Give a Buck for Special Equestrians, a nonprofit that supports horseback riding and equine-assisted therapeutic programs benefiting children and veterans with special needs, raised $75,000 at its second annual Pony Derby Classic and Gala, presented by title sponsor Baxter Hill on March 11 in Wellington.
Young riders from across the country saddled up for a good cause at the Winter Equestrian Festival dressed in traditional shadbelly riding habits while competing in three $5,000 divisions. Taking the first place blue ribbon for the small division was Kat Fuqua aboard her mount Goldhill’s Arresting Charm. Emily Aitken won the medium division riding Woodland’s Stevie Ray, while Claudia Freeman took the honors for the large pony division with Dreamland.
The Pony Derby Classic was followed by a gala evening. The “Enchanted Evening in Neverland” event, produced by Pzazz Productions, featured dancers dressed in fairy attire who captivated the nearly 200 guests.
Grand Prix rider and trainer Jimmy Torano emceed the event, inspired by the Gonzalez family, who shared how equine therapy gave their daughter a new outlook on life. Guests had the chance to bid on a number of amazing auction items.
“I am honored to work with such a dedicated group of volunteers and could not be more grateful to my co-founders Dr. Heather Kuhl and Isabel Ernst, our board members and event producer Tara Bieling, treasurer Cheryl Ernst, Hana Bieling and all of our young ambassadors for their invaluable support,” said Sissy DeMaria, founder of Give a Buck and event co-chair. “I’d also like to express our gratitude to title sponsor Baxter Hill; small pony division sponsor Back Country Farm; medium pony division sponsor Peacock Ridge; large pony division sponsor Ponies and Palms Show Stable; and lunch sponsor Collecting Gaits Farm.”
Give a Buck for Special Equestrians was launched in May 2013 by a small group of equine enthusiasts. The mission was to share the joy of horses and horsemanship with those children and adults facing difficult life challenges.
For more information, visit www.giveabuckeq.org or call (305) 608-5350.
ABOVE:Kids enjoy the Enchanted Evening in Neverland gala.