On Saturday, March 10, officials from Douglas Elliman Real Estate ponied up with Grand Prix Show Jumping Champion Georgina Bloomberg and Give Back for Special Equestrians to spur donations and awareness for children and veterans with disabilities during the Douglas Elliman Winter Equestrian Festival $384,000 Grand Prix.
More than $15,000 was raised at the lavish ringside competition and gala in Wellington for Give Back for Special Equestrians, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide equine-assisted and therapeutic riding scholarships in Florida and New York for those facing some of life’s most difficult challenges, like autism, paralysis, spina bifida and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Douglas Elliman’s Dottie Herman presented the winning trophy to rider Daniel Coyle of Ireland aboard his mount, Cita. Afterward, Douglas Elliman’s Scott Durkin, a passionate horseman, welcomed guests and introduced Dr. Heather Kuhl, who joined Sissy DeMaria and Isabel Ernst in founding the all-volunteer charity.
“The Winter Equestrian Festival event is in step with Douglas Elliman’s mission to stand in support of friends, agents and clients in the equestrian arena, as well as important charities, like Give Back for Special Equestrians, within the communities we serve,” Durkin said. “We are proud to align our philanthropic efforts with such a wonderful cause.”
Dr. Peggy Bass, a board member of Give Back for Special Equestrians and the executive director of Good Hope Equestrian Center, extolled the life-changing benefits of equine-assisted and therapeutic riding for people with disabilities. Guests heard heart-warming stories of healing from special-needs rider Natalia Cercone and Christina Simmons, mother of five-year-old Ethan Simmons, recipients of recent Give Back for Special Equestrians scholarships.
Among those in attendance included: Georgina Bloomberg, Carlos Arruza Jr., Shai Tertner and Andrew Werner, David Luben, Cari Anderson, Doris Neyra, Dwigh Kuhl, Alfono Goyeneche, Munisha Underhill, Kyle Olson, Tiffany Morrisey, Cheryl Ernst and Rodrigo Pessoa.
“We are immensely grateful to Douglas Elliman, Georgina Bloomberg, Sidelines magazine, 3550 South Ocean in Palm Beach and the Mandarin Oriental in Boca Raton. Thanks to their support, we will be able to offer 15 annual therapeutic riding scholarships for deserving special-needs horsemen,” said Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, founder of Give Back for Special Equestrians.
Founded in 2013, Give Back for Special Equestrians was formerly known as Give a Buck for Special Equestrians. For more info., visit www.giveabuckeq.org.