2009 PVDA Ride for Life and Dancing Horse Challenge Bring In Record Donations, Support
Belinda Nairn-Wertman and Jennifer Sirrine Named Challenge Winners
Upper Marlboro, MD--The Potomac Valley Dressage Association (PVDA) announced that their sixth annual Ride for Life dressage show and Jill Hassler-Scoop Memorial Dancing Horse Challenge charity performance brought in record donations and attendance this past weekend, June 27-28, 2009. The benefit for the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center took place at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
At the Challenge, international-level equestrians rode their horses to music for a chance to win the Dover/Nutrena People’s Choice Award (awarded to Jennifer Sirrine) and Rosenthal Land Rover $5,000 Trophy (First Place and $3,000 were awarded to Belinda Nairn-Wertman by Olympic judge, Linda Zang).
Also competing in the Challenge were: 2009 Olympian, Courtney King-Dye; Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel; 2009 Brentina Cup rider, Lauren Sprieser; and, Jules Anderson. Barbara Strawson performed a tribute ride accompanied by the Bowen McCauley Dancers, Hope Garden dance studio and music by the late Eva Cassidy. Jaralyn Gibson-Finn and Rebecca Langwost-Barlow performed a Pas de Duex. Olympian Debbie McDonald was the Gala's celebrity guest speaker. Unable to ride, but in attendance was Betsy Steiner. Dr. Cesar Parra, Cathy Morelli and Michael Barisone, were also unable to perform at the last minute.
“Saturday evening’s Dancing Horse Challenge brought approximately 2,250 spectators into the Showplace Arena, almost doubling last year’s attendance. This is notably high turnout for a dressage event of this kind. By Sunday morning, people on multiple online forums were comparing the event to the World Cup,” says Chair of Ticket Sales, Hilary Moore.
Donations are still being counted and the total raised is pending, but the pre-event auctioning of a dressage clinic with Olympian Debbie McDonald brought in $8,500, the Saturday evening silent auction raised over $10,000, and one group of North Carolina riders raised more than $20,200 in donations themselves.
The PVDA Ride for Life brought in over $161,000 in rider donations and sponsor contributions before this year’s event and plans on holding their seventh annual show on June 26-27, 2010.
Saturday evening’s Dancing Horse Challenge has become one of the largest equestrian freestyle performances in the Mid-Atlantic Region and is popular with both the sport horse and non-equestrian communities in the area.
Dover Saddlery, DressageClinic.com, El Paso Corporation, Nutrena, Patuxent Nursery and Rosenthal Land Rover were key sponsors of this year’s event.