What would a winter season in Welly World be without a fundraiser to attend? It would be a season lacking – I know that much! And so I attended my first fundraiser of the season last night, a very unique event (that was very conveniently put on by Sidelines) called a Tetrathlon. The Sidelines Tetrathlon Presented by FarmVet at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Wellington, to be specific.
First of all, what the heck is a tetrathlon?? Just think in fours. . . four disciplines, four teams of four that equaled 24 famous riders, all switching it up and competing together in a discipline not their own. I’m a fan of this form of entertainment (see my recent love affair with polo), and apparently so are some very big riders. Watching Olympians from one discipline try their hand at another will never get old!
Just picture Ashley Holzer and Will Simpson reining. Katherine Bateson-Chandler playing polo. Polo players jumping a course. And Nick Dello Joio and Candice King riding a dressage test. Myself and over 500 others who were betting on a night of entertainment happily mingled, enjoyed a few cocktails, and then the revelry commenced:
The event benefitted the Equestrian Aid Foundation, and like any fundraiser worth its snuff, a healthy “who’s who” group of horse people gathered. Georgina Bloomberg, Frank Madden, Robert Dover, Mason Phelps, Carlos Gracida, Alison Springer, Mary Phelps, Jane Savoie, Nikki Simpson, etc etc etc. There’s nothing more fun than people watching, especially celebrity horse-people watching! The crowd was just more proof that Wellington really is the center of the horse universe at this time of year.
But back to the riding. It’s fairly common knowledge that Will Simpson enjoys reining, and it was fun to see him ride a reining test. But Will was topped by Ashley Holzer, who stole the show with her very entertaining and very spontainous reining freestyle. By the way, I couldn’t help but notice just whom was wearing their helmet for the traditionally “non-helmet” disiplines of reining and dressage, and who was not. Just saying.
One rider who was wearing her helmet was Candice King. Candice and Ashley Holzer must be very close friends, because Candice was granted the privilege of riding Ashley’s Olympic horse Pop Art in a dressage freestyle. Watching Candice gamely ride piaffe, passage, pirouette and even some two-tempis across the diagonal was my favorite part of the night.
All in all, it was great fun. The silent and live auction, and packed VIP tables raised a healthy sum for the Equestrian Aid Foundation, and the event, which had been on a four year hiatus, proved that it had been missed! There’s now talk about holding a Sidelines Tetrathlon not only annually, but in other regions around the country. Hmmm, who could possibly star in a West Coast Tetrathlon? ? Can anyone picture Richard Spooner in a cowboy hat, or Guenter Seidel playing polo? Anything’s possible!
Special thanks to the talents of photographers Sue Stickle and Emily Allongo for providing Sidelines with photos of the evening’s events. Look for more Tetrathlon coverage in the upcoming March issue of Sidelines.