Since 1926, Green Mountain Horse Association in Vermont has been the go-to venue for equestrians in the Northeast. GMHA is a 1,500-member non-profit organization dedicated to equine sports, education and trail preservation. In 1970, GMHA ran its’ first recognized dressage show and now holds 17 days of dressage competiton and training through the season. Many top riders, including George Williams and Carol Lavell, are indebted to GMHA for its’ role in their development. Despite its’ history and success, GMHA has had to fight hard to stay afloat. A successful 2008 Capital Campaign resulted in the much-needed addition of a show ring and warm-up area, renovated barns, and enhanced trail network.
Then, in August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene stuck and the site was devastated. The indomitable spirit that characterizes GMHA was evident in abundance as supporters rallied to donate funds and to help practically in getting the grounds operational once again. In 2012 another disater struck...mud season came early and the previously-repaired show rings gave up the ghost, making it clear that it was time for a major upgrade. The GMHA community embraced the idea of replacing the footing in all rings with a washed sand and fiber-filament blend, and soon after the Footing Systems Upgrade Project was launched. (see www.gmhainc.org).
Undaunted by the mammoth task of raising $285,000 to upgrade the footing, the response from GMHA supporters was “Let’s Party!!!” Ruth Poulson led the charge with a gala event at her lovely Bespoke Farm in Loxahatchee, which raised over $20,000. More than 185 people attended the gala, where a New England Style clam-bake and lobster dinner was served, accompanied by live guitar music, GMHA videos, and a silent auction. The energy and enthusiasm generated by Ruth and her team spread to all who attended. George Williams shared his memories of riding at GMHA, highlighting GMHA’s impact on the careers of so many top riders, and the lives of equestrians in New England and beyond.
The phenomenal success of Ruth’s party has inspired other ‘fun-draising’ ideas. The next ‘not-to-be-missed’ event is being hosted by Jennifer Eddy in July at her beautiful farm in Ipswich, MA. Contact GMHA to attend, help, or host an event of your own. No offer is too small to be valuable in the fight to ensure that this special place will still be here for future generations.