Second Annual Salute to Driving Benefit Offers Generous Support to USET Foundation

Lisa Singer and Wendy O'Brien at the 2012 Salute to Driving. Photo: Vicki Long

Aiken, SC – February 22, 2012 – For the second year in a row, the ‘Salute to Driving’ weekend benefit hosted a beautiful Dinner & Live Auction on Saturday, February 18, 2012, for the benefit of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation to help support the USEF High Performance Combined Driving. The successful evening was held at Wendy O’Brien’s beautiful Trout Walk Farm in Aiken, SC. The event was held to help raise funds for the USET Foundation that will be dedicated to helping train the best drivers and equines to represent the USA in World Driving Championships with the goal to bring home Team and Individual Medals.

The dinner began at 6:30 pm, and during the evening’s Live Auction, attendees bid on auction items which included lessons with top driver Michael Freund in Florida, lessons with Chester Weber during the Live Oak Driving Event 2012, a dinner for six presented by Jack Wetzel at his newly restored 1780s log cabin in Aiken, a week-long vacation in a four bedroom Victorian home on Block Island in Rhode Island, a Picnic Supper for 20 people at Wendy O’Brien’s Trout Walk Farm hosted by the Bronze medal winning team from the Pony World Driving Championships, and a Ride on a Coach with the Four-in-Hand Club with lunch in the Audubon Nature Preserve. In addition to the live auction, a silent auction featuring 30 quality items was held throughout the day on Saturday, and came to close following the dinner.

“My sincere thanks go to the most enthusiastic organizing committee, headed up by Bev Lesher, Lisa Singer, Wendy O’Brien and Jack Wetzel. Their energy and commitment to raising awareness and funds to help the High Performance Driving programs is truly appreciated,” said USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie B. Jenkins.

The overall “Salute to Driving” was a three-day event held February 18-20, featuring multiple driving clinics with some of the world’s top trainers, and a Combined Test Competition for drivers Preliminary-Advanced on Monday. The weekend helped raise awareness and educate different audiences about the discipline of driving. The exciting festivities kicked off Saturday morning with clinics by Tjreed Velstra of The Netherlands and Hardy Zantke of California at Chateau Log and Courage to Lead Farms. The clinics continued Sunday, and throughout the course of the weekend there were other special events that included a hazard demonstration and clinic, harnessing demonstrations, and a carriage exhibit. An additional highlight on Sunday was the Driving Blind Cones activity with golf carts, where participants truly learned the importance of the navigator.

Finally, on Monday, February 21, the Salute to Driving weekend wrapped up with the thrilling Combined Test Competition, and there was also a “Dressage by the Side” clinic conducted by Nancy Tomlinson. During lunch, attendees experienced a part of history when Raymond Tuckwiller of West Virginia gave a Coaching Horn demonstration in full coachman’s livery. The final event was a wonderful “Pas de Deux” dressage demonstration featuring Shelly Temple driving “Cooper,” and Suzy Stafford driving “Roz” to some lively disco music.

“The general consensus that came back from everyone confirmed it was a very enjoyable three-day fundraising event,” remarked Assistant Chairman Bev Lesher. “A lot of people walked away with new information about the driving discipline, and in some instances a better understanding of their own equines. There was wonderful participation in all of the events, and once again we had fun while raising funds for the USET Foundation and the discipline of driving.”

For more information about the Salute to Driving, please visit

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation ( is the 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.

For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at

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

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