Challenge of the Americas - Equine Musical Competition to Benefit Breast Cancer Research

Phelps Media Group

Start a conversation, and odds are that most peoples’ lives have been touched by breast cancer in some way – a friend, a relative, a colleague. When Mary Ross lost her mother to breast cancer, she wanted to preserve her mother’s memory as well as make a difference for others suffering from the disease. She started a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during the Wellington, Florida horse show season that has grown in popularity with riders and spectators alike.

Mary’s love of horses made a riding demonstration a natural outlet for her, and several years ago she organized a Pas de Trois: three horses performing dressage movements together to music. Over the years the exhibition grew, and six horses began performing together, their movements choreographed to a musical ensemble created just for them. The exhibition delighted crowds and Mary’s enthusiasm attracted participants as well as spectators, making the quadrille one of the favorite benefits of the horse show season in Wellington, as the music makes the spectacle entertaining for everyone.

“The horses will be dancing for women around the world,” said Mary Ross. “The music is fun, festive and upbeat. It’s something that everyone can enjoy – everyone will be dancing in their seats and having a grand old time.”

This year the fundraiser will be called The Challenge of the Americas, and will be a competition with teams representing Canada, the United States and Latin America. Each team will perform a Grand Prix quadrille, with six horses performing together to music. Grand Prix is the highest level of dressage, a French word meaning ‘Training of the horse.” All of the horses and riders have represented their country in International competition, and are competing currently at the highest level of the sport. Several participants competed in the Olympic Games in Athens last summer. Also, each team will have two individual performances to music. The quadrille will count for fifty per cent of the score, and individual freestyles will count as 25% each.

Community participation and sponsorship has been outstanding this year. Sponsors include Anheuser Busch, Aragon Stables, Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance, Dressage Canada,, Euro-American Saddlery, Highlife Farms, Hoffman’s Chocolates, Horse Deals US, Klassic Kur, Leather Goods of Spain, Marismas Sporthorses, Outback Steakhouse, Palm Beach Polo,, The Players Club, Tiffany and Co., Play for P.I.N.K., Premier Equestrian, Red Barn Feed and Supply, Royalty Farms/Diamond Legacy Breeding and the United States Dressage Federation.

Tiffany and Co. of Boca Raton will graciously provide the trophies for the competition. Store Director Ashley Carter said, “Tiffany prides ourselves on being good corporate citizens, and we have a long history of providing trophies for competition: the Vince Lombardi Trophy in football, the World Series Trophy in baseball, and the US Open Trophy in tennis, for example.”

This year’s Challenge of the Americas fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be held at the Palm Beach Polo Club and the Players Club Restaurant at 6:45 p.m. on March 12, 2005 in Wellington, Florida.

While VIP seating has nearly sold out, there will be extensive field-side general admission seating available for a $10 donation, and general admission spectators are welcome to bring their own refreshments.

Spectators and those interested in more information are invited to go to the Challenge website, where more information is available, as well as the opportunity to “meet” the riders that will participate in this spectacle under the lights. The address is
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