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Grand Prix Riders "Get Dunked" For Charity

WELLINGTON, Fla. (March 9, 2009) - More than 250 equestrians and friends took a break from the busy show schedule to enjoy the simple fun of the Young Riders Carnival on Feb. 28. The carnival hosted and planned by 14-year-old Caitlin Ziegler and held at Artisan Farms in the Grand Prix Village, raised more than $7,500 to benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF). Featuring the typical games and food, the Young Riders Carnival was tailored to its equestrian participants by offering a horseless jump course and dunk tank manned by well-known grand prix riders.

All those who sat on the platform of the dunk tank were certain to get wet, but that didn't stop some of the best recognized names in the jumping world to sign up with a smile - including Rodrigo Pessoa, Laura Kraut, Margie Engle, Georgina Bloomberg, Hillary Dobbs, Brianne Goutal, Lauren Hough, Eric Lamaze and Kent Farrington. The dunk tank was good luck for McLain Ward, who won the $150,000 CN Grand Prix the next day on Sapphire. Even EAF president R. Scot Evans took his turn at the helm.

"It was wonderful to see so many people come to the event - and everyone was laughing and having a good time," said Evans. "I'm thankful to be a part of a community that continues to recognize the need for supporting the EAF. Cate Ziegler did an exceptional job planning and hosting this event with her parents and Artisan Farms."

Caitlin, along with her parents Andy and Carlene, have hosted an EAF fundraiser at the Horse Shows on the Bay in Traverse City, Mich., for the last three years. The carnival is the first event solely planned by Caitlin as a way to involve young riders in the mission and needs of the EAF.

Eager to raise awareness of the EAF to young riders, Caitlin also saw the carnival as a way to "allow kids to have some fun away from the pressure of the show ring. The carnival let young riders give back to the equestrian community and have a blast while doing it. I really appreciate the time and volunteer support of everyone involved in the event - especially the grand prix riders who braved the dunk tank - and to Tim Boulton who acted as the event planner. It was a special day and I'm excited to start planning next year's carnival," Ziegler said.

From Mequon, Wisc., Ziegler is a top junior rider competing in both hunters and jumpers with several high profile wins at WEF, Spruce Meadows, Syracuse, Traverse City, Kentucky, Saratoga and Lamplight in Wayne, Ill. Her most recent big win was the medium (1.30 meter) junior-amateur jumper classic at the National Horse Show in Syracuse on her horse Mayhem. She trains with Cookie Beck and Eric Lamaze. Her family owns and operates Artisan Farms, LLC. in Milwaukee and Wellington.

In 1996 the Equestrian AIDS Foundation was established to assist those with HIV/Aids. Recognizing a broader need, the organization changed its name and scope. The Equestrian Aid Foundation's mission is to build a membership based organization to assist anyone in the equestrian world suffering from life threatening illness, catastrophic accidents or injuries by providing direct financial support for their medical or other basic needs. It is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that provides grant recipients funding for medical, healthcare, rehabilitation and essential expenses, such as housing and food throughout their time of need.

Its pledge is to treat EAF recipients with dignity and respect while promising its members and sponsors the highest level of fiduciary responsibility with their dues and donations. For more information, visit http://www.equestrianaidfoundation.org.


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