Fete Cheval raises $200K for Equus Foundation

Ashley Holzer won the Musical Stalls competition
Ashley Holzer won the Musical Stalls competition.

The Equus Foundation has benefited to the tune of $200,000 from last week’s Fete Cheval at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center n Florida.

The event featured riders performing games on horses from Wall Street Farm donated by Heidi and Steve Lengyel.

The evening’s entertainment got under way in the International Arena guided by Emcee Brian Lookabill, who introduced McLain Ward as the evening’s guest judge, David Distler as the guest official, and this year’s riders, including Max Amaya, Derek Braun, Jimmy Fairclough, Weston Gracida, Patricia Griffith, Ashley Holzer, Kris Kampsen, Marcia Kulak, Alise Oken, Alexa Pessoa, Brandon Phillips, Kim Prince, Louise Serio, Jessica Springsteen, Shane Sweetnam, and Jimmy Torano, representing dressage, eventing, hunter, jumper, and polo.

As part of the silent auction, guests could bid to become a guest rider, and the additional riders included Hannah Bentz, Riley Bonis, Jacqi Casey, Camila Conesa, Alex Crown, Tim Dutta, Brad Gaver, Robi Kabnick, Courtney Kennedy, Valerie McAdams, Skye Perrotta, and Jean Sheptoff.

While the riders prepared for the games, Lookabill intrigued the audience with three special live auction items that included a Meet and Greet with McLain Ward and Sapphire, a Grand Prix Course Walk with Beezie Madden, and Private Polo Lessons for Four with professional polo players, Kris Kampsen and Brandon Phillips.

“Helping Horses Heal People says it all for us, said Jenny Belknap Kees, Chairman of the Board of The EQUUS Foundation. The $200,000 raised during this special night will be used for programs that secure homes and useful lives for horses and enrich the lives of people who benefit from horses therapeutically, recreationally and competitively.”

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, when the music stopped for the last time, it came down to Louise Serio and Ashley Holzer, and it was Holzer who took home the blue ribbon for the first event.

The second event was named the Dolly Parton where riders had to put on a bra, canter across the field, fill the bra and their shirts with apples, and then sit trot to the finish line. Alexa Pessoa topped the night with an astonishing 21 apples. Jimmy Fairclough and Weston Gracida each held on to 19 apples, but it was Fairclough who claimed the reserve honors with the fastest time.

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 team included Jimmy Torano, Kim Prince, Jimmy Fairclough, Alise Oken, Derek Braun, Max Amaya, and Patricia Griffith.

The Equus Foundation is a national charitable foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, fostering 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. Our goal is to transform the way horses are treated and perceived and build a more compassionate America that values the magical and powerful bond we have with horses.

The Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million in grants to equine charities across America, provides academic and equestrian scholarships to reward volunteerism, and has achieved national recognition as the primary organization in the equine world solely focused on both horse welfare and fostering the horse-human connection in the therapeutic, recreational, and sport communities.





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