An all girl showjumping team sponsored by prominent showjumping owner and breeder Susan Grange scored second place and won $125,000 for their charity Horses N Heroes. For several months I have been helping Mindy Nolan-Morrow. Executive Director of the mentoring program for girls, write letters to potential sponsors and donors, construct press releases, plan events, create marketing materials and in general get the word out. When I heard about the FTI Great Charity Challenge, I told Mindy "We have to part of this!" I didn't care if we placed last, I just knew it would be a great opportunity to connect with people who cared about horses and knew the benefits they provide to all of us.
On my drive down to Wellington from Ocala this past Saturday I tried to keep everything in perspective. As always, I was hoping for the best but was excited at the prospect of winning some serious money for the charity. I knew this could make a huge difference for the girls and the horses at Mindy's farm. When I met Susan Grange and her husband I was so impressed and then, after meeting the team of three riders I knew we had a good chance. Amy Millar said" We know what we have to do tonight!" and I replied " Yes, ride like your pants are on fire." All three girls laughed and we went off to the International club to wait our turn.
Our team went 27th out of 32. Always a good opportunity when you go late in the draw in a speed class. When Pablo Barrios and his team laid down a blazing time early on I knew we had our work cut out for us. But the girls were there to play and "girl power" was in full force.
They finished their round in second place and Mindy, Ian Millar and I watched the last of teams compete from Susan Grange's table cheering each time, a team tried to better our time but fell short.
Mindy was overwhelmed with joy and the nine girls from her program who had attended the event all went down to the ring for the presentation. For this charity, which is all about overcoming the odds and being the best you can be, these young girls learned what it was to be part of a winning team! I have to say thanks to Mark Bellissimo and his great team at Equestrian Sports Productions for creating this tremendous event and to all the sponsors, and riders for their support! Most of all it was a great night of show jumping for a great cause. Let's do more things like this to let more people know about our sport and how much fun it can be!