Photo courtesy of Susan J. Stickle.
The Challenge of the Americas (COTA) is busting down borders! Not only is COTA returning after a year’s hiatus to help find a cure for breast cancer; it’s so big, it’s going global.
COTA’s signature six-rider Grand Prix Quadrille Team Challenge will be held live on March 9 at the world-renowned Global Dressage Festival (GDF) show grounds in Wellington, Florida, and for the first time, it’s also being live-streamed via Chronicle TV.
To add more excitement, the competition will break down borders as one of the teams joins the four teams riding live to compete via video from Holland.
Six Dutch Grand Prix riders, Maria Anna Digman, Miranda Hoezen, Sylvia van den Broek, Michelle Westerdijk, Renee Zoomers, and Walda Zwart, are thrilled to join in the first international Challenge of the Americas to help end to breast cancer. Their freestyle will be pre-recorded and they’ll join Wellington-based Team Back on Track, Team MatchNRide, Team Purina, and Team Winged Foot via the big screen in the GDF International Arena.
Team Back on Track riders include Allison Kavey, Jim Koford, Nicole Levy, Sallie Spenard, Betsy Van Dyke, and Noel Williams. Cynthia “Tigger” Montague serves as choreographer and coach for the all-American team.
Team MatchNRide, whose riders hail from Canada, includes Patrick Battison, Jaimey Irwin, Tina Irwin, Harper Mackenzie, Evi Strasser, and Tanya Strasser. They are under the direction of choreographer Eva Pracht and musical creator Karen Robinson.
Team Purina, under the watchful eyes of choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo and coach Bill Warren, is comprised of Americans Charlotte Bredahl, Pam Goodrich, Kim Herslow, Kasey Perry Glass, Betsy Steiner, and George Williams.
Team Winged Foot, an international team made up of Marco Bernal, Raul Corchuelo,
Susanne Hamilton, Bridget Hay, Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, and Ilse Schwarz, is under the direction of choreographer and coach Ruth Hogan Poulsen.
Other global touches include a Grand Prix freestyle performance by top Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén aboard Paridon Magi, a pas de deux by U.S. riders Heather Blitz and Catherine Haddad Staller, and a quadrille showcasing the beauty and elegance of the PRE horse.
“It’s time we went global,” said COTA founder Mary Ross. “Breast cancer knows no boundaries and to help end breast cancer, we need to raise more donations ear-marked for breast cancer research. The best way for us to do this is to reach out to equestrians in other locations for their support.”
Funds from ticket sales, sponsorships and donations will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation through their partner Play for P.I.N.K. The mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.
“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Challenge of the Americas and indebted to everyone involved in wanting to see the end of breast cancer,” said Stephanie Hamburger, Executive Director of Play for P.I.N.K., a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). “The Challenge of the Americas’ support is critical to the research-funding capability of BCRF. The money raised will impact the lives of countless individuals and families affected by the disease.”
Join us Friday, March 9 at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds, or via live-stream on Chronicle TV. VIP tickets for the Challenge Gala are available at challengeoftheamericas.com. General admission tickets available at the door for $20.