Celebrating Success with Ravel and Steffen Peters
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Event Benefits the Equestrian Aid Foundation
SAN DIEGO - When he entered the room with his confident style, it became the crowning moment to a spectacular evening. Ravel was among his fans and friends. On November 5, guests gathered at the home of Steffen Peters and Ravel - Arroyo Del Mar Farm in San Diego – to relive the team’s accomplishments of the year, including a clean sweep of the Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and the World Equestrian Festival CHIO. The event lived up to its promise to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime event featuring a rare video, commentary by Peters, and a visit from Ravel. Proceeds from “Honoring Ravel” benefited the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF), a nonprofit that provides assistance for basic medical needs funding for those in the equestrian community suffering from catastrophic illness or injury.
"I am happy that Ravel can make a contribution to the larger equestrian community and especially those in need,” said Akiko Yamazaki, Ravel’s owner.
Guests were treated to a full evening of surprises. Starting with champagne and hors d’oeuvres served in unexpectedly elegant surroundings that Team Peters barely recognized. Designer Tim Ballengee of Menlo Park, California, transformed the covered arena into an upscale cocktail lounge and intimate dining room created from 500 yards of natural muslin, artwork, candles, linens and floral arrangements featuring hydrangeas, curly willow branches and crisp green apples.
After enjoying images of Ravel projected on a large screen, R. Scot Evans, president of the EAF, discussed the importance of the team’s accomplishments. “While honoring a horse that has made U.S. Dressage history, it seems only fitting to reflect on the people that come with horses and the team behind the scenes,” Evans said.
The Road to Hong Kong, a video diary created as a gift by Jerry Yang for his wife Yamazaki’s 40th birthday, follows Ravel’s trials and triumphs with interviews and performance footage. President of Cavalor, a Peters’ sponsor, Philippe Collard traveled all the way from Montreal, Quebec to be part of the festivities. He said, "I was happy to be there because I think we played a part in this year's success of Steffen and Ravel."
Peters introduced the video of his two World Cup tests, including the freestyle featuring music by Cold Play and the Rolling Stones. Donated by Carr-Hughes Production, the video re-created a celebration that had guests cheering.
Then the real celebration began. Quietly standing off to the side, out of sight, Ravel waited. As Peters had envisioned, the lights went up after the video and the grand horse made his entrance to a jubilant crowd.
Yamazaki said, “It is very special that he can be present himself!"
Peters then introduced his team, including Ravel’s owners, groom, veterinarian, Peters’ wife Shannon and all the people who share their days on the farm.
As guests danced and talked over the music, they each received an autographed keepsake book – Steffen Peters and Ravel – created for the event with hand-selected photos by Yamazaki. Photographers from around the world donated their images from Ravel’s first day in quarantine at UC Davis to Princess Haya's presentation at Aachen. The limited edition hard cover book includes donated images from professional photographers Sheryl L. Ross, Susan J. Stickle, Valeria Streun and Thomas Rubel. It also includes a few personal photos of Yamazaki’s, like her young daughter feeding Ravel a carrot during the 2008 Olympic Trials.
The evening was made possible by the generous contributions of benefactors The Riggio Foundation and Dogwood Hill; event sponsors Cavalor, Back on Track, Elegant Events Catering Co., Respond Systems, Horse Tech, Custom Saddlery and Mary’s Tack and Feed. Donations were also made in Ravel’s honor by Jessica Ransehousen and Ashley, Connie and Rick Schrempp.
"We are fortunate to have such an organization as the Equestrian Aid Foundation,” Peters said. “It was wonderful to be a part of a night benefiting a great charity and honoring such an amazing horse."
About the Equestrian Aid Foundation:
In 1996 the Equestrian AIDS Foundation was established to assist those with HIV/Aids. Recognizing a broader need, the organization changed its name and mission. 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, please visit www.equestrianaidfoundation.org.