Category Archives: Community/Charity

Challenge Choreographers and Music Makers Log 100s of Volunteer Hours

Six riders and their horses enter the arena in flamboyant costumes or more traditional dressage attire; pink is the predominant color. The 12 athletes line up in close formation and the music begins.

It’s the Challenge of the Americas (COTA) and, this year, five teams of Grand Prix riders and their well-trained horses will go head-to-head in precisely choreographed team quadrilles set to themed music — all to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K.

The colorfully festive event involves hundreds of volunteer hours and key to the event’s success are the quadrille teams whose riders, coaches, choreographers, music creators, grooms and support staff donate their expertise and time to help COTA achieve its goal to find a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime. Read more about the choreographers and music makers and how they make the magic happen here.

VIP tickets to the Challenge of the Americas Gala are available now. You can see more information about what a Gold, Silver, or Bronze table patronage includes as well as the benefits of becoming a Partner for Pink at challengeoftheamericas.com. You may purchase your VIP tickets, including individual seats, here. VIP seating with dinner and dancing begin at 6:00 p.m.

General Admission tickets will be available at the gate on the night of the event. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. for General Admission seating. Tickets are $20 per adult and children 12 and under are FREE. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at the venue.

You can be assured that 100% of the proceeds earned from the Challenge of the Americas goes to help fund breast cancer research via Play for P.I.N.K. and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Play for P.I.N.K. helps turn play into serious support. To speed advances in breast cancer detection, treatment, and survivorship, Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) supports thousands of volunteers nationwide as they raise funds for research through sporting and lifestyle events. Their efforts raise $4.9 million annually — and 100% goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Community Unites for the 11th Annual Great Charity Challenge

©LS Photos.

Wellington, FL – January 28, 2020 – This coming Saturday evening, the Palm Beach County community will once again unite during the annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC). Held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the GCC has become a highlight of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and has distributed over $13.5 million to more than 240 local organizations in ten years.

Determined to feature the power of united communities, the GCC is an exciting show jumping event that blends equestrian sports and philanthropy, bringing hope to over 40 Palm Beach County charities every year. Founded by father/daughter team Mark and Paige Bellissimo, the 11th annual event will distribute an additional $1+ million to Palm Beach County non-profits. The event redistributes 100% of donations received, making all contributions fully tax deductible thanks to Equestrian Sport Productions’ generosity of covering all costs associated with holding the GCC.

“I think a really important aspect of this event is that it brings key players together to support the local community,” comments event co-founder Mark Bellissimo. “Year after year, we are inspired by seeing change in our own backyard. There are countless charities within Palm Beach County that work tirelessly to do just that; we are grateful to our amazing donors who give them access to additional funding, empowering them to do what they do best.”

With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “Broadway Musicals” will pay recognition to the wisdom commonly found in these plays. From “You can change the world if you change your mind” (Kinky Boots), “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!” (Les Misérables), and “If you stand for nothing Burr, what will you fall for?” (Hamilton), all who attend the event will leave inspired to foster the change they wish to see in their own backyards.

With February 1, 2020 marking National Freedom Day, PBIEC and the GCC will also be joining forces with all 12 Wellington public schools. The proposed initiative was made available for students in first through 12th grades, being given a 48”x60” blank canvas and asked to demonstrate what opportunities freedom offers while incorporating recycled materials, encouraging them to turn everyday trash into creative treasures. The “Art Gallery” will be open to the public and each school’s art department is guaranteed a minimum of a $1,000 donation for participating.

The GCC competition will offer free general admission and will be held Saturday evening, February 1, 2020, at 6:00 PM at the PBIEC, during WEF’s “Saturday Night Lights.” Free parking will be located at 13500 South Shore Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414, home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival show grounds.

For the latest event information, application process, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.

Hope Hand Awarded Pegasus Medal of Honor

Hope Hand (front center) receiving her Pegasus Medal of Honor. Photo by Adam Brennan.

Wellington, Florida – January 23, 2020 – On January 10, 2020, equestrians gathered at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. Top athletes, owners, horses, and supporters were honored for their dedication to the equestrian sport. Hope Hand (Newtown Square, Penn.) was awarded the Pegasus Medal of Honor that evening in front of a large and grateful crowd. Hand was commended on her interminable push over the past 25 years for growing the Para-Equestrian discipline from the grassroots through the high-performance level. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was created as an annual award to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport through their dedication. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was earned by individuals who have excelled in attracting people to the sport and have contributed to horse sport by advancing its popularity. Hand’s contributions to the sport have extended from being a Paralympic athlete to President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association to numerous board and staff positions within the international sport. Hand’s efforts occur on a daily basis to support and grow the sport she loves for both the horses and disabled athletes. Hand wears many hats including being both ambassador and role model.

Hand has been a part of Para-Equestrian since it was a network of therapeutic linked shows, borrowed mounts as catch rides, the introduction of Paralympic Equestrian, joining USEF, the addition of Para-Driving, and the first World Equestrian Games with Para-Equestrian Dressage. Hand has been the wheels that made Para-Dressage a talked-about sport, but she rode to top medals in her equestrian career.

Hand was an alternate of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Team and competed at the British Invitational in 1997, earning gold and a bronze. In 1998, she was one of the four disabled riders competing at the Bradshaw Challenge of Champions. As a member of Team USA, she won a bronze medal at the 1999 World Dressage Championships in Denmark and competed at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia. From riding to ambassador Hope has helped propel the sport to where it currently stands.

In 2018, Hand witnessed the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage team earn four medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon. For Hand, this was a pinnacle moment where every phone call, every plane flight, every clinic, and every ride down centerline was worth it all. With her cheerful personality and ability to accomplish any goal she sets forth, the Para-Equestrian sport continues to have a champion leader who gives it her all for the riders, coaches, sponsors, volunteers, show managers, and all involved.

Many of those riders, coaches, sponsors, volunteers, and show managers would say their first interaction with Para-Equestrian began with Hope Hand. Her words of encouragement and expertise are always welcome to newbies in the equestrian world.

Top international athlete Katie Jackson remembers that moment for her. “Hope was one of the first people I met when I began looking into para-dressage after my cancer.  I will always be grateful to her for how comfortable and welcome she made me feel as we sat together and she shared information with me.  Her enthusiasm and love for the sport were immediately apparent.  Hope has dedicated herself to furthering the para-equestrian sport and is someone I look to as a role model. She is generous in sharing her knowledge and experience and has devoted significant amounts of her time to para-sport on all levels.  From her involvement with USEF, USPEA, and her participation at the FEI level, to welcoming new riders at symposiums across the country and being ringside, always smiling and cheering on the riders, Hope is a true ambassador of our sport.  I cannot think of a person better suited to receive the Pegasus Medal of Honor.”

Tina Wentz, who served as a National Para equestrian classifier and later a FEI International classier and currently serves on the board of the USPEA, is a selector for the U.S. Team, and was mother to the late Paralympian Jonathan Wentz, joins Hand at many events and has been a part of the sport since 1998. Wentz said sincerely, “Sleep may be the only thing Hope Hand does not do well and it would be no wonder since she gives 110% of her boundless energy and time to Para-Equestrian Sport and Para-Dressage. Constantly promoting, recruiting, educating, and encouraging everyone she meets as she travels at her own expense to all US International and National Championship competitions and to numerous Para Dressage symposiums, clinics, and Centers of Excellence. Hope not only knows every US Para-Dressage athlete from emerging to elite but recruited many of them and is available 24/7 to all to advise, encourage, and educate them on their journey to be the best. Hope is well known in the Equestrian world for her tireless work in advancing Para-Equestrian sport and has served and is serving on numerous Boards and committees. All in the pursuit of bringing competition excellence to the US in Para-Dressage.”

Managing Director, USEF Licensed Officials Sally Ike, commented, “I hadn’t known that Hope was going to receive the Pegasus award until that evening when I saw her before dinner and congratulated her. Her acceptance speech brought back so many memories when she mentioned my name. I was first introduced to Hope about 25 years ago when I had a phone call from Jumper rider Debbie Stephens.  Debbie called to let me know that her friend Hope Hand was going to call me.  Most specifically, Debbie alerted me that Hope was in a wheelchair, and then clarified her statement by saying that there was nothing handicapped about her. Hope called, and brought some of her friends to help me with a clinic we were doing at the USET in Gladstone.  They did wheelies down the ramp to the USET’s Indoor.  The first Paralympic Games were a few years afterward.  An argument could be made that the Para-Equestrian movement in the United States began those November days at the USET. We have so much to thank Hope for; there is not a more deserving winner of this award.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610) 356-6481.

Brian Moggre, Boyd Martin, and Abigail Wexner Awarded USET Foundation’s Highest Honors

(left to right) Leah Rogers Meirfeld of Hermès, Brian Moggre, USET Foundation Vice President William Weeks, and USET Foundation Chairman, President, and CEO James McNerney. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation presented the organization’s three most prestigious awards to Brian Moggre, Boyd Martin, and Abigail Wexner on January 17 at the “Take Me to Tokyo” gala in Wellington, FL.

Brian Moggre Named Recipient of Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy

Brian Moggre, 19, of Flower Mound, TX, was awarded the 2020 Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy, presented annually to a junior/young rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who demonstrates the team’s values of sportsmanship and horsemanship.

Riders who are awarded the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy are identified as athletes with great potential, and the list of winners who have received the award is a “who’s who” of the U.S. Equestrian Team in the Olympic disciplines – to which Moggre now adds his name.

“I am awestruck to be receiving this award,” said Moggre, who has made a name for himself as a rising show jumping star to watch after winning the both the 2019 $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Ocala CSI3*-W at Live Oak International and the $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W at only 18 years of age.

“It takes a huge team to make all of this happen, and that’s really what I’m thankful for,” continued Moggre after having accepted the award. “I’m so thankful to Gianna Aycock, Mike McCormick, and Tracy Fenney and my current team of Emily Smith and Ken Smith as well as my parents and Lesley Leeman, who takes care of my horses.

“I’m very honored to now have my name on a trophy with the best riders in the entire world, and it means so much to me.”

Patrick Guerrand-Hermès established the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Memorial Award in 1983 in memory of his son, Lionel, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1981 at the age of 18. Lionel trained with the United States Equestrian Team and was talented enough to be considered an Olympic hopeful. Included on the list of past winners inscribed on the perpetual trophy are such notable names as Greg Best, Chris Kappler, McLain Ward, and Buck Davidson, among many others.

Boyd Martin Wins Whitney Stone Cup

The 2020 Whitney Stone Cup was awarded to Olympic eventer Boyd Martin, identifying him as an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition, as well as exemplifying high standards of sportsmanlike conduct, while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport.

“It’s an absolute privilege and honor to receive the Whitney Stone Cup this year,” said Martin, who operates his training business, Windurra LLC, out of Cochranville, PA alongside his wife Silva, a grand prix dressage rider. “Winning this award is one of my proudest achievements. To be recognized alongside some of the past winners is truly a humbling feeling. The USET Foundation has given me every chance and every opportunity to allow me to be the best I can be and to achieve all the success I had in 2019.”

Martin is one of today’s leading event riders, having enjoyed success at the highest level of the sport and every major eventing competition in the world. He has consistently been ranked top 10 in the world since leaving Australia in 2007 and has competed on every U.S. Championship team since changing his citizenship in 2010.

Martin has represented the U.S. at two Olympic Games, three FEI World Equestrian Games, and two Pan American Games.

He has twice been the highest-placed U.S. rider at the FEI World Equestrian Games and led the U.S. to team gold at both Pan American Games appearances.

At the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Martin finished second with Tsetserleg, owned by Christine Turner, to win the USEF CCI5*-L National Championship. This result landed Martin and Tsetserleg on the Pan American Games team for Lima, where the team had to win gold or silver to qualify the U.S. for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Martin delivered under pressure to win individual gold – the first individual medal of his career – and secure team gold and Tokyo qualification.

“I really feel like I’m starting to hit top gear coming into 2020, and I’m so proud to be an American, representing the stars and stripes,” said Martin. “I can’t wait to get out there and see what this year brings.”

Abigail Wexner Awarded R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award

The USET Foundation presented Abigail Wexner with the 2020 R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award, recognizing her distinguished service to the USET Foundation Board of Trustees.

Wexner has been a member of the board for 12 years, and she has been one of the lead donors to the Campaign for Achieving Competitive Excellence, the Campaign for Continuing Our Competitive Excellence, and she is now chairing, along with Jim McNerney and Jacqueline B. Mars, the Raising the Bar Campaign. As part of the campaign, Wexner has established the Wexner Olympic Endowment as a source of support for U.S. athletes and teams in Olympic years.

Wexner is a long-time horse owner and has been partnered with top jumper rider Beezie Madden for more than 15 years. Madden has ridden Wexner’s horses on numerous Nations Cup teams, along with the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games and the 2006, 2010, and 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games. This partnership has produced for the United States two gold, three silver, and three bronze medals in Olympic and World Championships, two World Cup Finals victories, and been a part of 18 winning Nations Cup teams.

A true ambassador of the sport, Wexner’s distinguished service through excellence in leadership, philanthropy, and character has positively impacted the Foundation’s mission of supporting athletes, promoting international excellence, and building for the future.

A true ambassador of the sport, Wexner’s distinguished service through excellence in leadership, philanthropy, and character has positively impacted the Foundation’s mission of supporting athletes, promoting international excellence, and building for the future.

The R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award was established in 2015 in recognition and honor of Bruce Duchossois’s leadership, generosity, and outstanding character. Duchossois’s life was celebrated that year as the first recipient of the prestigious award, and now the legacy he created lives on in others through the award with the annual presentation to a USET Foundation Trustee who exemplifies the qualities he embodied.

The presentation of the USET Foundation’s three distinguished awards and this year’s Take Me to Tokyo gala, hosted by honorary chairmen Lou and Joan Jacobs and chairs Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, were made possible thanks to the USET Foundation’s generous donors and sponsors, including MARS Equestrian and the Take Me to Tokyo cocktail hour sponsor, NetJets.

The USET Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel, and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation. To learn more and to support the Raising the Bar campaign, please visit www.uset.org.

Palm Beach Young Elite Auction to Benefit Babington Recovery

Proceeds from a horse will be auctioned to benefit the Babington Family

There will be an exciting new auction that will debut during the CSIO4* Nations Cup week at Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, Florida and a special effort to support Kevin Babington as he continues to recover from the catastrophic fall he sustained in 2019.

The Palm Beach Auction will present 16 elite young jumpers for sale via live auction on February 13th at 7pm in the VIP tent at Deeridge Farm. The 16 horses are the result of a selection process that involved a wide search across Europe and the involvement of the sport’s best breeders, trainers, and selectors.

Kevin Babington’s journey to recover from life-changing injury became a touch point upon which the entire equestrian industry rallied around because Kevin himself is a sportsman who is held in the highest esteem both for his show jumping accomplishments and for his unselfish manner and help delivered to so very many of us. The Palm Beach Auction gratefully accepted his assistance in the selection process, and to give back, a 17th horse will be auctioned off on February 13th, with 100% of the sale proceeds going directly to Kevin and his family to help offset the costs of his recovery.

A stunning three-year-old Balou du Rouet x Clinton gelding named “Balou Son” was donated by friends of Kevin to be auctioned as the first horse of The Palm Beach Auction. All are invited to attend the auction on February 13th, and the official Presentation of horses on February 2nd, directly following the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier at Palm Beach Masters.

Register at www.thepalmbeachauction.com.

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Take Me to Tokyo Gala Raises $1.5M to Publicly Launch “Raising the Bar” Campaign

Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation publicly launched its $40 million “Raising the Bar” campaign on Friday, January 17, at the organization’s Take Me to Tokyo gala at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, FL.

With more than 500 guests in attendance, the gala event, featuring chairs Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa and hosted by honorary chairmen Lou and Joan Jacobs, raised more than $1.5 million to support U.S. equestrian athletes and the U.S. Equestrian Teams headed to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Those funds help put the USET Foundation one step closer to the non-profit’s $40 million “Raising the Bar” campaign goal, and, thanks to the generous support of committed donors, it was announced on Friday night that that goal is now less than $9 million away.

Since 2017, the “Raising the Bar” campaign has privately raised more than $31 million that will allow the USET Foundation to ensure that U.S. equestrian athletes and teams have the financial resources needed to be competitive around the world.

“The USET is the not-for-profit entity that funds our teams in all international disciplines – the engine that enables our teams to represent us around the world,” said USET Foundation President James McNerney in Friday evening’s opening remarks. “The funds support our High Performance programs, including our senior teams – for their travel, logistics, coaches, veterinarians.

“We also support developing teams and our emerging level athletes – the [USEF] Talent Search, for example, and the North American Youth Championships,” continued McNerney. “As you can imagine, this is an ambitious agenda, and it requires hard work and significant funding. It takes a committed community to keep us at the top of the sport and ensure we have a pipeline of talent to stay there.”

Each and every campaign donor is critical to the campaign’s success. Included among the lead donors, whose gifts have and will continue to make a lasting impact, are:

  • Abigail Wexner who funded the Wexner Olympic Endowment
  • Fritz and Claudine Kundrun who funded the Development Dressage Program
  • Jane Forbes Clark for the establishment of the Clark Endowment Fund
  • Jacqueline B. Mars for the establishment of the Giltedge Endowment
  • Paul and Wendy Raether for the Raether Show Jumping Endowment

Springsteen and Scialfa were also among those instrumental in making a lasting impact in the success of the Take Me to Tokyo gala, thanks to their live auction donations of a Springsteen-signed Harley Davidson motorcycle and a signed FENDER guitar. Springsteen took the stage to help auction off the items, and, with Springsteen inciting higher bids by offering to start singing if the value reached a certain point, the two items raised more than $300,000 – enough for Springsteen to take over the stage and bring the full-house crowd to its feet and onto the dance floor.

Now, following the event and the “Raising the Bar” campaign’s public kick-off, the USET Foundation looks to others to help reach the final fundraising goal.

“In this public phase, we will need everyone’s help to reach our $40 million goal this year,” said McNerney. “We have a big year ahead with the [FEI] World Cup Finals in [the United States], and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The money raised through this campaign will help fund development through senior programs, not only this year, but also into the next quadrennial.”

The USET Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel, and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation. To learn more and to support the Raising the Bar campaign, please visit www.uset.org.

Dr. Piper Klemm to Speak at College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show January 17th

Piper Klemm, publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine, will give a keynote address at The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show Welcome Reception and Educational Presentations session on Friday, January 17th at 7:00 PM at the Marriott West Palm Beach.

Dr. Klemm will speak on the challenges and opportunities that come with being in equestrian business, and advice for her audience on how they can make their way in the horse world without becoming trainers. She will also be discussing her upcoming summer online course 2020 at St. Lawrence University (click for more info).

Lindsay K. Martin, President of CPI, is thrilled that Dr. Klemm will be addressing their audience. “I love having Piper speak to our CPI riders because I feel that they can relate to her and her story and that will walk away learning something.”

The College Preparatory Invitational offers young equestrians, in grades 8-12, the opportunity to explore the college equestrian experience through comprehensive education, competition, and scholarship/community service program.

During the CPI Horse Show event, athletes experience collegiate equestrian competition format; they can explore an equestrian-focused college fair, attend educational presentations, and take advantage of the opportunity for direct conversations with college admissions.

CPI saves families the expense of transporting and stabling a competition horse by providing suitable horses, saddles, and tack, so participants need only bring their show clothes, helmets, and crops.

Copyright © 2020 The Plaid Horse Network

Georgina Bloomberg Honored as 2019 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipient

Left to right: Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President, Georgina Bloomberg, and Murray Kessler, President, US Equestrian Federation. Photo by Adam Brennan – www.picturesbyab.com.

Georgina Bloomberg received the EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the Pegasus Awards Dinner on January 10, 2020 during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. The EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation established the Humanitarian Award in 2009 to honor a member of the equestrian world who has devoted considerable personal time to making the quality of life of our equine partners paramount.

Bloomberg is not only an accomplished, world class equestrian, she is also a renowned, committed, and highly influential animal welfare advocate who is an inspiration and role model to her many thousands of friends, followers and fans who follow her lead in helping all animals.

In 2006, at the age of 23, in the midst of a budding career in equestrian sport, Bloomberg established The Rider’s Closet to provide equestrian clothing to individuals in need, as she wanted to give back to the sport that had given her so much. In 2019, the Rider’s Closet became an EQUUS Foundation program.

“We learned firsthand that tens of thousands of people of all ages all across the country have been able to pursue their horsemanship dreams thanks to Georgina’s efforts,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “Equally fortunate are all of the horses whose futures might have been dramatically different without opportunities for them to partner with these tens of thousands of people who benefitted from The Rider’s Closet clothing.”

In accepting the award, Bloomberg said, “I have to say that of any award or prize that I have been lucky enough to receive while representing the USA, this has to be top of the list and most meaningful. It’s an amazing honor to have my name on this award, but this award is not a recognition of my work — my good intentions, yes — but much more than that — it is a recognition of how when people come together and work together as a team, what you can accomplish is limitless. I am incredibly lucky to have great people who have helped and continue to help make my dreams of accomplishments in the saddle and out become a reality.”

While Bloomberg’s crew of rescued pets includes a pig, a goat, numerous adopted and foster dogs, a cow and her calf, a rooster, and even a savvy pigeon named Steve, horses are Bloomberg’s first love, and they are at the center of her extensive and impactful animal protection efforts. Her rescued mother and son mini horses, Lola and Harley, Abe, the mule rescued from slaughter, a retired carriage horse named Sultan whom she adopted, and all the show horses she has retired at her farm that get to live out their days with loving care, all agree.

In 2017, Bloomberg became an EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar in addition to her already serving on the boards of prominent organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, the Hampton Classic Horse Show, the Lake Placid Horse Show, and the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.

As an EQUUStar, Bloomberg passionately advocates for horses at risk for abuse, neglect, and slaughter in both her words and actions, rallies other equestrians on behalf of horse welfare, and leverages her high-profile status, partnerships, and connections to drive home the message that all horses deserve happy lives and happy endings.

When Bloomberg wanted to pique her five-year-old son’s interest in learning to ride, it was no surprise that she made the choice to also make a difference in the life of an at-risk horse. Bloomberg adopted Teddy – a miniature horse rescued by Omega Horse Rescue from a kill buyer’s facility. Teddy and Jasper became a social media sensation, encouraging others to rescue and adopt.

“It was a thrill and a privilege to honor a member of the EQUUS Foundation family. Georgina’s passionate work and actions on behalf of the welfare of horses is extraordinary, exemplary, and powerfully inspirational,” said Coakley.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa Named Chairs of USET Foundation Take Me to Tokyo Gala

Photo courtesy of the USET Foundation.

Wellington, FL – Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa will join honorary chairmen Lou and Joan Jacobs as chairs of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Take Me to Tokyo gala, to be held on Friday, January 17, in Wellington, FL.

The gala, hosted by the Jacobs at their Deeridge Farm beginning at 6 p.m., will raise critical funds to support the U.S. Equestrian Teams headed to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.

“Helping this country’s equestrian athletes and supporting the U.S. Equestrian Teams has become a family affair for us,” said Scialfa, whose daughter, Jessica Springsteen, is successfully competing at the highest levels of equestrian sport and who has represented the U.S. on Nations Cup teams internationally.

The Springsteens were an integral part of the success of the USET Foundation’s 2016 Rockin’ Rio gala, which raised in excess of a $1 million, and the family hopes to help set new records again this year.

“Patti and I have been involved with the horse world for more than 20 years since Jess started riding when she was five years old,” said Bruce Springsteen. “Our lives have been deeply enriched by our involvement in the riding world. I’ve gotten to watch my daughter grow up into a young woman of character and excellence. I’ve gotten to watch the best in the world compete year after year, and I know what that takes.”

The gala evening will commence at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and a super silent auction, generously sponsored by NetJets, and dinner beginning at 7 p.m. followed by a live auction sure to be the most exciting one ever! The Boss will be auctioning off a signed Harley Davidson motorcycle and a signed Fender guitar to benefit the Team.

If you are interested in joining the Springsteens and the Jacobs in supporting the USET Foundation and the country’s equestrian athletes, please don’t wait as it is almost sold out. Tickets and tables may be purchased for Take Me to Tokyo here.

The event will also include the presentation of the USET Foundation’s most prestigious annual awards, including the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award; the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy, given to a young rider who exemplifies both horsemanship and sportsmanship; and the Whitney Stone Cup, awarded to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct.

For more information on the USET Foundation and Take Me to Tokyo, please visit www.uset.org.

Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, Laura Lee Brown Continue USET Foundation Gift-Matching Initiative

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one driving athlete who has seen the benefits of the Developing Athlete Program. Photo by Pics of You.

Gladstone, NJ – Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, and Laura Lee Brown initiated the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation Driving Challenge in 2017 with a goal of raising $1,200,000 for the U.S. Equestrian High Performance Driving program, and today, the loyal supporters and active drivers remain committed to closing in on that goal.

Through the Driving Challenge, multi-year gift commitments of $20,000 or more are matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000, by the Millers, Wilson, and Brown, who encourage fellow drivers, owners, and enthusiasts to help create a legacy for the High Performance Driving program by rising to the Driving Challenge.

“We created the Challenge because driving, historically, is such a small discipline, and it hasn’t been able to be very well-funded,” said Misdee Miller. “Early on, we recognized that we not only needed to raise funds for our athletes traveling abroad, but most importantly, fund programs and drivers at home.”

The Driving Challenge created a source of funding that can be drawn upon each year and has provided increased support for the Developing Athlete Program (DAP), which has been instrumental in the careers of up-and-coming drivers. A large percentage of the funds are allocated to hiring coaches running educational clinics across the country. There are also plans to develop an international working student program so that drivers can gain valuable first-hand experience competing in Europe.

“So far, the program has thrived and blossomed and has helped a lot of drivers,” continued Misdee Miller. “We’ve taken them from Preliminary all the way to becoming national champions. That’s the best way to recognize if a program has been successful or not.”

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one such athlete who has seen the benefits of the program first-hand, after coming up through ranks from the Preliminary level all the way to being named the 2019 USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Champion.

“I look back to where my horse and I were and to where we are now, and I just think, ‘Wow, we’ve come a long way!’ I have to attribute the vast majority of my success to the opportunities I’ve gotten through the DAP,” said Thompson, who works as a full-time equine veterinarian in Wisconsin. “I’m so thankful to those who have contributed to this program because it has helped me get to where I am today.”

Nifty Hamilton, who was the highest placed U.S. Combined Driver at 2018 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles, also credits the program with her success.

“The High Performance Program has been the cornerstone to my development as a driver and the training of [my horse] Makari Design up through the levels,” said Hamilton. “The quality and variety of the clinicians, in both training and lectures, that the USEF has offered, continue to move me forward toward my goals.”

“We’re really hoping we can get people excited about funding new drivers,” concluded Misdee Miller. “It’s training and developing and supporting drivers on their pathways from the grassroots all the way to ‘pre-podium.’ If we realize our goals, we would raise over a million dollars for driving. That would be quite historic.”

Learn more about being a part of history and making a donation to the Driving Challenge by contacting Bonnie B. Jenkins at bjenkins@uset.org or by phone at 908-234-1251.

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