Northeasterners stepped up to a challenge issued by Robert Dover during his recent clinic for the New England Dressage Association. When Dover asked Sue Jaccoma, clinic demo rider for the Intermediaire Level with her Wadamur, why she and Wadamur weren't going to the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions despite being one of the top five Intermediaire pairs in the U.S., Jaccoma said simply, "I really can't afford it." That led Dover to turn to the audience of spectators and issue a challenge.
"Riders need support. Sue is a hard-worker with a world-class horse. They are very good representatives for your part of the country and it's a pity she can't go to San Juan Capistrano," Dover said. "I think all of you need to find a way to send her to California."
NEDA members responded by creating the Sue Jaccoma California Dreamin' Fund after an anonymous member who heard Dover's comments offered to match any amount raised. As of June 12, the fund had raised nearly $6,000, with the match, that brings the amount to nearly $12,000 and still growing. Although still not enough to cover the entire cost of the trip, which Jaccoma says is around $25,000, it's enough that she's made her decision and has booked her travel plans.
"I had already made up my mind that I wasn't going to go. I'm a very private person but this was the first time I thought to myself, 'I've worked so hard and I have this great horse and yet, I can't afford to play with the big boys.'
It was kind of depressing. And then all these people came forward and contributed money to send me there. They'd say, 'Oh you were so nice to me 10 years ago. I hope you do well, have fun.' Or, they'd say, 'You really should be there, you're a beautiful rider, you've given so much to cancer fundraising and teaching, etc.' It was priceless and I was thinking, 'I'm really not that nice a person,' but others seem to think so," Jaccoma said.