by Lori Foster
Last year after Region 14, Cindy Clinton and I were talking about a fun fundraiser for Region 14 for 2015. We discussed that it is a very strong English region and thought a Saddleseat Equitation Challenge would not only be fun but well supported. So the idea was hatched. After the tragedy that occurred at Youth Nationals and once we found out that Emme Moore and Jenny Lau had started the Hollywood Toi Foundation we thought we had found the perfect charity to support. Jenny, Emme, Lori Davidsson and I did much messaging deciding on how to run the class. Initially we were only going to allow 12 patterns to be run, but once we saw the outpouring of support for these trainers and how excited clients were to see “their” trainer do a pattern we decided to let them all run. I know it took a little longer but I think it was worth it!
When we started the fundraising aspect our goal was $25K, we had planned to give prizes to the top 5 money earners along with a prize to the equitation winner. The top prize was a 4 day stay in a beautiful home in Sedona, AZ. There was a leader board posted all week and believe me we had to update it frequently (everyone wanted to see where they were at). We took donations until 5 pm on Saturday, it was like a feeding frenzy at the table, the look on Jenny and Emme’s face was priceless when Elizabeth Pizzonia plopped down a huge check for John Rannenberg. So needless to say, John R was the top money earner, with Leah Beth in second, then Vicki, Jesse and Joe Reser. And when the girls totaled the donations they were over $60k, there were lots of happy tears at that point!!!!
The Class consisted of 20 riders and 19 patterns. The feeling in the arena was electric, signs being waved, support t-shirts being worn. Other trainers offering “advice” from the rail! Most of the riders took it very seriously, but a few decided to have fun with it. When Ashley Roberts came in you could hear the entire crowd whispering “is that Ashley”?! And the Siemons with their sports themed attire and Joel with his feather and wrecking ball made for fun too. The trainers did great for their patterns so we didn’t even give out our “worst pattern” ribbon. Overall, I think the class was one of the most exciting I’ve seen in a while and the stands were crowded even though it was late. It is so gratifying to see how the Arabian world embraced this charity that two young girls founded to honor a fabulous equitation horse that left this world way too early.
The HTF will be funding Scholarships in three categories: in the 14-18 equitation class at Youth Nationals, a year end sportsmanship scholarship and they will help sponsor a rider that otherwise may not be able to attend Youth Nationals.