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The AHJF's 3rd Annual Bowling for Equestrians

February 15, 2008 – Lake Worth, FL -- “I had a blast,” commented world champion hunter rider Peter Pletcher after taking part in the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation’s (AHJF) 3rd annual “Bowling for Equestrians.” The fundraiser was held at Greenacres Bowl in Lake Worth, FL, on Sunday evening, February 15th for the benefit of the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund (ERF).

Pletcher was among those you could hear chatting and cheering as families, friends, groups, barns and individuals from tiny tots to seasoned veterans ate, drank, tossed bowling balls, enjoyed catch-up conversations, shared jokes, won raffle prizes, played video games and more to a backdrop of rock and roll music. The enthusiasm was electrifying and it didn't matter if you guttered the ball or hit a strike.

The crowd was filled with family and friends who you often see competing in or watching a horse show. Yet this evening was all about strikes and spares that would benefit worthy equestrians who for some reason were down on their luck. Everyone was enjoying a different kind of competition with an enthusiasm that was contagious. While some tested their bowling skills, many of the youngsters were in the game room with hockey pucks, dancing feet and video games. In between there were hot dogs, chicken wings, cheese and crackers, pizza and more to satisfy hungry appetites.

The true goal for the evening was to raise money for the ERF, the benevolent arm of the AHJF. It was established to provide emergency financial support to individuals in the show hunter and jumper sport suffering from an incapacitating illness, catastrophic accident or injury. The Board of the AHJF reviews emergency situations and makes a determination in accordance with the need. The money to fund this program comes from private gifts, WCHR member events, horse shows willing to encourage exhibitors to make a contribution and dedicated fundraising events such as “Bowling for Equestrians.”

Over the past 11 years the AHJF has distributed close to $500,000 through its ERF.

The founder of “Bowling for Equestrians” was Chair and AHJF Board Member, Katie Robinson, who also took part in the fun with her barn.

As people arrived they were handed raffle tickets and t-shirts and donned with wristbands. They put on their bowling shoes and immediately started tossing the colorful balls.

“I think it’s great that so many people come.” commented raffle winner Nicole Gordon, New Haven, CT.

“Tons of fun” commented Sandy and Hal Epstein, Pawling, NY and “I love it,” remarked Catherine Holahan, Lake Bluff, IL who was the winner of the grand prize, a basket of goodies, donated by Caroline Moran. Rachel Kennedy, Brookeville, MD was thrilled with her one strike while Caroline Gibson, Houston, TX was ecstatic when she got three strikes and a box of chocolates from her raffle ticket win and like everyone else she thought “it was really fun.”

Maggie Robason, Bronxville, NY said that she “liked bowling” while Gwenn Rizzo, Wellington, FL noted, “I think it is a great fundraiser and nice to do something different without horses for a good cause.”

As Emma Holzer, Manhattan, NY stood for a picture of her with her raffle prize of balloons and a Polar Bear gift from MumboJumbo she commented, “It’s very well organized and I love the prizes and the fact that you are able to win prizes.” Libby Brumfield, Wellington, FL liked the “bowling with friends.”

Ann Chapman-Cantero, Wellington, FL both echoed the sentiments of others and summed up the evening noting, “I had a great time. It was awesome and I would do it again.”

A special thank you goes to the Social and Junior Committees, who helped encourage individuals and barns to support this worthy cause. Members of these committees include Carol Cone, Bruce Duchossoiss, Chris Ewanouski, Stephanie & John Ingram, Kim & Charlie Jacobs, Joan & Louis Jacobs, Louise Serio, Emily & Ken Smith, Geoff Teall, Kim Tudor, Tom Wright, Melissa & Charlotte Jacobs, Phoebe & Grace Robinson, Spencer Smith, Allison & Ashley Toffolon, and Avery Waite.

Many of the Committee members attended as well as a variety of people from both the hunter and jumper worlds. In addition to those already mentioned were jumper riders Christian Currey (and his mom Agneta), Jimmy and Danielle Torano, and Havens Schatt. A number of barns were also present, including AHJF Vice President Louise Serio’s Derbydown (PA), AHJF President Geoff Teall’s Montoga (FL), River Circle Farm (TN), Shadyside Farm (TX), Hillside Farm (??), Milestone (KY), Heritage Farm (NY). Even vendors, sponsors and media were there including Carrie Gunst (Personalized Products) and Tricia Booker (Chronicle of the Horse).

The AHJF was formed in 1992 to further the development of the equestrian sport of show hunter rider competition by providing a national office to organize, coordinate and support hunter rider competition. Other programs of the AHJF include the World Championship Hunter Rider Awards, AHJF Educational Programs, the AHJF BSA Inc. 401k and Profit Sharing Plan. The AHJF also hosted the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular in Florida (February 14, 2009), and the AHJF WCHR Professional Finals (October 2, 2009 in Upper Marlboro, MD).

For more information or to make a tax donation to the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund to help fellow horsemen, call the AHJF at 508-835-8813, email AHJF@earthlink.net, visit their web site: http://www.ahjf.org or write: AHJF Relief Fund, PO Box 369, West Boylston, MA 01583. To see pictures from this evening’s festivities go to: http://www.presslinkpr.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=63968.


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