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Equestrian Idol Talent Show and Bash – An Evening of Feasting and Revelry

Wellington, FL – February 19, 2007 – The Equus Foundation, Inc’s. mission is to promote the positive use of the horse for the benefit of the general public, the health and welfare of the horses, and the equestrian sport as a whole. It was no surprise when more than 400 horse-loving patrons filled the Special Events Pavilion at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL on Saturday, February 17, 2007, to support the organization with an evening of fundraising and celebration.

The event began at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails, hosted by Skyy Spirits, and a silent auction featuring over 70 items ranging from lessons with top grand prix riders like McLain Ward and Leslie Howard to a Pessoa saddle and vintage items from the USET Foundation to Manolo Blahnik paddock boots.

Guests enjoyed a delicious buffet style dinner by Aaron’s Catering of Wellington, followed by petite pastries and coffee. At 8:00 p.m., emcee Robert “Ryan Seacrest” Dover began the Equestrian Idol competition by welcoming guests and explaining a little about the Equus Foundation. “The Equus Foundation started in 2002 and has since given over $600,000 to charities across the country, including my own organization, the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” he commented. Dover introduced the panel of celebrity judges which included Mason “Simon Cowell” Phelps, Jr., Gene “Randy Jackson” Mische, Susie “Paula Abdul” Schoellkopf, and George Morris. In a heated live auction, Bruce Duchossois donated $6,500 to the Equus Foundation to fill the fifth spot on the judges’ panel.

The competition began with horse show announcer Brian Lookabill singing a surprisingly good rendition of “Say Goodbye.” George Morris, known for his blunt delivery said “A perfect 10!” after his performance. Heather Caristo went next singing “Feel like a Woman.” “Clear round!” said Mische. Leslie Howard performed a tune from Oklahoma titled “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No.” Morris commented, “What a knockout. Who is more gorgeous than this girl?” Schoellkopf disagreed, “She is the girl who should have said no,” she spouted.

Frank Madden, Timmy Kees, Molly Forelines and Walter Tee had an off-key quartette called the Manatees. They belted out the Beatles hit “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” to the dismay of Phelps. “Stick to the equitation ring,” he laughed. Patricia Griffith sang “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” to huge applause from the audience. Morris loved the singing but commented that she might need to visit WellingTan before the final round.

Taylor Blauweiss sang “Leave the Pieces” and all of the judges agreed that the competition was really heating up. Ki-Juan Minors went next singing “For You.” “Another perfect 10,” Morris cheered. “Perfect type, perfect voice, perfect song.”

After the first round of competition, four performers were brought back for round two. Lookabill, Griffith, Blauweiss and Minors all performed again and were judged by the audience applause as well as the panel of judges. In the end, the top four were almost too close to call. After much deliberation, Blauweiss was named the winner and awarded three months of public relations from Phelps Media Group, Inc.


The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., an all-volunteer 501(c) (3) non-profit fund raising organization, was founded in August 2002 to promote the positive use of the horse for the benefit of the general public and the equestrian sport as a whole. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, which includes includes Lynn Coakley, President, Jenny Belknap, Vice President, David Goodwin, Secretary-Treasurer, and members, Margaret Bondy, Julie Frank, Gray Fadden, Catherine Herman, Leslie Howard, Dr. Richard Mitchell, DVM, Clea Newman Soderlund, James Newhouse, Allan Shore, Jr., Andrea Stimmel, and George N. Venizelos.

In just four years, EQUUS has awarded over $600,000 in grants, benefiting thousands of horses and people, thanks to the generosity of its many individual and corporate donors. The EQUUS Foundation raises funds for grant awards almost entirely from two special events.

The EQUUS Foundation wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the sponsors and volunteers at the EQUUS Equestrian Idol Talent Show and Bash on Saturday, February 17, 2007, at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.:


Phelps Media Group for donating a three-month publicity contract to the Equestrian Idol winner.

Skyy Spirits for hosting the cocktails

Stadium Jumping for donating the facilities.


$5,000 Gold Medal: Susan Bloomberg, Bobbie Braun & Split Rock Farm, Mary & Mike Carpenter, Gray & Jerry Fadden, Sharon Haugh & Alexis Stein, Hiroko & Gregg Polle, and Don & Liz Russo

$2,500 Silver Medal: Eleanor Bright, Callari Auto Group, Jane Forbes Clark, Laura Gammino, Goshen Hill, Bob & Ellen Healey, Mr. & Mrs. Murray Kessler, Louisburg Farm, and Mimi Sternlicht.

$1,800 Bronze Medal: Bluhammock Music, Elizabeth Boylan, Jim Corbin, Illustrated Properties, R. Bruce Duchossois & H in D Stables, Inc., Martha Wachtel Jolicoeur P.A., Illustrated Properties, Offield Farms, Louise Otten, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Patton, Quiet Corner Farm, Mr. & Mrs. Allan Shore & Mr. & Mrs. Steffen Wolff.

EVENT CO-CHAIRS: Jenny Belknap, Lynn Coakley, & Mason Phelps, Jr.

VOLUNTEER EVENT COMMITTEE: Bobbie Braun, Bob Cacchione, Elaine Campbell, David Taylor, Millie Foote, Lee Freund, Randall Rodriguez, Kelly Whyman, and juniors from the Glenyeare Equestrian Program.

The first event, The EQUUS Equestrian Idol Talent Show & Bash, will be held during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, on Saturday evening, February 17, 2007, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.

The second event, The EQUUS Benefit Luncheon & Silent Auction on Saturday, June 30, 2007, will be held in conjunction with the $25,000 Fairfield Grand Prix, the culminating event of the Fairfield County Hunt Club June Benefit Horse Show in Westport, Connecticut.

In 2007, The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., will award grants to 37 charitable organizations:

Public Welfare: Charities, schools, camps and other organizations that benefit the public therapeutically and recreationally using horses to help individuals of all ages, especially children, with physical, mental & emotional disabilities, life threatening or chronic illnesses, and "at-risk" and emotionally troubled or economically disadvantaged youth. They include: Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC), Buffalo, NY, http://www.thebtrc.com, Camp for All, Houston, TX, http://www.campforall.org, City Slickers, Inc., Wolcott, CT, City to Saddle, Weston, MA, http://www.citytosaddle.org, Equi-Kids Therapeutic Riding Program, Virginia Beach, VA, Garfield Park Academy, Willingboro, NJ, http://www.garfieldparkacademy.org, Giant Steps School & The American Institute for Neuro-Integrative Development, Southport, CT, http://www.giantstepsct.org, Green Chimneys Children's Services & School, Brewster, NY, http://www.greenchimneys.org,Heritage Schools, Provo, UT, http://www.heritagertc.org, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc., Old Lyme, CT, http://www.highhopestr.org,The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Inc., New Haven, CT, http://www.holeinthewallgang.org,Horses in the Hood, Tarzana, CA, www.horsesinthehood,org, Living Bridges International Inc., Glenyeare Equestrian Program, Lumberton, NJ, Navajo Preparatory School, Inc., Farmington, NM, New Canaan Mounted Troop, Inc., New Canaan, CT, http://www.newcanaanmountedtroop.org, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, Inc., Stamford, CT, http://www.pegasustr.org, Riding For Reading, Burbank, CA, http://www.ridingforreading.org, Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, Loxahatchee, FL, We Will Ride Therapeutic Riding, Inc., Ridgefield, CT, http://www.wewillrideinc.com, Work To Ride, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, http://www.worktoride.net.

Horse Welfare: Charities that promote the health and welfare of horses through rescue and rehabilitation as well as veterinary research, include: AAEP Foundation, inc., Lexington, KY, http://www.aaepfoundation.org, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), New York, NY, http://www.aspca.org, Bridgeport Police Mounted Unit, Bridgeport, CT, http://www.bridgeport.ct.us, Days End Farm Horse Rescue, Lisbon, MD, http://www.defhr.org, Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, http://www.csuequineortho.com, HEART Equine Ambulance, Bonita Springs, FL, http://www.equineambulance.com, Hope for Horses, Woodinville, WA, http://www.hopeforhorses.net, H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut, Inc., Washington, CT, http://www.horseofct.org, Last Chance Ranch, Inc. Equine Rescue, Quakertown, PA, http://www.lastchanceranch.org, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boston, MA, http://www.mspca.org.

Equestrian Sport: Charities that benefit the equestrian sport by offering scholarships and grants to support the competition, training, educational and economic needs of equestrians. They include: The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation, Inc., West Boylston, MA, http://www.ahjf.org, Equestrian Aid Foundation, Inc., New York, NY, http://www.equestrianaidsfoundation.org, Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation, Inc. (IEF), Fairfield, CT, http://www.ihsainc.com, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc., Emerson Burr Horsemanship Fund, Lexington, KY, http://www.usef.org, United States Equestrian Team Foundation, Inc., Gladstone, NJ, http://www.uset.org.

For additional information on The EQUUS Foundation, Inc., visit the website, http://www.equusfoundation.org or contact EQUUS at (203) 259-1550 or via e-mail at equusfoundation@aol.com.

PHOTO CREDIT: Equestrian Idol finalists: Brian Lookabill, Ki-Juan Minors, Patricia Griffith and Taylor Blauweiss. Photo by Jenny Schartner, Captured.


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