A Leg-Up on Breast Cancer: Fundraising Events

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month and the equestrian community has been busy with creative and unique tie-ins to horse events for fundraising that benefits research, lessons for cancer patients and direct help to individuals.


As one in eight women will be diagnosed, the partnership linking riding and breast cancer is both a logical and potent one. Riding promotes a healthy active lifestyle for women and their families and horses provide the ultimate in both thrill and therapy. From pledge classes, pink shirts to trail rides, there are so many ways to make an impact and call attention to the cause. Add a class or ride for pledges at the local level (see Ride For Ribbons), start a trail ride, club show or clinic to donate the proceeds. If you don’t have the money, a horse or even ride, you can volunteer your time and skills in helping to organize and run events.

Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament/125th National Horse Show

Syracuse, N.Y.

October 29-November 2, 2008

All riders can add $25 to their entry blank to become a “Rider for Research” and wear a pink armband during competition.

Pledged riders in the TK99 Speed Derby wear pink polos and are paired with individual or corporate donors who make pledges based on
jumps cleared by their rider. If their rider clears the pink “Riders For Research” jump, the donor’s pledge doubles.

For more details or to get a pledge form to become a donor in the TK99 Speed Derby visit www.syracuseinvitational.com.

Ride For the Cure: Fall ’08 Trail Rides

October 4, 2008 – Pink Ribbon Ride, Bucks County Horse Park Revere, Pa.,

October 4, 2008 – Hooves for a Cure Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri (several venues), www.HoovesforaCure.com

October 5, 2008 – Quiet Corner’s Ride for the Cure, Tyrone Farms, Pomfret, Conn., www.quietcornersride.com

In conjunction with The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to raise money and awareness about women and breast cancer, each rider raises or contributes a minimum of $250. Susan G. Komen For the Cure has been a global leader for 20 years in the fight against breast cancer by funding research grants, education, screening and treatment projects around the world. The Pink Ribbon Ride raises money to aid women with basic needs like medicine, groceries, etc.

The Breeders’ Cup

Santa Anita Park, Calif.

October 24-25, 2008

The Breeders’ Cup plans to raise a minimum of $250,000 for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure through ticket sales, one of a kind auction items, sponsor programs and private donations. The partnership marks the first time the Breeders’ Cup has established relationships with broad-based global charitable organizations tied to the World Championships.

Ride For Ribbons, Ride For Women!

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation


Any equestrian rider of any discipline and any ability level can participate using a special sponsorship scheme to raise money for this

How it works: A rider signs up sponsors (family members, neighbors, teachers, co-workers, local businesses, doctor’s offices, etc) and enters any type of show (rated, non-rated, schooling shows). There are no restrictions about what types of shows.

Sponsors donate to you if you earn a certain ribbon. A sponsor can donate by placings (Example: $20 for 1st place ribbon, $15 for a 2nd place ribbon, etc.) or simply donate $5 (or any chosen amount) for every ribbon earned. Money is collected from sponsors after the show.

Horse Power For Life

Chester Springs, Pa.

Year round for families with cancer


Offers a 16-week horsemanship program free of charge to cancer patients who can also join with one family member to share the experience. The program uses the positive connection with animals, nature, and people to improve the physical, mental, social and emotional well being of patients, survivors and families dealing with cancer.

Program objectives:

  • Learn new skills; gain a sense of control
  • Build a bond with the horses, meet new friends
  • Empowerment and opportunity to be a caregiver
  • Have fun and time away from the hospital setting

Trainer Barbara Rosoff and Shiree Sansone, one of Rosoff’s former students say they’ve designed the program to be flexible, so those with little to no horse experience can learn the basics.

“We wanted something to improve quality of life for patients and their families,” said Sansone. “When they’re with the horse, they have to be in the moment,” says Rosoff, who has been training horses since 1981 and serves as program director and head trainer for Horse Power for Life.

Renee’s Friends Fund

Littleton, Colo.


Runs 10 events a year from dressage shows, a polo match trail rides and clinics to assist women with daily living expenses as they obtain
the treatments and therapies necessary to fight breast cancer. Through Renee’s Friends Fund women in need get help with non-medical expense items such as transportation, household costs, food and breast cancer supportive therapies and related supplies.

The Challenge of the Americas

For the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Fla.

March 7, 2009


Three teams compete in the High Jump and Musical Quadrilles made up of two jumper and six dressage professionals from North America, South America and Europe.

Quadrille scored by three international judges counts for 60% of the teams score with the jumping portion scored at 40%. Each dressage
quadrille must contain all the elements of the Grand Prix. Jumping scored on height cleared at increasingly higher levels. Final height
cleared in 2006 was 6’11”!

Gala table prices from $2,000 to $6,500, $250 individual. General admission tickets are $20.

“Quadrille participants spend months creating and practicing these quadrilles, which are the main draw for our event,” said Mary Ross,
founder and chairman of the Challenge of the Americas (COTA).

Sponsor contributions in funds and donations significantly help the COTA effort. From donation of venues, insurance coverage, to 2000 pink roses for the gala flown in from Colombia, to volunteers to corporate sponsored teams, to the riders, horse owners, coaches, choreographers, soundtrack producers, judges, and jump crew.

“Everyone who worked with the 2008 event, and all those who attended, are responsible for the $300,000 contribution,” said Ross.

Ride For Life

Cancer Benefit Horse Show

Prince George’s Equestrian Center, Upper Marlboro, Md.

June 20-21, 2009

Ride For Life (R4L) is a recognized dressage show AND breast cancer fundraiser for the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center. Run by the PVDA (Potomac Valley Dressage Association), a non-profit, is the second oldest dressage club in the U.S.

100% of rider donations go to Johns Hopkins and are tax deductible. Over 50% of the funds raised for JHU come from rider donations raised by both riders and those entered in the Phantom Horse Class (non-riders). In 2004, R4L raised $3,307; in 2008 over $70,000.

“It really speaks for people’s support for the cause. The freestyle tribute and quarter-sheets honoring families that lost members to breast
cancer was also hugely touching,” said PVDA President and Co-Chair Ride for Life Committee.

Two day event hosts a Gala dinner, The Dancing Horse Challenge with freestyle exhibitions by FEI riders (Cesar Parra, Chris Hickey, Jane
Hannigan and Jules Anderson), quadrille drill teams and clinics (with Olympian Nicole Uphoff-Selke). For 2009, considering an invitation
freestyle challenge with prize money.

License deals with merchandise suppliers gives 25% of their profits to Johns Hopkins. “Support from Dover Saddlery, Dressage Today,
DressageClinic.com, DressageDaily.com, and others is instrumental in growing this event,” said Martin-Tucker.

Founded in 1964, PVDA promotes dressage through education, scholarships and competitions.

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