Wellington, FL- For one exciting evening their boots were left in the closet and their heels and ties appeared. On January 24, 2014, The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation launched their $35 Million Campaign to Achieve Competitive Excellence at the "Soirée du Cheval" Gala. The event was held at The Pavilion at the International Polo Club Palm Beach and was a benefit for the United States Equestrian Teams headed to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France. Para-Dressage riders from across the country including riders from Northern California, Maine, and Texas flew to Wellington, Florida, in support of the U.S. Para-Dressage Team, the U.S. Show Jumping Team, the Eventing Team, the U.S. Dressage Team, the U.S. Reining Team, the Driving Team, the U.S. Endurance Team, and the U.S. Vaulting Team.
After a wonderful keynote speech from USET Foundation President Tucker S. Johnson, a live auction commenced where over $700,000 was raised for the U.S. Teams. The event concluded with attendees hopping on the dance floor to celebrate the evening. Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d'Equipe Kai Handt was also in attendance at the event supporting the Para-Dressage riders and each of the United States Equestrian Teams. After the gala, Kai Handt had his first athlete meeting for the top-ranked Para-Dressage riders, their families, and support staff. Handt stressed how the future of the USEF U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team is growing with young and emerging new talent. Excitement is building, while the first of two U.S. final 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ qualifier competitions start in March. The discipline anticipates several new horse rider combinations to be debuted, making the final team selection suspenseful.
Laureen Johnson, USEF High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting, commented, "I was delighted to see so many Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes, coaches, and enthusiasts attend the USET Foundation's "Soirée du Cheval" World Equestrian Games benefit in Wellington. It was a most memorable evening for all."
She continued, "Kai Handt, the new Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d'Equipe, kicked off the next morning with a very successful breakfast forum for the top ranked Para-Equestrian athletes and coaches to discuss the team approach and strategize for 2014. The feedback received was amazing and all athletes appeared to share Kai's enthusiasm and grasped the team concept whole-heartedly. We are looking forward to working with Kai and a successful 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ experience."
For more information about the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage discipline please contact Laureen Johnson, USEF High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting, 908-326-1155, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.