WESTPORT, CT - Imagine an Olympic level gymnastic performance but the apparatus is alive and moving! Vaulting, one of only eight international equestrian disciplines, involves the combination of gymnastics and dance movements performed on horseback and it's coming to Wellington! The Friendship Team of the American Vaulting Association (AVA), composed of silver and gold level AVA vaulters from across the country, will perform under the lights in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for the guests attending the EQUUS Foundation's Fete Cheval Etoile on Sunday evening, March 16, 2014.
The team performing at the Foundation's Fete Cheval Etoile Team includes Gabe Aniello, Francesca Foley, Malu Foley, Kalyn Geisler, Stephanie Harris, Katie Keville, Trey Lasater, Hadessah Rynning, Alex Schaubhut, and Caroline Shubert along with lungers, Melanie Schaubhut and Kimberly Pritchett, and equine teammates, Cody, Sampson and Moon.
"We are grateful to the EQUUS Foundation for this opportunity to not only dazzle and amaze the guests at the Fete Cheval Etoile, but also to build and promote equestrian vaulting in the United States", said Coach Greta Shryock. The American Vaulting Association (AVA) has programs for all types of vaulters, from recreational and pony club vaulters to therapeutic vaulters, from beginner to world championship levels.
Jenny Belknap Kees, Chairman of the Board of the EQUUS Foundation, and Chrystine Tauber, President of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), are serving as the Honorary Chairs of the event, which will celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and the magical bond between horses and people.
The Fete will not only be an evening to remember because of the vaulting. The 2nd annual induction of 10 extraordinary horses into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame will take place at the event. The Horse Stars Hall of Fame, a joint program of the EQUUS Foundation and USEF, honors the contributions of amazing horses by sharing the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats.
Alex Schaubhut is a 17-year old gold level vaulter who recently graduated early from high school in order to work toward completing at the World Equestrian Games in 2014. Alex has been vaulting for eight years and has been a member of the Friendship Team for four years. Alex's mother, Melanie, is the manager of the AVA Friendship Team and will be one of the two lungers for the Sunday performance. She is also the founder of the Lone Star Vaulters Club and the owner of September Song Stables in Austin Texas.
Alex is coached by fellow vaulter Kalyn Geisler, an internationally competitive equestrian vaulter for 10 years with multiple National titles in both A-team and pas de deux. Kalyn has competed at two World Championships and holds a team Bronze medal. Kalyn is currently coaching athletes who aspire to represent the United States and Canada at the World Equestrian Games in 2014 and received the Oserlea Award in 2012 for best presentation of horse and lunger. She founded Wildfire Vaulters in 2013 with her husband, Kenny, another internationally recognized vaulter.
Stephanie Harris currently competes at the Gold level and was the 2013 AVA Region IX Gold Individual Reserve High Point Champion. She trains with the Great Falls Vaulters in Maryland and enjoys cross-training the team's vaulting horses in dressage and trail riding. In her professional life, Stephanie works as a Certified Child Life Specialist at a children's hospital in Virginia.
Francesca Foley is a 17 year old Silver level vaulter who trains with Vaulters Del Sol in New Mexico. She competed at three National Championships and won one National Title. A straight-A student with a 4.25 GPA, Foley also cross trains regularly with dance, yoga, acro-balance, rock climbing, gymnastics, and snowboarding.