Douglas Elliman Saddles Up For A Good Cause At WEF

Douglas Elliman gave a big leg up to two equestrian charities during its Winter Equestrian Festival Gala on Saturday, March 11 during the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.

The gala evening, hosted by elite equestrians and honorary chairs Georgina Bloomberg and Jimmy Torano, featured a thrilling evening of Grand Prix show jumping, a silent auction with vacation packages from around the world, music and entertainment. Proceeds raised benefited Give a Buck for Special Equestrians and the Rider’s Closet.

After presenting the winning trophy to rider Karen Polle of Japan aboard her longtime mount, With Wings, Douglas Elliman President & CEO Dottie Herman and COO Scott Durkin, along with Florida brokerage CEO Jay Phillip Parker, COO Gus Rubio and Palm Beach Managing Broker Don Langdon, joined the gala’s host committee — including Jessica Springsteen, Paige Johnson, Adrienne Sternlicht, Shai Tertner, Nikki Alexandra Carr, Munisha Underhill, Isabel Ernst, Alfono Goyeneche, Alex Hamer, Lillie Kennan, Heather Kuhl, Jack Morgan, Kyle Olson, Catherine Tyree and Congressman Patrick E. Murphy — in support of Give a Buck for Special Equestrians and the Rider’s Closet.

“Douglas Elliman is passionate about giving back to our equestrian communities, and we are delighted to support the important mission of Give a Buck for Special Equestrians and the Rider’s Closet, two charities making tremendous strides for special needs horseback riders, so that they can experience the joy of horses and horsemanship while receiving the life changing benefits of equine therapy,” Herman said.

Among the evening’s highlights was an inspiring speech by Lauren Martinez, a special needs horseback rider, who spoke emotionally about how her life has been forever changed through the power of equine therapy, while Dr. Heather Kuhl explained the therapeutic benefits, which range from improving balance to enhancing fine motor skills.

“Douglas Elliman is a long-standing sponsor of the Winter Equestrian Festival. We are very pleased to support such a worthwhile cause that is uplifting hearts, minds, bodies and spirits of children and veterans facing some of life’s most difficult challenges,” Parker said.

The event raised more than $30,000 for Give a Buck for Special Equestrians and the Rider’s Closet, which will provide 30 much-needed scholarships for deserving children and veterans with disabilities so that they can experience the benefits of equine therapy.

An all-volunteer organization founded in 2013 by Sissy DeMaria, Give a Buck for Special Equestrians provides financial support to therapeutic horseback riding facilities throughout Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and New York. Give a Buck’s mission is to share the joy of horses and horsemanship with children and veterans facing difficult physical and emotional life challenges.

Founded by Georgina Bloomberg, the Rider’s Closet is a clothing exchange program that makes important gear more accessible to therapeutic riding programs, pony clubs, intercollegiate riding programs and individual riders in need. The Rider’s Closet accepts gently used show clothes and riding gear, and then donates the items to those who request them.

ABOVE: Jay Phillip Parker, Gus Rubio, Don Langdon, Marc Bellissimo and Dottie Herman.