at (904) 255-4225.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones 904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Multiple CA Wildfires Take Heavy Toll on Both Humans and Horses

OCEANSIDE, CA – Fire crews stopped the Lilac’s destructive march on Friday, keeping to 4,100 acres a blaze that a day earlier had forced thousands to flee their homes, destroyed at least 105 structures and killed dozens of horses.

With the strong winds that initially drove the flames dying down overnight, fire crews were able to move from defense to offense, as aircraft dropped water on hot-spots while hand crews kept an eye out for potential flare-ups.

Despite the improved weather conditions, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob cautioned residents to remain alert. Officials reported 15 percent containment of the fire Friday night, meaning for only that amount were they confident the flames wouldn’t jump the perimeter.

“A fire that starts in the back country can go anywhere at any time, particularly when those winds shift,” Jacob said. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

The fast-moving blaze ignited late Thursday morning. Officials estimated that around 900 people have shown up at fire shelters, while an estimated 10,000 people were evacuated at one point. The cause was unknown.

Two firefighters and four civilians were injured. It was unclear how many of the 105 structures were homes.

Flames burned through a quiet, semi-rural portion of San Diego County best known for ranches and orchards. Crews worked to keep the fire from burning west toward the larger Oceanside community or onto Camp Pendleton.

Trainers and staff at the facility cut loose some of the 450-plus horses so they could escape the flames. Dramatic video apparently recorded by a stable hand in the midst of the rescue efforts showed waves of horses running through the smoke as workers hurried to release them. Still, the California Horse Racing Board estimated 25 horses died.

Most of the survivors were trucked to the safety of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

More than 1,000 fire personnel were dedicated to the Lilac Fire on Friday, along with more than 100 fire engines and 15 helicopters, Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said.

“We continue to fight this fire from the air and the ground,” Bortisser said.

The Lilac fire put thousands of U.S. Marines at nearby Camp Pendleton on alert. Two military aviation strike teams were on-hand to help support firefighting efforts.

Of the 85 destroyed structures, officials were unsure how many were homes.

“There were quite a few mobile homes that were lost in the area,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. “That includes senior citizens.”

Friday, residents were taking stock of the damage.

Mary Klodell, 54, was riding her bike on the San Luis Rey trail when she saw smoke in the air – sending her racing home to pack essentials before leaving the area.

“We heard crackling and popping behind us,” she said. “I was panicked and looking for my keys.”

On Friday, Klodell returned to the neighborhood, walking the ruins of some homes and finding others still intact. A neighbor told her that only a small shift in the weather saved her residence.

“He told me the wind shifted right in time, or else my house would be done now,” she said. “That’s God protecting me.”

At the Stepp Stables at Camp Pendleton, Sandrine Linglet was overwhelmed and crying tears of joy. A day earlier, seeing smoke and fire in the air, Linglet, 46, had driven to the Oceanside Equestrian Center, where she kept four mustangs.

“I could barely see; it was black and red everywhere,” Linglet recalled.

On her first trip, Linglet, who had also been forced to evacuate her Oceanside home, was able to get two mustangs into a trailer. Ignoring warnings from firefighters, she returned Thursday night to rescue a third with the help of two Marines and brought the horse back to the Pendleton stable. They were unable to corral the fourth unbroken mustang.

“I was in tears and exhausted,” Linglet said. “I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe that I left her behind.”

Linglet spent the night at Stepp Stables — partly hunkering down with the three rescued mustangs and then sitting in her car listening to news reports.

“I cried the whole night but I was sure no matter what, I would not give up,” she said. “No matter what, no matter how, I would try to get my horse.”

Just before daylight, Linglet returned to the Oceanside Equestrian Center on Friday just a few miles from the stables at Camp Pendleton. She was shocked to see her fourth mustang, Margo, standing in a field. Hours later, the four were all safe at Camp Pendleton, which lent space for evacuated steeds.

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, James Adams smelled smoke near his 3,300 square-foot home that overlooks the San Luis Rey river valley, about eight miles from Fallbrook. He helped his wife gather paintings and other valuables and got her, two dogs and a parrot into the car.

“I didn’t want her to be here,” the 68-year-old said. “I didn’t know how fast it would come.”

By 2 p.m., the fire had consumed the house two doors away, as the wind screamed over his home. He watched as the wind and flames shifted to the south, burning five homes to the ground at the end of this street. That night, there was no electricity, but he saw an orangey sky.

He called 911 twice, alerting firefighters to fire near him. Each time, helicopters doused the flames.

“I think the fire fighters did an amazing job,” he said.

Friday afternoon, Adams was able to think about how lucky he had been.

“I’ve been putting my library together for 40 years,” he said. “It’s one of my most personal possessions.”

By Erika I. Ritchie and Beatriz E. Valenzuela as published on The Orange County Register

USET Foundation to Host “Triumph in Tryon” Gala to Benefit US World Equestrian Games Teams

Gladstone, N.J. – Dec. 1, 2017 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce it will be hosting a World Equestrian Games benefit event on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. The “Triumph in Tryon” will help raise necessary funds for the USET Foundation to further support the United States equestrian team riders as they prepare and compete at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina.

During this celebratory evening, guests will enjoy cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. as well as a live auction for a chance to bid on some incredible items followed by dancing. The event will also include the presentation of three of the USET Foundation’s most coveted awards, the prestigious Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy, the Whitney Stone Cup and the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award.

Mark your calendars for the “Triumph in Tryon” and be sure to purchase your tickets no later than Dec. 20. This benefit will sell out! Tables and reserved seating are on a first come, first served basis. When making your table reservation, please indicate the names of your table guests.

You do not want to miss this fun and important event recognizing the USET Foundation’s generous supporters and our country’s top athletes, while continuing to raise funds for the 2018 World Equestrian Games! Invitations are in the mail or you may also purchase tickets and tables.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Do Twice the Good Today

Despite the natural disasters and tragedies that have tested our resolve in 2017, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has maintained its commitment to critically ill and injured members of the equestrian community. This year:

  • Claudia, an amateur dressage rider, was able to continue her cancer treatment, even after her farm was ravaged by Hurricane Irma.
  • Alena, an equine technician coping with the after-effects of TBI, received specialized therapy that will expedite her return to work and college.
  • Steven, a dressage trainer whose career was cut short by multiple critical illnesses, can afford basic living expenses.

And there have been so many more members of our equestrian community who have benefitted from the compassion of people like you.

Today, you can double your impact by taking advantage of a year-end matching grant.

Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000.

Our recipients thank you! Watch our video to hear their stories and see how you have made a difference in their lives.

Your compassion will create a brighter future!

Equestrian Aid Foundation
11924 West Forest Hill Blvd
Suite 10A-377
Wellington, FL 33414
800-792-6068
EquestrianAidFoundation.org

In Memoriam: FEI Pays Tribute to Double Olympic Gold Medallist Gillian Rolton (AUS)

Photo: Gillian Rolton (AUS) with her horse Fred in 1992. (FEI/Equestrian Australia)

Lausanne (SUI), 22 November 2017 – Gillian Rolton (AUS), double Olympic gold medallist and former member of the FEI Eventing Committee, passed away on 18 November after a long battle with cancer. She was 61.

She made a huge impact on the sport of Eventing, both as a top competitor and as a lifetime active advocate for the sport. She served on the FEI Eventing Committee from 2011 to 2015 and, as Director of the Australian International three-day event in Adelaide, developed the event to the highest level as one of the FEI Classics series, which grouped together the world’s six four-star events. Her many influential administrative posts in Australia meant that she was a huge influence on the growth and development of the sport.

“The loss of Gill to cancer has devastated so many people in the Eventing world,” Catrin Norinder, FEI Director Eventing and Olympic, said. “She was a truly special person who had time for everyone and who gave so much back to the sport she adored. Her successes on the field were mirrored by her incredible input on the administrative side on so many levels. Her passing leaves a huge void that will be difficult to fill.”

The FEI President Ingmar De Vos called for a minute of silence at the FEI General Assembly for members of the equestrian community who had been lost in the past year, including Gillian Rolton.

A state funeral will be held on Monday 27 November.

The FEI extends its deepest sympathy to Gill’s husband Greg, her family and wide circle friends and to the National Federation, Equestrian Australia.

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

McLain Ward’s Donation Extends Silver Oak Jumper Tournament’s Support for Omega Horse Rescue

McLain Ward and the late, great Sapphire won the 2009 CN $1 Million at Spruce Meadows. Photo by Bob Langrish.

Leave it to McLain Ward to be generous and thoughtful.  He is not only one of the greatest show jumping talents, but he is one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport. McLain donated championship coolers from some of his historic wins with Sapphire and other great horses from Castle Hill. Now you can bid to win one of these keepsakes from some of the greatest moments in American show jumping history with all funds going directly to the Omega Horse Rescue Fund.

The first treasure is the 2008 American Invitational championship cooler in the scarlet Budweiser colors, from his win with Sapphire.

Second is the impressive 2009 Farnam Platform USEF Horse of the Year finalist cooler, awarded to the great “Sara,” the mighty Sapphire. That year, McLain and the powerful Belgian Warmblood mare won the $1 million CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in Canada, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and World Cup Qualifier (Hampton Classic), the $400,000 FTI Finale Grand Prix CSI Five-Star (Winter Equestrian Festival) and the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon.

These two coolers hold special historical significance. Sapphire, McLain’s beloved partner, passed away in 2014 and the American Invitational, first held in the old Tampa Stadium in 1973, has not been held since 2015. Now you can own a piece of history and help a great cause in the process. Click here to place your bid.

At August’s Silver Oak Show, thousands were raised for Omega Horse Rescue. Tony Grossman, a part owner of Sapphire, bid and won McLain and Sapphire’s American Invitational Cooler during the show.

Follow Silver Oak Jumper Tournament on Facebook where we will announce the auction winners. We will add more auctions for McLain’s historical coolers, so stay tuned to our Facebook page. We’ll announce the winning bids twice monthly.

silveroakjumpertournament.com

Valegro’s Shoe Donated by Carl Hester Earns Top Dollar to Benefit Equestrian Aid Foundation

Carl Hester coaching at the NEDA 2017 Dressage Symposium. Photo by Mary Phelps.

New Gloucester, Maine – Oct. 19, 2017 – A silver-plated horseshoe once worn by superstar dressage horse Valegro raised $5,000 for Equestrian Aid Foundation at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Carl Hester Symposium, held Oct. 14-15 in New Gloucester, Maine. The bidding was hot among the clinic attendees. In the end, Betsy Dangel from Newton Center, Massachusetts made the highest bid when the auction closed.

The top-priced auction items were presented to the winners on the closing day of the symposium. Hester admitted he took the silver-plated shoe from Charlotte Dujardin’s desk.

“We made nine of these shoes which have all been donated to charity,” Hester said. “Now I have to tell Charlotte the last one went to America.”

Other items included an original painting of Hester and his horse Nip Tuck titled “The Master” by artist Lisa Marie Bishop with Hester’s signature, and a signed banner photo collage of Hester, Nip Tuck, Dujardin and Valegro created by DressageDaily’s Mary Phelps.

In total, nearly $8,000 was raised for Equestrian Aid Foundation. Hester said he was thrilled that the auction went so well.

“Not only did I have great riders and horses to train, Valegro’s shoe raised $5,000 for the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” he said.

The auction was orchestrated by Markel’s Mary Phelps, a Gold Sponsor of the event. Phelps has been a supporter of Equestrian Aid Foundation since its founding in 1996.

“Let’s face it,” Phelps said. “Carl is a rock star and so is Valegro. People were stalking the bidding table until the closing bell.”

Janise Gray, Equestrian Aid Foundation director of grant recipient services, attended the event.

“We are grateful to Mary Phelps for the success of the silent auction,” Gray said.  “For two decades, Mary has exemplified our ‘Show You Care’ motto. The Equestrian Aid Foundation helps people across the country involved in all facets of the horse community.  It is through the efforts of our supporters like Mary and Carl that we are able to provide financial assistance, hope and dignity to help our recipients heal.”

Edited press release from HorsesDaily.com.

Equestrian Aid Foundation
11924 West Forest Hill Blvd
Suite 10A-377
Wellington, FL 33414
800-792-6068
EquestrianAidFoundation.org

Celebrating the Stars of the Community at PBIEC during 2018 Great Charity Challenge

Photo Credit ©GreatCharityChallenge.

Wellington, FL – October 16, 2017 – Palm Beach County charities will get a chance to showcase what it truly means to be a star this coming February.

For the past eight years, equestrians and their dazzling mounts have been captivating the local community at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to give Palm Beach County charities a chance to shine and win up to $150,000.

The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) is inviting all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the event’s ninth edition, a pro-amateur relay show jumping competition.

Thirty-four of these randomly drawn charities will meet their “lucky star” on Saturday, February 3, 2018, to receive a share of the $1.5 million dollar purse.

The application process opened on October 16, 2017 and will remain active through 5:00 PM on November 15, 2017 via www.greatcharitychallenge.com. All non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County are invited to apply and try their good fortune.

The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $10.8 million from the equestrian community to 220 non-profits in Palm Beach County.  What sets this event apart is the fact that 100% of the money raised gets distributed to local non-profits. With 34 participants randomly selected each year, first place is guaranteed $150,000 with a sliding scale to the minimum amount of $15,000 for every participating charity.

Over the last three years, the GCC brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center welcomed, “Superheroes”, “Fairy Tales Characters” and “Animated Characters”. The GCC is proud to reveal this year’s theme: “Hollywood Feature Film”, a tribute to “A Night When Everyone Is a Star”.

Mark Bellissimo commented, “This ninth year honors the local stars of our community.  We hope to give them an opportunity to shine and let them redefine what ‘stars’ are truly made of. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Paige Bellissimo, who is actively involved in the community, added, “The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community. We hope that this year’s edition will help future generations see what stars are truly made of! We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors, and partners who support the effort.”

If you know of a deserving Palm Beach County-based charity, please have them visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com for full application details and information. Please note that the application process for the 2018 GCC is open from October 16, 2017 through November 15, 2017 (5:00 PM).

The random drawing to select the 34 charities from those that have applied to participate in the 2018 GCC will be held on December 2, 2017 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (Wellington).

For the latest event information and application guidelines, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.

FEI Awards 2017 Shortlist Announced – Public Voting Now Open

Photo: Taiko traditional Japanese Drummers perform at the FEI Awards 2016 ceremony in Tokyo (JPN)

Lausanne (SUI), 20 September 2017 – The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has opened the public voting for all the shortlisted nominees of the FEI awards 2017.

For the first time since the creation of the awards in 2009, the public can cast a vote for their heroes and impact who they think deserves to win. A billing packed with champions and those who go above and beyond, the twenty nominees have been shortlisted across five categories for their outstanding contributions and dedication to the sport, showcasing some of the most successful achievements and talent within the Equestrian community.

We received hundreds of nominations from around the globe over the twelve week nomination period. The calibre of entries for this year’s awards was exceptional. Now it’s over to the public to choose their favourites from the final shortlist of candidates for Best Athlete, Longines Rising Star, Best Groom, Against All Odds and FEI Solidarity by registering through this link from now until 1 October 2017. The public vote determines 50% of the total vote whilst the other 50% will be decided by a star studded expert judging panel.

The winner of each of the five categories will be announced at the FEI Awards 2017 gala presented by Longines in Montevideo (URU) on 21 November 2017, in front of more than 350 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, FEI partners and stakeholders representing the 134 National Equestrian Federations. The awards will be broadcast live on FEI platforms, providing a valuable opportunity to celebrate the best of the best of Equestrian worldwide.

Follow along with all of the festivities of the FEI Awards 2017 on the FEI social media channels. More information on the nominees will also become available in the upcoming days on fei.org.

Who will walk away with one of these prestigious titles at this year’s ‘Equestrian Oscars’? Get voting for your favourites now!

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46