Tag Archives: charity

McLain Ward’s Donation Extends Silver Oak Jumper Tournament’s Support for Omega Horse Rescue

McLain Ward and the late, great Sapphire won the 2009 CN $1 Million at Spruce Meadows. Photo by Bob Langrish.

Leave it to McLain Ward to be generous and thoughtful.  He is not only one of the greatest show jumping talents, but he is one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport. McLain donated championship coolers from some of his historic wins with Sapphire and other great horses from Castle Hill. Now you can bid to win one of these keepsakes from some of the greatest moments in American show jumping history with all funds going directly to the Omega Horse Rescue Fund.

The first treasure is the 2008 American Invitational championship cooler in the scarlet Budweiser colors, from his win with Sapphire.

Second is the impressive 2009 Farnam Platform USEF Horse of the Year finalist cooler, awarded to the great “Sara,” the mighty Sapphire. That year, McLain and the powerful Belgian Warmblood mare won the $1 million CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in Canada, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and World Cup Qualifier (Hampton Classic), the $400,000 FTI Finale Grand Prix CSI Five-Star (Winter Equestrian Festival) and the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon.

These two coolers hold special historical significance. Sapphire, McLain’s beloved partner, passed away in 2014 and the American Invitational, first held in the old Tampa Stadium in 1973, has not been held since 2015. Now you can own a piece of history and help a great cause in the process. Click here to place your bid.

At August’s Silver Oak Show, thousands were raised for Omega Horse Rescue. Tony Grossman, a part owner of Sapphire, bid and won McLain and Sapphire’s American Invitational Cooler during the show.

Follow Silver Oak Jumper Tournament on Facebook where we will announce the auction winners. We will add more auctions for McLain’s historical coolers, so stay tuned to our Facebook page. We’ll announce the winning bids twice monthly.

silveroakjumpertournament.com

Valegro’s Shoe Donated by Carl Hester Earns Top Dollar to Benefit Equestrian Aid Foundation

Carl Hester coaching at the NEDA 2017 Dressage Symposium. Photo by Mary Phelps.

New Gloucester, Maine – Oct. 19, 2017 – A silver-plated horseshoe once worn by superstar dressage horse Valegro raised $5,000 for Equestrian Aid Foundation at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Carl Hester Symposium, held Oct. 14-15 in New Gloucester, Maine. The bidding was hot among the clinic attendees. In the end, Betsy Dangel from Newton Center, Massachusetts made the highest bid when the auction closed.

The top-priced auction items were presented to the winners on the closing day of the symposium. Hester admitted he took the silver-plated shoe from Charlotte Dujardin’s desk.

“We made nine of these shoes which have all been donated to charity,” Hester said. “Now I have to tell Charlotte the last one went to America.”

Other items included an original painting of Hester and his horse Nip Tuck titled “The Master” by artist Lisa Marie Bishop with Hester’s signature, and a signed banner photo collage of Hester, Nip Tuck, Dujardin and Valegro created by DressageDaily’s Mary Phelps.

In total, nearly $8,000 was raised for Equestrian Aid Foundation. Hester said he was thrilled that the auction went so well.

“Not only did I have great riders and horses to train, Valegro’s shoe raised $5,000 for the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” he said.

The auction was orchestrated by Markel’s Mary Phelps, a Gold Sponsor of the event. Phelps has been a supporter of Equestrian Aid Foundation since its founding in 1996.

“Let’s face it,” Phelps said. “Carl is a rock star and so is Valegro. People were stalking the bidding table until the closing bell.”

Janise Gray, Equestrian Aid Foundation director of grant recipient services, attended the event.

“We are grateful to Mary Phelps for the success of the silent auction,” Gray said.  “For two decades, Mary has exemplified our ‘Show You Care’ motto. The Equestrian Aid Foundation helps people across the country involved in all facets of the horse community.  It is through the efforts of our supporters like Mary and Carl that we are able to provide financial assistance, hope and dignity to help our recipients heal.”

Edited press release from HorsesDaily.com.

Equestrian Aid Foundation
11924 West Forest Hill Blvd
Suite 10A-377
Wellington, FL 33414
800-792-6068
EquestrianAidFoundation.org

Celebrating the Stars of the Community at PBIEC during 2018 Great Charity Challenge

Photo Credit ©GreatCharityChallenge.

Wellington, FL – October 16, 2017 – Palm Beach County charities will get a chance to showcase what it truly means to be a star this coming February.

For the past eight years, equestrians and their dazzling mounts have been captivating the local community at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to give Palm Beach County charities a chance to shine and win up to $150,000.

The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) is inviting all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the event’s ninth edition, a pro-amateur relay show jumping competition.

Thirty-four of these randomly drawn charities will meet their “lucky star” on Saturday, February 3, 2018, to receive a share of the $1.5 million dollar purse.

The application process opened on October 16, 2017 and will remain active through 5:00 PM on November 15, 2017 via www.greatcharitychallenge.com. All non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County are invited to apply and try their good fortune.

The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $10.8 million from the equestrian community to 220 non-profits in Palm Beach County.  What sets this event apart is the fact that 100% of the money raised gets distributed to local non-profits. With 34 participants randomly selected each year, first place is guaranteed $150,000 with a sliding scale to the minimum amount of $15,000 for every participating charity.

Over the last three years, the GCC brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center welcomed, “Superheroes”, “Fairy Tales Characters” and “Animated Characters”. The GCC is proud to reveal this year’s theme: “Hollywood Feature Film”, a tribute to “A Night When Everyone Is a Star”.

Mark Bellissimo commented, “This ninth year honors the local stars of our community.  We hope to give them an opportunity to shine and let them redefine what ‘stars’ are truly made of. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Paige Bellissimo, who is actively involved in the community, added, “The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community. We hope that this year’s edition will help future generations see what stars are truly made of! We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors, and partners who support the effort.”

If you know of a deserving Palm Beach County-based charity, please have them visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com for full application details and information. Please note that the application process for the 2018 GCC is open from October 16, 2017 through November 15, 2017 (5:00 PM).

The random drawing to select the 34 charities from those that have applied to participate in the 2018 GCC will be held on December 2, 2017 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (Wellington).

For the latest event information and application guidelines, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.

Equestrian Aid Foundation to Launch Show You Care Program at Summer in the Rockies

Photo by EQ Media.

Wellington, Fla. – June 16, 2017 – Equestrian Aid Foundation will launch their new horse show program, Show You Care, at the Colorado Horse Park’s Week IV of the popular hunter/jumper show series Summer in the Rockies. Equestrian Aid Foundation is the designated charity during Week IV, which runs from June 28 – July 2.

“We care about the people who make up our horse community and support the mission of Equestrian Aid Foundation,” said Colorado Horse Park’s chief operating officer, Meg Krueger. “We are proud to host the launch of their Show You Care program at Summer in the Rockies.”

Equestrian Aid Foundation Executive Director Louise Smith will be on-site for the official kick-off of the program and will host the exhibitor’s party, sponsored by Tami George Agency/Markel Insurance, Saturday, July 1, immediately following the $60,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix. George will also be on hand for the festivities.

“We are all very excited about Show Your Care and we’re grateful to Equestrian Sport Productions and everyone at Colorado Horse Park for their support,” Smith said. “Many thanks to the Tami George Agency and Markel Insurance for their sponsorship. It will help to spread awareness about the Foundation across the country and help more horse people in need.”

Tami George is an avid equestrian and has served the horse community as an agent for Markel since 2002. “Markel Insurance and the Equestrian Aid Foundation serve the same group of committed equestrians, and I am pleased to support their new show program,” George said. “Together, our helping hands can make a real difference when horse people need assistance.”

The Show You Care program is a simple and impactful way for horse show managers to support the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s mission of helping critically ill and injured horse people – from riders and grooms to judges and ground crew: the very people who populate show grounds day after day.

The program is designed to be uncomplicated. Show managers designate a warmup or schooling class in the hunter and jumper divisions as a Show You Care class. Then the show managers choose a percentage of each entry fee, from 5 to 50 percent, per designated class to donate to the Equestrian Aid Foundation at the end of the show. Because Equestrian Aid Foundation is a nonprofit organization, all donations are tax deductible. Show managers control the depth of their contribution by their selection of the classes and the percentage of contribution.

Upon completing their rounds in a Show You Care class, competitors will receive a green Show You Care lapel ribbon, provided by Equestrian Aid Foundation. Riders are encouraged to wear their ribbons throughout the show and share their photos on social media (hashtags #ShowYouCare and #EquestrianAidFoundation). Winners of a monthly Show You Care social media photo contest will win a prize.

Smith says that she looks forward to the Show You Care launch at Colorado Horse Park, and she encourages other show managers to participate. Caring about seriously injured or ill members of the equestrian community is a great message to send, and Equestrian Aid Foundation promotes supporting competitions in the press, on the web, in email marketing and in our social media.

Interested show managers may sign up now for the Show You Care program for their 2017 summer and fall horse shows. Contact Emily Cleland at Emily@EquestrianAid.org.

The Equestrian Aid Foundation® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists people from all corners of the horse world who are coping with life-changing injury or illness and financial crisis. Since its inception 21 years ago, the Foundation has granted over $2.7 million in direct financial aid to equestrians facing adversity. Our needs-based support provides assistance with basic living and rehabilitative expenses to riders, trainers, farriers, grooms, horse farm owners and other equestrians who need a helping hand to get back on their feet. For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

113th Annual Keswick Horse Show Is a Success

Photos: Kathy Russell Photography.

Charity Horse Show to Benefit UVA Children’s Hospital Presented by Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund

Keswick, Va. May 24, 2017 – The Keswick and equestrian communities gathered together for the 113th Annual Keswick Horse Show presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund from Tuesday, May 16th through Sunday, May 21st, 2017. The event took place at the historic Keswick showgrounds.

The week was filled with activities that portrayed the essence and pride of Keswick, such as The Eastminster Dog Show which was enjoyable for all as children had fun with their dogs by participating in musical chairs, agility courses and a “Best in Show” class while parents and spectators enjoyed live music and great food. Over the weekend, the community filled the grandstand and surrounded the ring in full force to kick back, relax and tailgate. The week also featured Karats & Cocktails, an event showcasing beautiful Elizabeth Locke Jewels. This event took place on Thursday, May 18 and a portion of the proceeds benefitted the UVA Children’s Hospital.

UVA Graduate Michael Mahoney took the $20,000 UVA Children’s Hospital Jumper Classic on his own “Ramona Heron.” Peg Seals took the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on the horse, “Select.”

Ms. Maxwell placed first in the Best Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider, Grand Amateur Owner Hunter (3’6”) Champion on her horse “Largesse”, The Donald Memorial Challenge Trophy on “Largesse”, $1500 Keswick H.S. Amateur Owner Classic 3’6” on “Largesse”, Grand Amateur Owner Hunter (3’3”) Champion and $1500 Keswick H.S. Amateur Owner Classic 3’3” on her horse “Kingston”.

“Keswick exceeded my expectations and it has been an honor working with The Keswick Horse Show,” said Founder of The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, Lindsay Maxwell. “It has been my mission to support local charities and communities that align with the fund. Being a competitive rider myself, I see the importance of giving back. We raised a lot of money and awareness for the UVA Children’s Hospital. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful charity horse show and am looking forward to next year’s event.”

About The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund: The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is a private, charitable fund. It accepts grant proposals for the benefit of charitable, educational, or scientific purposes, exclusively from tax-exempt, charitable organizations. The issues where the Fund focuses its resources reflect Lindsay’s personal priorities and values: improving the lives of children with special needs; enabling access opportunities to education; and providing care, compassion, and protection to animals.

Contact: Jessica Greene, Sirota Public Relations
212.486.3319, jessica@sirotapr.com

The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Presents the 113th Annual Keswick Horse Show

Lindsay Maxwell and her horse, Widget. Kathy Russell Photography.

Charity Horse Show to Benefit UVA Children’s Hospital

Keswick, Va. May 2, 2017 — The 113th Annual Keswick Horse Show presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, will be held at the historic Keswick showgrounds from Tuesday, May 16th through Sunday, May 21st, 2017.

This year The Keswick Horse Show is brought to us by the Keswick Hunter Jumper Foundation to benefit UVA Children’s Hospital. The Keswick Horse Show was selected as the 2015 VHSA Horse Show of the Year in addition to being designated a USEF Heritage Competition, maintaining its distinction as an AA-rated World Champion Hunter Rider event.

“UVA Children’s Hospital is proud and grateful to be the beneficiary of the Keswick Horse Show for the third year running,” said UVA Children’s Hospital Associate Director of Development, Kate Rullman. “Proceeds from the show will help us continue to provide compassionate care to every child who comes through our doors. UVA Children’s Hospital is committed to excellence and we are proud to be recognized as national leaders in pediatric healthcare and research.”

The Keswick Horse Show began in 1904 and has been running every year at the historic showgrounds of The Keswick Hunt Club. It is the second oldest horse show in the country. Since its inception, The Keswick Horse Show has helped different charities including Habitat for Humanity, Charlottesville Senior Center, The Boys and Girls Club, SPCA and UVA Children’s Hospital. Over the past 20 years, the horse show has raised close to $500,000 for its different charities and has attracted some of the most famous horses, trophies, exhibitors and trainers to walk the showgrounds.

“We are thrilled to host our 113th Keswick Horse Show. This competition has become such an integral component of our community. It’s a must attend event for both community members and top-level equestrians,” said Co-chairman of The Keswick Horse Show, Doug Wheeler. “Thanks to organizations like The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund charity horse shows can continue to grow, thrive, and help the charities that they serve. It’s people like Lindsay whose mission is to dedicate themselves to the sport by providing opportunities and memories to children that make this world better.”

The week features an action-packed and lively schedule of events. Highlights include the Eastminster Dog Show & Exhibitor party, which is held under the tent on Wednesday night. On Thursday night, “Karats and Cocktails” will take place to benefit the UVA Children’s Hospital. The weekend kicks off on Friday with the USHJA National Hunter Derby followed by dinner and dancing as well as the Jumper Classic on Saturday with a beautiful evening afterwards. This event has become a tradition in Keswick. To conclude the week’s events, on Sunday, a relaxing Down Home Fish Fry on the porch will be a perfect way to wrap up this unforgettable week.

“It is an honor to be working with The Keswick Horse Show. Being both a competitive equestrian and someone who understands the need to give back, I felt it was important to get involved with charity horse shows. They combine my two passions,” said Founder of The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, Lindsay Maxwell. “The horse show will help to improve the lives of so many children in the area.  The proceeds go to the UVA Children’s Hospital and that is why we chose to become involved with such a wonderful charity horse show.”

About The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund: The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is a private, charitable fund. It accepts grant proposals for the benefit of charitable, educational, or scientific purposes, exclusively from tax-exempt, charitable organizations. The issues where the Fund focuses its resources reflect Lindsay’s personal priorities and values: improving the lives of children with special needs; enabling access opportunities to education; and providing care, compassion, and protection to animals.

Contact: Jessica Greene, Sirota Public Relations
212.486.3319, jessica@sirotapr.com

Equestrian Aid Foundation’s Spectacular “ALTHEA” a Sold-Out Smash Hit

Former Cavalia performer S. Caleb Carinci Asch. DDeRosa photo.

Wellington, Fla. Feb. 20, 2017 – Greater Palm Beach County enthusiasts and equestrians gathered Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Global Dressage Festival Stadium for the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s annual gala. General admission tickets and VIP tables for “Althea,” featuring former Cavalia artists, were completely sold out. The evening raised funds to support Equestrian Aid Foundation programs that provide financial assistance to those in the equestrian community suffering from catastrophic illness and injury.

“For this year’s benefit, we decided to take a unique approach. We provided a magical and magnificent experience presented by both humans and horses,” said Equestrian Aid Foundation President Stephanie Riggio Bulger. “This organization is incredibly grateful to Keith Greco for this compelling performance. The success will provide Equestrian Aid with the opportunity to help many horsemen and horsewomen in need.”

Produced by Greco, an award-winning California production designer, “Althea” was a tribute to the relationship between horses and humans. The equestrian ballet told the story of Argos, a horseman who is crippled and in despair and finds himself in a land where a magical stallion, Althea, has the power to heal.

Former Cavalia headliners Sylvia Zerbini, S. Caleb Carinci-Asch, Kansas Carradine, other equestrian artists and their horses engaged the audience with their spectacular performance, created exclusively for the one-time event. The evening included a live and silent auction, with unique items such as a vintage Mercedes, a month of training with Rio Olympic Dressage team member, Steffen Peters, and a sunset yacht cruise.

“I was excited to produce this event for a wonderful organization such as Equestrian Aid Foundation,” Greco said. “There are so many in need of assistance from all corners of the horse world who are coping with life-changing injury or illness and financial crisis. Without Equestrian Aid they would be lost. I look forward to seeing how the success of this evening will help those in need.”

The Equestrian Aid Foundation® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists people from all corners of the horse world who are coping with life-changing injury or illness and financial crisis. Since its inception 20 years ago, the Foundation has granted $2.7 million in direct financial aid to equestrians facing adversity. Our needs-based support provides assistance with basic living and rehabilitative expenses to riders, trainers, farriers, grooms, horse farm owners and other equestrians who need a helping hand to get back on their feet. For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Media Contact:
Jessica Greene
Sirota Public Relations
(917) 783-2334
jessica@sirotapr.com

Urban Youth Impact Wins Great Charity Challenge at WEF

Shane Sweetnam. Photos © Sportfot.

Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Staszak Takes Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal

Wellington, FL – February 4, 2017 – The team of riders Shane Sweetnam, Lindsey Tomeu, and Sedona Chamblee, team sponsors Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack & Nutritionals earned the top prize of $150,000 for their charity, Urban Youth Impact, on Saturday night in the 8th annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Also competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Saturday, Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Sherkan d’Amaury.

The 2017 GCC donated a record $1.5 million to 35 local Palm Beach County charities, bringing the eight-year total up to $10.7 million distributed through the event to date. The winning charity received the top prize of $150,000, with a sliding scale for the balance of the proceeds down to 35th place, which wins $15,000.

The competition is held as a pro-am team relay with each team made up of junior and amateur riders competing side by side with top professionals. The event also featured a fun theme, as riders (and their horses) dressed up as characters from their favorite animated movies.

Representing Urban Youth Impact, Sweetnam, Tomeu, and Chamblee rode for team sponsor Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack and Nutritionals dressed as characters from The Flintstones. All three riders cleared the course without fault and clocked the fastest combined time of 85.27 seconds for the win. Sweetnam and Tomeu were also part of the winning team in 2016, while Chamblee was competing in the event for the first time.

“It is a fantastic cause, not just for our team, but for a lot of different foundations in the area,” said Sweetnam, who anchored the team as professional rider. “I do not know if there is anything else like it in the country or anywhere really. Every year we try to do our best for whatever cause we are given. Obviously the girls did a great job, and I just finished it off. They were really motoring, so it was great.”

Tomeu (23), who has been competing in the event for the past four years, stated, “Every year we really try hard to win. We put together a good team, and last year we had a great team. We really wanted to step it up and do it again, and we did, which is amazing. We were even faster this year than we were last year, which I did not think was possible. Sedona was fantastic with her switch-off. It was really amazing.”

Chamblee (15) added, “This was my first year doing the Great Charity Challenge, and it was really fun. It was a great experience, and you get to ride for an amazing charity, which is really cool. Like Lindsey said, it was just amazing.”

Representing team sponsor Spy Coast Farm, Lisa Lourie commented on her team’s win for the second year in a row.

“I think it is a great way to involve the community here with our sport, as well as for us to give back to the community,” Lourie stated. “It is a win-win for both the community and for us. When we get to be involved with either educational or urban youth organizations, we are especially happy. We are very happy to be involved with Urban Youth Impact.”

Team sponsor Monica Preston added, “I am so proud to be a part of this group, and it is really wonderful that a small charity can benefit so greatly. I am so proud of the riders, and thank you to Lisa for getting me involved in this event.”

Charity winner Urban Youth Impact’s mission is to love, equip, and empower inner-city youth and their parents to fulfill their God-given purpose. Representing the organization, volunteer Sarah Armada detailed, “It is an organization that provides a safe place for kids to go after school. They get reading support; they get the arts. There is African drumming and ballet. There are things that these children would not be otherwise exposed to. They do so much for the community, and I think this is a great way to get their name out there and just provide them with all of the resources that those kids so desperately need. This is going to make a huge difference.”

Armada continued, “It is all about building their capacity and letting the kids feel empowered and equipped so that they can go out and be successful in their community.”

Adopt a Family was the second wildcard draw of the night, and ended up in second place overall, with riders Sydney Shulman, Lilli Hymowitz, and Hannah Patten representing the charity. Team sponsor the Patten family and corporate sponsor H5 Stables supported the riders, dressed as characters from Lilo & Stitch, with a combined time of 94.02 seconds.

Representing the charity Hepzibah House, Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster, and amateur riders Alexandra Crown and Alexandra Welles, placed third. Dressed as My Little Ponies and riding for team sponsor the Crown family and corporate sponsor Stone Hill Farm, all three ladies jumped their courses without fault and clocked a combined time of 97.47 seconds.

GCC co-founder Paige Bellissimo was thrilled with the success of the eighth annual event and praised everyone involved on a fantastic evening of sport and charitable giving.

“It is really special year after year to have so many great riders participating in the event,” Bellissimo stated. “It is amazing that people donate their time to give back. The executive directors of all of the charity organizations are the lifeblood of these communities, and it is just really amazing that we can all come together to support the community and see it grow. I want to thank the riders and the sponsors. Thank you Lisa and Monica for supporting year after year. It is so cool to see the charities and everyone’s unique way of helping. Urban Youth Impact is empowering our youth, and the youth are our future, so thanks go to them for everything they do.”

Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m

2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington was the winner of week four’s $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Saturday at the Winter Equestrian Festival riding Sherkan d’Amaury. Jumping a track set by course designer Steve Stephens (USA), Farrington topped a class of 29 entries and an eight-horse jump-off.

Kent Farrington and Sherkan d’Amaury

Sherkan d’Amaury, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kannan x Quick Star) owned by Farrington, Haity McNerney, and Daniel Crown, carried his rider to victory in a time of 39.54 seconds over the short course. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) took second and third place honors, riding the Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt through the timers in 39.92 seconds, and stopping the clock in 40.56 seconds aboard Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC’s Main Road. Canada’s Beth Underhill finished fourth, riding Sandy Lupton’s Count Me In to a clear round over the jump-off track in 40.59 seconds.

Remarking on his winning round with Sherkan d’Amaury, Farrington stated, “For him, I just did what I thought his strengths were. I think what won the class today was the leave-out to the last fence. He has a very big stride and big scope, and he is so careful that he is actually better if I am catching every jump accelerating, or out of rhythm. I think that is where we got it today.

“I think a lot of this horse,” Farrington continued. “I had him last year, and then he had a terrible colic surgery, and he just started showing this winter two weeks ago. The first class in the week he was third, and then yesterday he was second, and today he won, so he is really on the mend and I’m happy to have him back.”

Sherkan d’Amaury has a fast pace and a unique way of going that suits Farrington’s strengths as a rider.

“He is my style. He is super careful, which I try to find in all of the horses I buy,” Farrington stated. “I try to get extreme quality, and sometimes that works against me, but in the end I think that is the way you get the best horses. They tend to be a little bit the weirdos. They are spooky and not always the easiest to ride, but that often goes hand-in-hand with an extreme horse that has that kind of blood and that kind of carefulness. It is a double-edged sword, but that is what I like to ride.”

Sherkan d’Amaury is just getting back in top form and Farrington will continue developing him throughout the winter circuit.

“I think he can jump anything,” the rider noted. “It is just a matter of building him the right way, and seeing where his confidence is, and what his body is ready for. He came off of a long gap there not doing anything all last year, so we’ll see where he goes. It is a long winter and we have lots of time to build him up, so I am looking forward to it.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Sarah Bagworth and Goldfinder vd Hengstenpoel won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers.

Staszak Captures Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Victory

The Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal concluded Saturday morning with Catie Staszak of Boynton Beach, FL emerging as the winner. Staszak shows in the Adult Amateur Medals while also focusing on her career as a multimedia sports journalist. All 11 competitors participated in a jumping and a flat phase.

“Flatwork has typically been my weakness,” Staszak detailed. “The jumping phase felt phenomenal. Everything worked out well and was smooth, which is key. It wasn’t the most technical course, so it was really about position and keeping on a nice rhythm.”

Staszak was aboard Agnes Augusta, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare owned by East Wind Farm, LLC. The pair has been partnered together for about four years.

“We just click,” Staszak explained. “She’s really sensitive, and I’m a very soft rider so we get along well. She’s come so far, especially in the past year. I couldn’t be prouder of her. She’s really special, and I love her to death.”

Staszak rode in the equitation classes as a junior, but took a break from showing to get her degree in broadcast journalism at the University of Miami. She does grand prix commentary for live streaming events, which combines for a career of two of her passions – horses and journalism.

Rounding out the top three competitors were Sara Ballinger taking second place and Elissa Davis being awarded third place.

The fourth week of WEF concludes on Sunday with the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village. The Bruno DelGrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division will award championship and reserve honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

School Art Initiative to Honor Great Charity Challenge Participants at PBIEC

Animation Ringside Chalk Art Festival Pairs Young Talent and Philanthropy

Wellington, FL – January 19, 2017 – At the heart of the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL has welcomed art departments from local elementary, middle, and high schools for the last four years, showcasing their talents to thousands of spectators during the twelve-week season. With the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival fast approaching, this year’s art initiative has been announced. An Animation Ringside Chalk Art Festival, honoring young talent and Palm Beach County philanthropy, will take place during the 2017 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), on Saturday, February 4.

From horse statue decorations to mini-jump creations, the 12 public schools in Wellington have showcased their diversity and imagination via annual projects at PBIEC over the years. The proposed initiative is available for students in first through 12th grades.

The Ringside Chalk Art Festival will celebrate, inspire, and encourage the creative expressions of the students and their teachers while empowering the participants of the 2017 GCC.

The 2017 GCC will distribute more than $1.5 million to local charities. This year’s event is sure to inspire adults and children alike, as riders will dress as their favorite animated characters and bring beloved movie characters to life at PBIEC.

Each Wellington school will be provided with a 4-foot by 6-foot giant chalkboard and have two hours to bring their animated creation to life. A panel of judges will present the awards as well as cash prizes.  Each school is guaranteed a minimum of a $1,000 donation for participating. The public will be invited to cast their vote as well.

“On behalf of Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Equestrian Partners, we look forward to welcoming the 2017 participants of the GCC as well as the Art Departments of the Wellington public schools. Highlighting the talent and imagination of the students joining us will remind us all that you do not have to be a child to dream of miracles. The evening will honor those that imagine and dream of a better community, while the event sponsors and riders will make it a reality,” stated Paige Bellissimo.

The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $9.2 million from the equestrian community to more than 200 non-profits in Palm Beach County over the last seven years. The Wellington PTA/PTO is the only group to receive an automatic admission into the event every year and has received well over $350,000 to date.

The GCC competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival will offer free General Admission and will be held Saturday evening, February 4, 2017, at 6:00 PM. Free parking will be located at 13500 South Shore Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414.

For the latest event information, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.

Polo for a Purpose Promotes Awareness, Supports Fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma

Brandon Phillips.

Wellington, FL – January 8, 2017 – The International Polo Club Palm Beach will welcome the first charity event of the year on Monday, January 16, hosting Polo with a Purpose, benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®, while showcasing a high goal polo game in conjunction with a Gipsy Sound Revolution concert following the match. The event will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a 24-goal polo match and continue throughout the afternoon with entertainment and family fun.

P.J. Rizvi and Brandon Phillips, co-organizers of the event, alongside Visse Wedell and Penny Bradley, spend their year preparing and planning for the event, which aims to raise funds and awareness for those diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, all different forms of blood cancers.

“We started preparing for this event just a month after last year’s event, so it is something that we work on throughout the year,” said Phillips, a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a renowned polo player. “I’m excepting this year, by far, to be our biggest year yet.”

“The money we raise from this event benefits the local community and patients fighting these diseases. This is why Brandon and I do this event together and have become such good friends,” explained Rizvi. “My sister, Penny, passed away from leukemia and Brandon is a survivor. We hold this event very close to our hearts.”

Through the fundraising efforts of the Polo for a Purpose committee, more than $600,000 has been donated to the mission of finding a cure and supporting emerging treatments. This year, both Rizvi and Phillips are anticipating that number will greatly increase with the tremendous growth of the event.

“We want to create awareness and include everyone. This event is for the community,” continued Rizvi. “I always say that the motto for this event is that we’re chipping away at blood cancer one penny at a time.”

The event, which is not only open to the equestrian community, but also to the citizens of Wellington, will feature an elite polo match ahead of an exciting concert, all hosted on the polo grounds. Rizvi elaborated, “By supporting this event, you’re saving lives. People sometimes underestimate how important this research is. The money we raise goes to covering co-pays, transportation, second opinions, new research and so much more.”

As the event date approaches, event organizers are expecting a large turnout of supporters, spectators, and survivors on Monday, as it is a day of rest for the equestrian community and part of the holiday weekend. This is the first year that a concert has been incorporated into the event timeline and both Rizvi and Phillips believe that it will help to grow the event and add an extra element of fun to an already meaningful day.

“What we’ve been able to do in the last four years has just been incredible. I wish we could have started this fourteen years ago. You know that you want to give back and this event provides an outlet to do that,” added Phillips. “This year is going to be special. The proceeds will 100% go back to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®. It’s going to be a great game and it’s my goal to make these events fun. We want people to enjoy their time while supporting the cause.”

“When someone you love is diagnosed with blood cancer, your entire family is diagnosed,” concluded Rizvi. “We want to help the families in this community and support opportunities for research and treatment that will one day cure this disease.”

To purchase tickets for the event, please visit www.poloforapurpose.com or click here. To learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®, please visit www.lls.org.

For more information about the International Polo Club, please visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.