May 30, 2012–Combining equestrian entertainment at its best with family fun and support for breast cancer research, the Potomac Valley Dressage Association (PVDA) will present the 9th Annual PVDA Ride for Life, June 23-24, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center (14900 Pennsylvania Ave.) in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Attracting as many as 6,000 visitors throughout the course of the weekend, the event will feature a two-day USDF-licensed dressage show, the acclaimed Dancing Horse Challenge, children’s activities, boutique shopping, a black-tie optional gala, silent auction and many more opportunities for family fun, while raising funds for the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center in Baltimore.
“We are very dependent these days on the generosity of others to fulfill our mission and goals of the breast center,” said Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. “The Ride for Life event greatly supports our efforts so that more patients can become survivors of this disease, as well as receive quality of care at Hopkins, and through our training efforts, also elsewhere.”
Kathy Connelly, an international rider, trainer and one of the leading dressage coaches in the United States, will serve as the grand marshal and guest speaker at the Dancing Horse Challenge.
Dancing Horse Challenge
The weekend’s highlight is the Dancing Horse Challenge, Saturday, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:00).
As one of the premier equestrian nights on the East Coast, this lyrical blend of dance, music, lights and equestrian prowess is woven into a moving theatrical performance (http://www.pvdarideforlife.org/news/videos/).
Featuring international and national riders and Olympians, the Dancing Horse Challenge becomes a call to heal, to give and, most importantly, to celebrate life. The initial line-up of riders performing musical freestyles includes:
? Julio Mendoza (FEI international trainer known for his dramatic costuming and horsemanship),
? Silva Martin (Grand Prix rider and trainer),
? Lauren Sprieser (USDF bronze, silver and gold medalist, USEF developing listed rider and NAYRC gold medalist),
? Bent Jensen (Olympian and trainer competing in upper level dressage in both Europe and the United States.
? Corrine Ashton (USDF silver medalist and 4**** Star Event Rider competing at Rolex CCI****),
? Susanne Hassler (USDF bronze, silver and gold medalist and international dressage competitor),
? Natalia Martin (USDF bronze and silver medalist who has competed internationally and a participant in the 2012 Nations Cup), and
? Jill Kemenosh (USDF bronze and silver medalist who participates in Young Rider competitions such as the USEF Festival of Champions).
Dutch Chapman, a two-time NRHA World Champion and acclaimed trainer, will perform western reining demonstrations, while Great Falls Vaulting, the oldest equestrian vaulting club in the United States, will field a team of five riders performing a demonstration. Additionally, The Maryland Horse Industry Board will present a Touch of Class award to a preeminent dressage horse sire at the Dancing Horse Challenge.
Throughout the evening, guests can purchase food and beverages on the concourse. They also can shop for Ride for Life souvenirs and visit the silent auction area to bid on such items as jewelry, artwork, crafts, memorabilia, gift certificates and riding clinics. (For auction previews, visit www.pvdarideforlife.org.)
With a “Survivor theme,” the Saturday night black-tie optional gala kicks off at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception and strolling magic by Bill Gross. Gala guests will have special seating for the Dancing Horse Challenge and can go back and forth from the show to the auction and the reception for appetizers, and free beer and wine courtesy of Bob Hall, Inc. and Ingleside Vineyard. Dinner will be served from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. In addition to enjoying great food, guests can mingle with the riders in the gala area where the band The Unruly Blues will perform until 11:30pm.
Both days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be an exciting competition among dressage riders, many who were touched by breast cancer. Families also can enjoy boutique shopping from more than 45 merchants. Shopping hours are extended through 9 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday will feature pony rides, face painting, horse arts & crafts, stick horse building, t-shirt decorating, stick horse races, face painting and magic shows by Tony Ware.
Daytime admission is free. Dancing Horse Challenge admission is a $25 per person donation; free for children under age 10. Discounts are also available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pvdarideforlife.org.
Gala admission is a $100 per person donation; $50 for children under 12. All reservations must be made by June 17. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pvdarideforlife.org or by contacting Jeannette Bair at 443.691.0390 or [email protected] Children’s gala reservations must be made by contacting Bair.
Sponsorships also are available. Lead sponsors include Dover Saddlery, Land Rover, Nutrena Feeds and County Saddlery. For more information about the event, auction, sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, visit www.pvdarideforlife.org or contact Jeannette Bair at 443.691.0390 or [email protected]
Event proceeds all will be donated to the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. Since its inception in 2004, the annual PVDA Ride for Life has raised over $400,000 for breast cancer research and improving the lives of those afflicted and their loved ones. This year, the event committee hopes to raise over $100,000.
Nine years ago, breast cancer survivor Patricia Artimovich found that her belief in the healing power of horses gave her the support to cry, to believe in her future and to gain strength through her battle and recovery. She felt that she had gained so much through her association with these “gentle giants” that she wanted to open that avenue to others and involve the dressage community.
Artimovich recommended that the Potomac Valley Dressage Association, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization), dedicate one of its one-day dressage shows and its proceeds to the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center, where she had received treatment. Since then, the Ride for Life has expanded to a weekend event and become a member of the Signature Dressage Series.