Cirque Vertigo. Photos courtesy of Phelps Media Group.
WESPORT, CT – March 13, 2013 – Stars of the equestrian world gathered for the EQUUS Foundation’s Fete Cheval Etoile on Friday night, March 8, 2013, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. The event featured the premiere of the Horse Stars Hall of Fame, a joint effort of the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to celebrate the extraordinary talent of the horses and the powerful bond between horses and people.
“We are, of course, indebted to all our sponsors and donors, including the presenting sponsors, Dr. Betsee Parker – Huntland, Spy Coast Farm, and the Crown Family,” said Lynn Coakley, President of the EQUUS Foundation who also served as the emcee. “However, the Event Co-Chairs, Ellen Crown, Jenny Belknap Kees and Elizabeth Press, were the inspiration for this amazing evening of non-stop entertainment.”
Guests were the first to see the new website (www.horsestarshalloffame.org) created as the virtual home of the Hall of Fame. A photo gallery and biographies of the 62 horses in the first class of inductees were on display in PBIEC’s Gallery. The Hall of Fame recognizes horses in two categories: those with extraordinary athletic accomplishments and those who have gone above and beyond in serving the public and having a life-changing impact on individuals with special needs.
Jenny Belknap Kees, EQUUS Foundation Chair, and Chrystine Tauber, USEF President, were on hand to launch the Hall of Fame. In welcoming the audience, Coakley said, “Since the beginning of civilization, horses have been vital to human survival. Although their role has changed, they continue to steal our hearts and imagination.”
“For most of our event guests, it is the horse’s talent as an athlete that has bonded them with these gentle giants,” Coakley continued. “However, for many people with special needs, horses are amazing humanitarians – providing comfort, confidence and pure joy. The Horse Stars Hall of Fame tells the stories of their extraordinary achievements.”
Over $225,000 was raised at the Fete Cheval Etoile to support the worthy mission of the EQUUS Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, advancing the use of horses to enrich the lives of people in need and educating the public about the horse’s unique ability to empower, teach and heal.
“Equestrian Sport Productions under the leadership of Katharine and Mark Bellissimo and the coordination of Vaneli Bojkova made sure our event was a success.”
“It took a lot of patience, adaptability, professionalism and generosity to make this event possible,” said Coakley.
Ki-Juan Minors, a talented equestrian and singer/songwriter and the winner of the EQUUS Foundation’s Equestrian Idol competition in 2008, enchanted guests with a song to honor the Hall of Fame inductees while world renowned artist Josee Nadeau created an original live painting, inspired by the music. “Lynn tries to keep the Idol winners involved in EQUUS Foundation events,” Minors said. “For this event, she called me up and said, ‘Ki, we want to do something completely different. See if you can come up with a song that would be a fitting tribute for the horses being inducted into the Hall of Fame.'”
“The sound of Minors’ beautiful voice really made my hand flow,” said Nadeau, whose Equestrian theme paintings are on display for sale at The Gallery at the Winter Equestrian Festival until March 31. “His voice was magic; it was like feathers. Every stroke that went on the canvas was the right one.” Nadeau recently painted live on stage to the full 95 piece Salt Lake Symphony Orchestra, something that has never been done in the World before. Her combination of Art and Music started after George Harrison sang to her in 2000 at the private home of Guy Lalibertē, the founder of Cirque du Soleil.
As the guests enjoyed cocktails, made bids on silent auction items and perused the photos in the PBIEC Gallery, guests were treated to juggling and balancing acts by Cirque Vertigo. Members of two legendary circus families, the Wallendas and the Arestovs, came together to create the troupe. Later in the evening, the show continued as guests dined in the Wellington Club. Heart-stopping balancing feats and thrilling acrobatics, including a suspenseful mother-daughter aerial act, kept guests on the edge of their seats.
The successful live auction, featuring energetic auctioneer Field Ladd, included the sale of Nadeau’s live painting and a VIP table at the Alltech National Horse Show. Professional polo players Brandon Phillips and Kris Kampsen donated a group polo lesson. “This is a great cause,” Phillips said. “You have to give back at some point, and they do a lot of great things, so it’s my pleasure to do what I can.”
Guests also had the opportunity to bid on a meet-and-greet with Laura Kraut and her Grand Prix show jumper, Cedric, including a course walk alongside Kraut. “I feel very strongly about the EQUUS Foundation and I want to do whatever I can to help their cause,” Kraut said. “Cedric loves to meet new people, so it’s a great opportunity.” “The event was beautiful,” she added. “I think they’ve done an unbelievable job. It was a five-star party, and we had a great time.”
Dr. Vincent Abbatiello, along with his wife, Jill, who served on the event committee, said, “The Fete just established itself as the premier event of the season. We had a great crowd, great people and great entertainment. But more importantly, we raised a sizable amount of money to make a better life for horses and a better life for the people that horses touch.”
Susan Alcala, Ariat International Vice President of Partnership Marketing, expressed her appreciation for the Foundation’s work. “We’re thrilled and proud to be a corporate partner of the EQUUS Foundation,” she said. “Equine welfare is very important to us, so we look for opportunities to do everything we can to be involved. It was a terrific event with great turnout – they did a beautiful job.”
The event was made possible by its generous sponsors, including Presenting Sponsors Dr. Betsee Parker – Huntland, Spy Coast Farm and The Crown Family; Platinum Sponsors Split Rock Farm and Visse Wedell; Gold Medal Sponsors Mike & Mary Carpenter, R. Bruce Duchossois, Equestrian Sport Productions, Becky & David Gochman, Dr. Jen & Bruce Hlavacek, Stephanie & John Ingram, Louisburg Farm, Sara & Rick Mershad, Elizabeth & Clifford Press, and PJ & Suhail Rizvi.
Silver Medal Sponsors for Fete Cheval Etoile were Jane Forbes Clark, The Carlson Family, Marylou D’Addario Kennedy & Sean Kennedy, Patricia Keenan & Lawrence D’Addario, and Mr. & Mrs. Walter T. Kees. Bronze Medal Sponsors included Dobbs Show Jumping, Fairfield Equine Associates, Dr. & Mrs. Kenneth Garber, Gregory W. Gingery, Dr. & Mrs. Steven Herman, Sydney Keith, Kim Prince & Snowbrook, P. F. Farm, Quiet Corner Farm, Jennifer & Eric Ross, Juliet & Sam Reid, William & Shirley Reilich, Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Springsteen, The Toffolon Family, and Wrenwood Farms.
The EQUUS Foundation is also indebted to its auction and gift sponsors, which were as follows: Dr. & Mrs. Vincent Abbatiello, Alltech National Horse Show, Ariat International, Steven Axelrod, Handyman, Baden Wellness Centers, Inc., Badgley Mischka, Barbara’s Visions, Beval Saddlery Ltd., Bradford Renaissance Portraits, Shelli Breidenbach, Changing Reins, Christine Rose Photography, Clinique, Tina Duryea, Stephen Filarsky, GiGi New York, Hampton Classic Horse Show, Hunt Ltd., JODS, Kris Kampsen & Brandon Phillips, Laura Kraut, Modern Styles For Life, Morgan Terry, Josee Nadeau, Parlanti USA, Inc., Mike Snider, Skiffingtons LLC, Turner & Co. and Viking Yachts.
Please click here to see more photos from the event.
About The EQUUS Foundation
The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, advancing the use of horses to enrich the lives of people in need and educating the public about the horse’s unique ability to empower, teach and heal. What started as a local effort is now a nationwide campaign on behalf of horses. The Foundation accomplishes its mission by providing financial support to horse-related charities across the United States; connecting a network of equine organizations to equine enthusiasts; providing scholarships to reward volunteer service on behalf of horses, and conducting information outreach to educate the public about 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.
About The Horse Stars Hall of Fame
The Horse Stars Hall of Fame was established by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in 2013 to celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and the magical bond between horses and people; honor the contributions of amazing horses, share the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats and build a more informed and compassionate America that values the impact of horses in our lives.
The 62 horses inducted into the Hall of Fame include Adams Fire, Aequus+//, Afires Heir, Authentic, Betsy, Brentina, Cefnoakpark Bouncer, CH Callaway’s Copyright, CH Courageous Lord, CH Our Charming Lady, CH Sprinkles, CH The Daily Lottery, Champagne, Cocoa, Coral Reef Via Volo, Courage to Lead, Dante FQ, Erin’s Glencara, Esteban, Flexible, Floriano, Free Willy, Germ, Go Sasquatch Go (AQHA), Goldie, Goodie, Gunners Special Nite, Head of the Class, Heza Jackrabbit, Hidden Creek’s Jones, Jamaica, Jersey Boy, Kleng, Klinger, Kripton-Seni II, Liberty, Lone Star, Lucky Vaquero Legacy, Manoir de Carneville, Mister Nicadual, Mrs. Butterworth, Murphy, Neville Bardos, NTEC Richter Scale, Pennfield, Perfect Chance, Pharoah’s Fire, Ravel, Sangree Marshall, Sapphire, Selwood Park Deneuve, Sjoerd, Starr Llight, Sugar Babe, Suncie Skyra Ray, Theodore O’Connor, Tiziano, Tumbleweed, Valentino, Weltino’s Magic, Winsome Adante, and WR Sonaskada+//.