Photos courtesy of Phelps Media Group.
WESTPORT, CT – March 21, 2014 – Spectators and visitors ringside at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, generally enjoy some of the world’s best show jumping, but on Sunday, March 16, 2014, they enjoyed a different form of Olympic-level equestrian sport: vaulting.
Guests at the EQUUS Foundation’s Fete Cheval Etoile enjoyed cocktails, dinner, dancing and an exhibition from the American Vaulting Association all in celebration and support of the amazing animal that is the horse.
Fete Cheval Etoile is hosted annually by the EQUUS Foundation, recognizing the positive impact that horses can have on everyday lives. Since its inception, the EQUUS Foundation has awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to charities across America that are improving the lives of horses, promoting the use of horses to enrich lives and educating the public about the horse’s unique abilities to empower, teach and heal.
The Fete Cheval Etoile, co-chaired by Jenny Belknap Kees, EQUUS Foundation Chairman, and Chrystine Tauber, USEF President, welcomed ten new inductees into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame, established by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in 2013 to celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and inducts both star competitive and humanitarian animals.
The ten new inductees joining the inaugural 62 horses inducted in 2013 include equine athletes A Ruf Gal, Bizkit, Brunello, CH Callaway’s Annabel Allison, Sam and Simon and equine humanitarians Lucky To Be A Larkin, Mr Wise Guy +//, Skipper and Staff Sergeant Reckless.
Visit the Horse Stars Hall of Fame HERE to learn more about all the inductees.
Upon arrival at PBIEC’s Gallery and Wellington Club, guests indulged in cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres while learning more about each of the new inductees through photos, video segments and short written biographies. Attendees mingled and took their chances on the Ariat International-sponsored games, Pin the Shamrock on the Pony and Wild Card Raffle. Lucky winners won a gift card toward any Ariat item up to $1,000, Ariat hats and water bottles.
Following the cocktail hour, guests dined in the Wellington Club before turning their attention to the International Arena for the vaulting exhibition. Brian Lookabill kicked off the evening’s entertainment with a moving musical tribute to the 2014 Horse Stars Hall of Fame inductees.
The incredible vaulting exhibition by the American Vaulting Association Friendship Team, whose strong, agile and talented members ranged in age from 15 to 31, followed Brian’s performance. The vaulters dazzled the crowd as they leaped on and off the 18+ hand Belgian mounts and displayed acrobatics that most would find extraordinarily difficult on the ground, let alone on the back of a large, cantering animal.
“We were thrilled to have the American Vaulting Association Friendship Team perform at the Fete Cheval Etoile and we owe special thanks to Scott Donovan of his overall coordination, the vaulters, Trey Lasater, Gabe Aniello, Caroline Shubert, Kalyn Geisler, Stephanie Harris, Alex Schaubhut, Francesca Foley, and Malu Foley, the horses, Cody and Samson, the lungers, Melanie Schaubhut and Kimberly Pritchett, and Coach Greta Shryock,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.
What’s even more amazing is that vaulting is a therapeutic activity for people with special needs. The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Loxahatchee, one of the Foundation’s grant recipients, housed the vaulting horses and provided its facility for the team to rehearse before the Sunday evening exhibition.
Following the vaulting demonstration, revelers moved inside The Gallery to dance and start their Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. The vaulters joined the party and quickly showed everyone up on the dance floor with their impressive dance moves and lifts.
From the vaulting to the post-party, the event would not have been possible without the support of generous sponsors, including corporate partners Animal Planet, Ariat International and Nestle Waters North America along with Gold Medal Sponsors Dan & Ellen Crown & the Crown Family, R. Bruce Duchossois, Becky & David Gochman, Stephanie & John Ingram, Caryl Philips & Frank Zeiss, and Split Rock Farm & Bobbie Braun.
Silver Medal Sponsors for the event included Jenny Belknap Kees & Tim Kees, Marylou D’Addario Kennedy & Sean Kennedy, Fairfield Equine Associates, Patricia J. Keenan & Lawrence D’Addario, Kathryn L. Quirk, Esq. & Dr. Denise Quirk and Wrenwood Farms.
Fete Cheval Etoile Bronze Medal Sponsors were Dr. & Mrs. Vincent J. Abbatiello, Jane Forbes Clark, Equestrian Sport Productions, Dr. & Mrs. Kenneth Garber, Gregory W. Gingery, Halo Capital LLC, Dr. & Mrs. Steven Herman, Sydney Keith, Caroline Moran, Elizabeth & Clifford Press and the Reid Family.
The EQUUS Foundation is also deeply grateful to its auction and gift sponsors: Dr. & Mrs. Vincent J. Abbatiello, Laura Alman, Ariat International, Badgley Mischka, Barbara’s Visions, The Bentz Family, Beval Saddlery Ltd., Biba NY, Connie Bostic, Bradford Renaissance Portraits, Clinique, Companion Dogs Ltd., Violeta Cromer, Steve Daiagi, Equestrian Sport Productions LLC, Escue Polo – Shahmir Quraeshi, GHURKA, Hampton Classic Horse Show, Hunt Ltd., JODS, Elena Lusenti Photography, Jennifer H. Lyne, Rollin McGrail, Dr. Jean M. Oberg, Karen Owens, Parlanti, Tacie Saltanstall, Susan B. Schoellkopf & Jennifer Alfano, Liz Segill, Signature Spurs, Southern States Cooperative, StallWatch, Debbie Stephens, Stephens Designs, The Styleliner, SummerTies, Jim Torano, and Turner & Co.
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: email@example.com, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.