Giant Steps Charity Show Recap

Editor’s note: A big thank you to guest editor Kris Loewenthal for today’s blog post!

The best thing about the 2012 Giant Steps Charity Classic was that everyone had an amazing time. The show was nearly sold out and there were smiles abound from all of the competitors. The show raises money for the Giant Steps Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Center which is located on the showgrounds at Sonoma Horse Park. Giant Steps services over 100 riders from around the Bay Area with a wide range of disabilities. Their mission is is to enrich and change the lives of children and adults with disabilities through the extraordinary benefits of therapeutic riding and related equine-assisted activities. They receive no state or federal funding and this event is the biggest fundraiser of the year. It was really fun to watch all of our fellow riders having such a great time at this special show.

Thursday night was the infamous Wild Turkey Farms Battle of the Sexes. Ten men and ten women battled it out over a speed course that was not without its thrills and spills.


Assistant trainer John Wohr completes his ride on my wonderful mount, "Ari." Photo credit: Alden Corrigan for Equestrian Life.

One of the girls get a little too fast to the last fence!!! Oops! In the end, as hard as we cheered for the ladies the boys took home the prize. Well done boys! Photo credit: Alden Corrigan for Equestrian Life.

Friday night was the Revolution Moto Ride and Drive where pairs of riders teamed up over a jumping obstacle course and then tossed their partners the keys to a Vespa which they had to ride through an obstacle course on the field. Again, not without it’s thrills and spills.

Assistant trainer John Wohr on the motorcycle grabs the keys from his riding team partner. Photo credit: Alden Corrigan for Equestrian Life.

And he's off. Photo credit: Alden Corrigan for Equestrian Life.

Many participants dressed in costume, some horses did too. Photo credit: Alden Corrigan for Equestrian Life.

The prize of the night went to Mandy Porter and Craig Starr. Mandy said she wasn’t sure who was going to have to drive the pink one!! (Photo credit below: Alden Corrigan for Equestrian Life.)

Saturday night was the night for the Barclay’s Six Bar and the Gala Soiree. The berm was transformed into a beautiful setting with gorgeous wines being poured and a lovely meal on hand. When the Giant Steps riders came out and performed a demonstration on the Grand Prix field and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Then some of the top riders and horses came out for the Six Bar. It was a great juxtaposition and a reminder of how special our horses are on so many levels.

Our riders represented well at the show. Chestnut Hill sponsored the Marguerite Burbank Memorial Ch/AA Classic to honor the passing of our dear friend and barn mate. She was a truly special soul who helped all of us smile and laugh on a daily basis. Thank you to Beverly Jovais for making this class possible. Congratulations to Caroline Robbins and Stir It Up for their win.

Madison Bradshaw and her young horse Flynn took home the Championship in the 1.05M division. Assistant Trainer John Wohr was Champion in the Baby Greens with Holiday, and Reserve Champion with Fullbright in the Beginning Hunters. Gwen McLaughlin and Olympic took home the Reserve in the the Children’s Hunters, as did Dina Smith and Capito in the Low Adult Amateur Hunters.

Dina and Capito riding to a Reserve Championship.

Aurora Noel and Astro Zeneca had a great outing for their first show together. New Mom Sara Guren moved up a division in the jumper ring and went fast! Several of our other riders also did well in their move up divisions.

A big special congrats goes to Haley Jacquin for winning the Best Child Rider Award. She and her mount Right On Time were Champions in the Small/Med Pony Hunters as well as Reserve in the Pony Equitation and when I asked the manager of Sonoma Horse Park, Ashley Herman, how you go about choosing the best child rider she simply said ‘It was obvious.’ Congratulations Hayley!!!

I was very honored to receive a special award, the Draper Technologies Best Foot Forward Award. The award gives recognition to riders who present the best attitude and horsemanship during each show,” said Kat Wojtylak, Product Manager of Draper Equine Therapy. “Riders with a positive attitude and a smile on their face make the show world a far better place, and Draper Equine Therapy wants to reward those riders by proclaiming they are putting their ‘best foot forward’.

Thanks to everyone who came out and participated in the show. Everyone at Giant Steps was sincerely grateful for the support. What a great way to have a lot of fun and contribute to a fantastic cause!! Hope to see you next year!