PVDA Ride for Life benefits breast cancer research

Jane Hannigan and Maksymilian
Jane Hannigan, shown here at the 2010 Kentucky Cup Dressage, is one of the featured Grand Prix riders at the PVDA ride for life. Photo: Leslie Potter

Combining equestrian entertainment at its best with support for breast cancer research, the Potomac Valley Dressage Association (PVDA) will present the 8th Annual PVDA Ride for Life, June 25-26, at the Prince Georges Equestrian Center (14900 Pennsylvania Ave.) in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Attracting as many as 6,000 visitors throughout the course of the weekend, the event will feature a two-day USDF-recognized dressage show, the acclaimed Dancing Horse Challenge, demonstration rides, children’s activities, boutique shopping, a black-tie optional gala, silent auction and many more opportunities for family fun, while raising funds for the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center in Baltimore.

“We are very dependent these days on the generosity of others to fulfill our mission and goals of the breast center,” said Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. “The Ride for Life event greatly supports our efforts so that more patients can become survivors of this disease, as well as receive quality of care at Hopkins, and through our training efforts, also elsewhere.”

Dancing Horse Challenge
The weekend’s highlight is the Dancing Horse Challenge, Saturday, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:00).

As one of the premier equestrian nights on the East Coast, this lyrical blend of dance, music, lights and equestrian prowess is woven into a moving theatrical performance.

Featuring international and national riders and Olympians, the Dancing Horse Challenge becomes a call to heal, to give and, most importantly, to celebrate life. Grand Marshals are Ann Romney, former Massachusetts First Lady and dressage Gold Medalist, and Olympian Debbie McDonald. Special guest is Olympian Courtney King-Dye.

Yvonne and Kim Barteau of KYB Dressage, famous for entertaining audiences with skits inspired by the “Lion King” and “Arabian Nights,” will be returning to perform new vignettes. Vitor Silva, acclaimed instructor and founder of the Sons of the Wind School of Equestrian Arts, will be returning this year also to perform dressage and haute ecole movements with his Lusitano stallions. Bent Jensen, an Olympian, Grand Prix champion and trainer, will perform a full-costumed, musical freestyle based on the music of Lady Gaga. Dutch Chapman, a two-time NRHA World Champion and acclaimed trainer, will perform western reining demonstrations.

Additional riders on the bill to perform musical freestyles include Shannon Dueck (World Cup and Grand Prix champion and Pan AM Games Silver Medalist, Jane Hannigan (Grand Prix rider) and Kathy Priest, (Grand Prix rider, trainer and instructor). For updates about participating riders and their performances, visit /redirect.php?location=www.pvdarideforlife.org.

Throughout the evening, guests can purchase food and beverages on the concourse from Putting on the Ritz. They also can shop among our vendors, look for Ride for Life souvenirs and visit the silent auction area to bid on such items as jewelry, artwork, crafts, memorabilia, gift certificates and riding clinics.

Immediately following the Dancing Horse Challenge is “Dancing in the Dirt,” which invites everyone in the stands to come down to the sand arena and dance to the live sounds of The Unruly Blues until 11:30 p.m.

The Dancing with the Stars-themed, Saturday night black-tie optional gala kicks off at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception and strolling magic by Bill Gross. Gala guests will have special seating for the Dancing Horse Challenge and can go back and forth from the show to the auction and the reception for appetizers, and free beer and wine courtesy of Bob Hall, Inc. and Woodhall Winery.

The Cause
Proceeds from rider participation, sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandise sales, auction purchases, and food and beverage sales will be donated to the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. Since its inception in 2004, the annual PVDA Ride for Life has raised over $320,000 for breast cancer research and improving the lives of those afflicted and their loved ones. This year, the event committee hopes to raise over $100,000.

Event History
Eight years ago, breast cancer survivor Patricia Artimovich found that her belief in the healing power of horses gave her the support to cry, to believe in her future and to gain strength through her battle and recovery. She felt that she had gained so much through her association with these “gentle giants” that she wanted to open that avenue to others and involve the dressage community.

Artimovich recommended that the Potomac Valley Dressage Association, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization), dedicate one of its one-day dressage shows and its proceeds to the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center, where she had received treatment. Since then, the Ride for Life has expanded to a weekend event and become a member of the Signature Dressage Seriesä.

About The PVDA
The Potomac Valley Dressage Association (PVDA) is the second oldest dressage club in the United States. Founded in 1964 in Gaithersburg, Md., it is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization that promotes the art and sport of dressage by providing leadership, education, scholarships and competitions. PVDA membership encompasses dressage enthusiasts in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. For more information, visit www.pvdarideforlife.org.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here