Darragh Kenny Leads the Fun & Games at Fete Cheval for The EQUUS Foundation

Fete Cheval winner Darragh Kenny riding Leia, with Visse Wedell, Clea Newman Soderlund, Jenny Belknap Kees, and Elizabeth Press. Photo By: Phelps Media Group.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2011 – This year’s Fete Cheval was a huge hit that featured fantastic riders performing games on rescue horses on Friday, March 11, 2011. The beautiful night, presented by Foundation Farm, benefitted The EQUUS Foundation, which helps equestrian and horse related charities across the United States. There was a beautiful dinner for guests, catered by White Horse Tavern Catering on the grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center at their Special Events Tent.

The evening’s events got underway at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction, which were followed by a dinner buffet. The main event, the Gymkhana Games, got underway at 8:00 p.m., with horses provided by Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue and a group of world class riders. This year’s riders included Max Amaya, Derek Braun, Nick Dello Joio, Sandy Ferrell, Patricia Griffith, Charlie Jayne, Darragh Kenny, Kate Oliver, Kim Prince, Havens Schatt, Louise Serio, Shane Sweetnam, Jimmy Torano, and McLain Ward. As part of the silent auction, guests could bid to become a guest rider, which went to junior rider Alex Crown. The judges for the night were Ralph Caristo and Leo Conroy, along with special guest judge Kim Jacobs, with emcee David Distler.

The riders and horses were great sports as the first event, musical stalls, began the night’s games. After a few rounds of circling horses, the last stall came down to Havens Schatt and Derek Braun, and it was Braun who took home the blue ribbon for the first event.

The second event was a sit a buck where riders had to canter, sit the trot, post the trot, and jump a small fence all while keeping a dollar bill tied to a feather under one of the their legs. When Kate Oliver and Alex Crown were unable to make their horses trot the fence during the final competition the winning prize went to Ireland’s Darragh Kenny.

Next in the line-up was a team competition that tested the rider’s strengths to compete on a relay team, against the clock. The winning three-member team was Havens Schatt, Derek Braun, and Kim Prince. The audience then selected a fifth rider, Kate Oliver, to compete in the final ride-off along with the other riders who had each won an event throughout the evening.

For the final hack-off, riders had to trot and canter their mounts, then swap horses with another rider and complete the same skills. At the end of the night the judges determined that Kenny had the top performance and was presented with the championship prize by Co-Chairs Elizabeth Press, Clea Newman Soderlund, and Visse Wedell,and Jenny Belknap Kees, Chairman of the Board of The EQUUS Foundation.

“It was really fun to see the professionals out here having a good time,” noted Press. After his victory, Kenny added, “It was a lot of fun, and it’s for an awesome cause. It’s a wonderful event and a great idea. All the riders had fun, and I think the audience really enjoyed it as well.”

The event was made possible by its generous sponsors, including Title Sponsor, Foundation Farm; Official Vehicle Sponsor, Buick & GMC; Gold Medal Sponsors, Artisan Farms & the Ziegler Family, Flavia Callari, Equestrian Sport Productions, Stephanie & John Ingram, Elizabeth & Clifford Press, Juliet & Sam Reid; and Clea & Kurt Soderlund; Silver Medal Sponsors, Beth Congel & Doug Ulrich and Sheila & Eric Goetzmann, Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Dammerman, Equifit, inc., and Jenny Belknap Kees & Timmy Kees; and Bronze Medal Sponsors, Patricia Adikes-Hill & Rosalind Schaefer, Bobbie & Derek Braun & Split Rock Farm, Jane Forbes Clark, Gregory W. Gingery, The Gochman Family, Hi Hopes Farm & the Oken Family, Louisburg Farm, The Maounis Family, Elizabeth Monaco & Neil M. McCarthy, Katie & Jim Robinson, Beth & Michael Strauss, and the Toffolon, Keenan & Caccamise Families.

Over $200,000 in donations raised at the Fete Cheval and the Equestrian Idol event held on February 4, 2011 in Wellington will be used to fund programs that secure homes and useful lives for horses, improve the lives of people who benefit from horses therapeutically, and advance the equestrian sport – thanks in part to the auction and gift sponsors, Dr. & Mrs. Vincent J. Abbatiello, Adequan, Badgley Mischka, Beval Saddlery Ltd., Biba N.Y., Bobbie Braun, Companion Dogs & Philip Levine, Devoucoux, Equalign, Equifit, inc., Equine Artistry by Barbara, Equine Hyperbaric Center of South Florida, Food & Fond Memories Cooking School, Georgetown Stable Outfitters, Gracie Street Interior Design, Inc., Hadfield’s Saddlery, Hampton Classic Horse Show, Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival, Hunt Ltd., JPC Equestrian, Mr. & Mrs. David Page, Parlanti, pucciManuli, Rhythm Cafe, Mr. & Mrs. Franklyn Schaefer, Skid Row LLC by Skiffington & Widrow, Studio 561, Taylor Made Cafe, Turner & Co., and Windsor Manor.

For additional information on The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., visit the EQUUS website at www.equusfoundation.org or contact The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at telephone (203) 259-1550, email to equus@equusfoundation.org.

About The EQUUS Foundation, Inc. The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., established in August 2002, as a 501(c)(3) national charitable foundation, seeks to raise public awareness of the value of the horse in society through education and the awarding of grants to charities that use the horse to benefit the public, promote the health and welfare of horses, and elevate the equestrian sport as a whole.

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, which is responsible for the selection of the grant recipients. The Board includes: Jenny Belknap Kees, Chairman; Catherine Herman, Vice Chairman; Jane FitzGerald, Secretary/Treasurer; Lynn Coakley, President; David Distler, David Goodwin, Patricia Keenan, Frank Madden, Richard Mitchell DVM, Clea Newman Soderlund, Susan Weber and Visse Wedell.

Thanks to the generosity of its donors, The EQUUS Foundation helps thousands of people and horses each year. Over $1.5 million in grants has been awarded since the first awards in 2003. 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: equus@equusfoundation.org, website: www.equusfoundation.org.

Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386

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