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Karin Offield, Adam Snow and Chris Kappler Don Knee Pads and Polo Helmets for Equestrian AIDS Foundation
Equestrian Sports Promotions
Wellington, FL — Dressage rider Karin Offield and Olympic Medalist Chris Kappler suited up in kneepads and polo helmets and took mallets in hand to help raise money for the Equestrian AIDS Foundation. Offield and Kappler were joined by 10 Goal polo pro Adam Snow on the Brek N Ridge Dressage Team at the fifth annual Sidelines Triathlon on January 8. The event has become a fixture on the Palm Beach scene and is a spectator and rider favorite. Where else can one witness polo riders pursuing the fine intricacies of dressage and dressage riders going for broke over jumps or facing off against some of the world’s toughest polo professionals?
“The event is intriguing, ” Offield said. “I took some polo lessons and I had ridden jumpers so the triathlon really brought it all together.” The thrill of equestrian sport as well as the important work of the Equestrian AIDS Foundation convinced Offield to help sponsor the event by forming the Brek N Ridge Dressage Team.
Four teams of three riders competed in dressage, jumping and polo not only for the medals, but to give back. “I think it is really important for high profile people to be involved in this type of event. The goal is to attract more sponsors and spectators that will raise money and awareness for the Equestrian AIDS Foundation,” Kappler said.
Although this was Offield’s first Sidelines Triathlon, both Snow and Kappler were veterans. They shared their expertise as the team trained in the days leading up to the event. Offield honed her polo and jumping skills, “ Working with Adam and Chris was first rate. Each piece of advice they gave me was crucial to our outcome.” The men also had their share of practice. Snow received dressage tips from Offield and Kate Etherly, Brek N Ridge Farm’s Assistant Manager. Everything culminated with a polo scrimmage a few days before the big event. “For me that was the best day of sporting competition.” Offield said.
Brek N Ridge Dressage could not have been any better prepared as the big day rolled around. The event began with the dressage competition. Although Offield had planned on letting the team use her new small tour horse, Diego Garcia, a last minute minor illness took him out of the game. Robert Dover, the chef d’equip for dressage quickly found the team a replacement, a gorgeous chestnut schoolmaster, Groenhaan owned by Marc Ulanowsky and in training with Dr. Michael Kohl. The talented Grand Prix veteran helped Snow and Kappler master the dressage test that included canter serpentines, leg yields and other challenges. Kohl commented that he was impressed that in the ninth hour the team could start anew with a different horse!
For Kappler the test was not as different from his usual routine as one might think. “I really enjoy [dressage,]” Kappler explained. “I do a lot of dressage work in my day to day riding.”
In second place after phase one, the Brek N Ridge Dressage Team was poised to provide a proper challenge during the gamblers choice jumping. With Kappler devising a course and a talented former grand prix jumper, Polar Bear by the famous sire Concorde, owned by Cortie Wetherill, providing the jumping ability, the Brek N Ridge Team hoped to climb into first place contention.
“Even though I hadn’t jumped in years, it really is like riding a bike,” Offield commented. “And with a wonderful horse like Polar Bear and Chris Kappler coaching, I was confident.” Offield turned in a brilliant round that commentator Ronnie Beard described as “the best.” Snow did not disappoint and also put in a great showing. After the jumping phase the Brek N Ridge Team pulled into a tie for first with Christian Currey’s Farm Vet Team. It would all come down to the polo match.
Although the polo pros were not allowed to score that did not prevent them from demonstrating their expertise. “Adam was the backbone of the polo team. He was offense, defense and everything in between!” Etherly said. Kappler concurred. “Adam is a marvelous player. He handled the defensive end all by himself. It was up to Karin and I to try to score. “
The Brek N Ridge Team was not the only one with fantastic polo talent. Kappler and Offield were pitted against the likes of Orrin and John Ingram and hotshot player Chris Kampson. “I think I’m pretty tough, but Kampson was formidable,” Offield said. Although Brek N Ridge lost the first chukker, they redeemed themselves with two goals by Kappler in the second, and a win against the Farm Vet Team. “ I was very impressed that Brek N Ridge beat Farm Vet as they have two very seasoned polo players on their team and Chris and Karin have had very little polo training,” said Kris Bowman, Equestrian Director at the Vero Beach Polo and Saddle Club.
Brek N Ridge Dressage finished with the silver medal, but the experience was golden. “This was absolutely the most fun thing I have done,” Offield said.
Two Swans Farm earned gold. Brek N Ridge Dressage won silver; Farm Vet claimed bronze and RV Sales of Broward took home pewter. The event was held at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The total dollars raised for the Equestrian AIDS Foundation are still being tallied, but the silent auction dollars doubled from the previous year and the VIP tent was sold out. The Equestrian AIDS Foundation will be the beneficiary of the event in 2006.