What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Wear Your Best Party Hat and Celebrate JustWorld’s “Sweet 16” Birthday Celebration

January 17, 2019 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

WELLINGTON, FLORIDA – Nonprofit JustWorld International has a sweet reason to celebrate this year; they will be commemorating sixteen years of uniting the equestrian community to support and empower thousands of children around the world. JustWorld invites guests to celebrate this collective change at its “Sweet Sixteen” birthday at the Annual JustWorld Gala, presented by Caryl Philips & Frank Zeiss and the Palm Beach Masters Series, on Friday, January 25, 2019.

Each year, JustWorld International hosts the Annual JustWorld Gala to celebrate and applaud the positive change that the organization and its supporters are making in the lives of thousands of children who need it most. The JustWorld Gala attracts some of the international equestrian industry’s top riders, trainers, owners and supporters, as well as important members of the community to continue supporting the mission of JustWorld. The evening will host a series of fundraising events that will directly benefit JustWorld partner projects, including a silent auction and live auction.

JustWorld promises to bring spectacular entertainment to the event. Guests are encouraged to bring their best party hat to join in on the birthday celebration. Hosted by Belle Herbe Farm, located at 3206 Old Hampton Drive in Wellington, the lively atmosphere will be brought to life through food, drinks and specialty entertainment created for the evening. JustWorld is thankful that Bolay will be returning as the Official Catering Sponsor of the evening, preparing all of the delicious food for the passed hors-d’oeuvres and delectable tasting stations.

JustWorld thanks Caryl Philips & Frank Zeiss and the Palm Beach Masters Series, who are returning as the Presenting Sponsors. The organization is delighted to announce exciting new partnerships this year as well, including CaptiveOne, the highly anticipated restaurant and lounge Trophy Room, as Official Bar Sponsor, Noëlle Floyd as Official Media Sponsor and Mark Edward Partners. Trophy Room will also be hosting the Gala after-party and Mark Edward Partners will be sponsoring free rides through Uber during the evening so guests will be able to celebrate safely.

Longtime supporter Voltaire Design is returning for the second year as Gala Sponsor. Also continuing their ongoing support, Horseware Ireland will be coming back as sponsor of the fun photo booth, allowing guests to capture a night to be remembered. Lastly, Tito’s Vodka will once again be generously donating to the Gala.

Join JustWorld’s “Sweet Sixteen” to tip your hat and continue to support children in need around the world. For more information regarding the 16th Annual JustWorld Gala, please visit: gala.justworldinternational.org

Douglas Elliman Saddles Up With Give Back For Special Equestrians As Charity Partner During The Douglas Elliman $384,000 Winter Equestrian Festival Grand Prix

March 02, 2018 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

WELLINGTON, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2018)Douglas Elliman Real Estate has saddled up with Give Back for Special Equestrians, and honorary co-hosts Georgina Bloomberg and Jimmy Torano, for the second year in a row for a glamorous evening of world-class Grand Prix Show Jumping and philanthropy in support of special needs riders.

The exclusive benefit will take place on March 10th during Week 9 of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida to celebrate the occasion of the $384,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix.

Georgina Bloomberg

Hosted by Scott Durkin, President and COO of Douglas Elliman, Gus Rubio, COO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida Brokerage, Co-Founders of Give Back for Special Equestrians Sissy DeMaria-Koehne and Dr. Heather Kuhl, the lavish ringside gala will take place in the gallery overlooking the Grand Prix Show ring and will feature a lively DJ, cocktails and dinner. The evening’s program also includes a special guest appearance from Natalia C. Cercone, an extra-ability rider who will share her inspiring journey of healing. Cercone’s personal story and life experiences translate into a message of inclusion and adaptability that is impactful and life-changing to all who listen. Proceeds raised from the gala will provide annual scholarships for therapeutic horseback riding lessons and a renewed path toward healing and hope for children and veterans with disabilities.

“This event touches on our brand ethos of supporting Douglas Elliman’s friends, agents and clients in the equestrian arena as well as important philanthropic efforts within the communities we serve. Our long-term partnership with the Wellington Equestrian Festival greatly exemplifies that dual philosophy,” said Scott Durkin.

“Douglas Elliman is pleased to partner for the second year in a row with Give Back for Special Equestrians. Therapeutic horseback riding has many physical benefits for people with disabilities like improving balance, posture and eye-hand coordination while also helping to build self-esteem, self-confidence and self-control,” said Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida Brokerage. “We are happy to help support children and veterans who can best benefit from this life changing therapy.”

Jimmy Torano

Give Back for Special Equestrians, formerly known as Give a Buck for Special Equestrians, is a Florida-based nonprofit 501C3, whose mission is to provide therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted scholarships for disabled children and veterans throughout Florida and New York. The all-volunteer charity founded in 2013 by Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, along with Dr. Heather Kuhl and Isabel Ernst, aims to share in the joy of horses and horsemanship with those suffering from physical, mental and emotional difficulties so they can experience the many benefits of therapeutic and equine-assisted horseback riding.

“Thanks to Douglas Elliman, Give Back has made significant strides giving back more than $100,000 in support of special equestrians. We are so grateful for their commitment which enables us to continue to give more individuals living with mental, cognitive or emotional disabilities direct access to ‘horsepower’ that heals. I also want to express my gratitude to our honorary co-chairs Georgina Bloomberg and Jimmy Torano as well as our board and media partner Sidelines Magazine,” said Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, Founder of Give a Buck for Special Equestrians.

About Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Established in 1911, Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the largest brokerage in the New York Metropolitan area and the fourth largest residential real estate company nationwide. With more than 7,000 agents, the company operates approximately 113 offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Long Island, the Hamptons & North Fork, Westchester, Greenwich, South Florida, Boston, Colorado and California. Moreover, Douglas Elliman has a strategic global alliance with London-based Knight Frank Residential for business in the worldwide luxury markets spanning 60 countries and six continents. The company also controls a portfolio of real estate services including Douglas Elliman Development Marketing; Manhattan’s largest residential property manager, Douglas Elliman Property Management with over 250 buildings; and DE Commercial. For more information on Douglas Elliman as well as expert commentary on emerging trends in the real estate industry, please visit elliman.com.

About Give Back for Special Equestrians

Give Back for Special Equestrians, formerly Give a Buck for Special Equestrians, is a Florida-based nonprofit 501©3. The all-volunteer organization founded by Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, Dr. Heather Kuhl and Isabel Ernst in Vero Beach, Florida in 2013, provides therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted scholarships for disabled children and veterans through its partner stables in New York and Florida. Give Back for Special Equestrians aims to share the joy of horses and horsemanship with those facing some of life’s most difficult physical, emotional and mental challenges and enable them to experience the life-changing benefits of horsepower that heals. Through its Young Ambassador program, youth between the of ages 7-17 are encouraged to pay forward their blessings through active volunteerism. Young Ambassadors meet monthly during the school year and assist with a variety of fund and “friend” raising activities. For more information please visit www.giveabuckeq.org


Winter Equestrian Festival’s Second Annual Pony Derby To Benefit Give A Buck For Special Equestrians

February 06, 2015 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Pony Derby to Benefit Give a Buck for Special Equestrians (Photo Credit: Sissy DeMaria)

Pony Derby to Benefit Give a Buck for Special Equestrians (Photo Credit: Sissy DeMaria)

Jump for the Children Pony Derby Fundraiser to be Held March 6th at WEF

 WELLINGTON, FL (Jan. 20, 2015) Give a Buck for Special Equestrians is kicking off the New Year with the announcement of the Winter Equestrian Festival’s Second Annual Jump for the Children Pony Derby Classic to be held March 6th.

 Young riders from across the country will saddle up for special equestrians as they compete in three $5,000 Pony Derby Classics with small, medium, and large divisions at The Stadium, 13500 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington. The Jump for the Children Pony Derby Classic benefiting Give a Buck kicks off at 8 a.m. and will be followed by a festive party where children are invited to step up and dress up and join parents to bid on a dazzling array of enticing silent auction items.

All proceeds will benefit Give a Buck for Special Equestrians and its partner riding programs in Florida and North Carolina including: Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center (North Carolina), Good Hope Equestrian Training Center (Miami), Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast (Vero Beach), Stable Place (Davie), Naples Equestrian Challenge and Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (West Palm Beach).

“The funds raised from the Jump for the Children Pony Derby Classic will help us provide much needed financial assistance to our partner programs,” says Sissy DeMaria, the founder of Give a Buck and event Co-Chairperson. “We are deeply grateful to David Burton for believing in horse power that heals and for supporting our event. It is a fun and meaningful way to introduce children to philanthropy and for the equine community to give back.”

Give a Buck for Special Equestrians was founded in July 2013 and is a registered nonprofit in Florida. Give a Buck accepts tax deductible donations through its Fiscal Sponsor, The Coral Gables Community Foundation, a public charity under section 501(c)3. Give a Buck raises funds by asking horse owners to give “as little as a buck or as much as they can” with each month’s board payment. Give a Buck also raises money through merchandise sales at area tack stores and at horse shows. Give a Buck’s Young Ambassadors, children and teens ages 7-17 are the backbone of the organization providing ongoing support through hands on volunteering, fundraising, “friend” raising, and drawing awareness to the charity’s mission.

To a child or adult with a physical, developmental or emotional disability, life looks a lot brighter on horseback. The power and warmth of a horse strengthens and tones muscles, improves balance, head control and coordination, builds pa­tience and self-esteem, and offers a sense of freedom and equality. Horseback riding gently and rhythmically simulates the human gait, so riders with physical disabilities improve their flexibility and muscle strength. While grooming horses helps promote a sense of calmness and well being.

For Tickets and more information, please contact Tara Bieling at (239) 200-2230.

4th Annual Jump for HomeSafe set for Saturday, January 11th : Charity fundraiser being hosted by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward and wife Lauren

January 01, 2014 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

WELLINGTON, Fla. (December 31, 2013) – HomeSafe announced that two-time Olympic Gold medalist McLain Ward and his wife Lauren as the new Co-Chairs for Jump for HomeSafe – set for Saturday, January 11 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington. Hannah Patten, an up-and-coming teenage equestrian, is the event’s Junior Chair.


The family-friendly fundraiser takes place ringside in the Wellington Club Tent during the ever-popular Battle of the Sexes equestrian competition.  Jump for HomeSafe provides attendees with exceptional indoor and outdoor viewing of equestrian competition, as well as cocktails, Hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a silent auction. The event also offers younger attendees an assortment of kid-friendly activities.

“We’re truly honored to have McLain and Lauren as the event’s Co-Chairs, and Hannah as the Junior Chair,” said Matthew Ladika, HomeSafe’s CEO. “Jump for HomeSafe is a unique event that demonstrates the equestrian community’s strong support of HomeSafe’s mission.”

McLain and Lauren Ward

McLain and Lauren Ward

All proceeds from Jump for HomeSafe will benefit HomeSafe, a non-profit organization helping victims of children abuse and domestic violence.  Each year the charity serves more than sixteen thousand infants, children and families through comprehensive and results-driven intervention and prevention programs.

“We’re so pleased to aid the efforts of HomeSafe,” said two-time Olympic Gold medalist McLain Ward and his wife Lauren.  “As Event Co-Chairs of Jump for HomeSafe, we’re securing the support of the equestrian community to help HomeSafe – an amazing charity helping an incredible number of infants, children and families.  We’re looking forward to providing attendees with an exciting and memorable event, all to support a great cause.”

The event has compiled an impressive list of dedicated, well-respected community leaders to serve as Event Co-Chairs, including Georgina Bloomberg, Paige Johnson and Clara Belden. To date, Jump for HomeSafe has raised almost $200,000 for HomeSafe.


Sponsorships and tickets are available at www.HelpHomeSafe.org or by calling 561-383-9842.

In existence since 1979, HomeSafe is a nationally accredited non-profit organization protecting Palm Beach County and South Florida’s most vulnerable residents – victims of child abuse and domestic violence.  Each year HomeSafe serves more than sixteen thousand infants, children and families.  Through its results-driven approach, HomeSafe is a leading provider of comprehensive prevention and intervention services.  Learn more about HomeSafe at www.HelpHomeSafe.org or by calling 561-383-9842.

Rolex and Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Sign Unprecedented 10-Year Partnership to Transform Show Jumping for the Americas

November 28, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival to Have Five CSI 5* Events and a Record 51 FEI Ranking Classes Over the Circuit


For Immediate Release


Wellington, FL – November 27, 2013 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Rolex SA signed an unprecedented 10-year sponsorship agreement to make Rolex the “Official Timepiece” of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) and of the world-renowned FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The FTI WEF serves almost 6,000 horses and 2,000 riders from 50 states and over 30 countries.


The long-term partnership will facilitate a record US $1.63 million dollar increase in prize money bringing the grand total to over US $8 million dollars at the FTI WEF, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. Three new FEI-rated CSI 5* events will be added to the schedule, which will make five of the 12 weeks during the circuit at the highest level in Show Jumping. There will also be a new US $1 million Palm Beach Challenge presented by Rolex bonus opportunity.


Another highlight of the association is that two of the CSI 5* Grand Prix events will be televised and many others will be distributed by Rolex through their media partnerships in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.


Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, stated, “We are honored to be partnered with one of the most respected brands in the world. Through this partnership, we will provide the resources to elevate the level of Show Jumping for the Americas and expose PBIEC to a broader international audience.”


Arnaud Boetsch, Director of Communications with Rolex, said, “We are very pleased to extend and expand the scope of our long-lasting and successful partnership with this prestigious venue and the world-class, world-renowned events it hosts. Rolex and Palm Beach International Equestrian Center certainly share a common passion for excellence and perfection.”


The dates of the 2014 CSI 5* shows are: FTI WEF 3 from January 22-26, FTI WEF 5 from February 5-9, FTI WEF 7 from February 19-23, FTI WEF 10 from March 12-16, and FTI WEF 12 from March 26-30. In addition to the five CSI 5* shows, there are three CSI 4* events, a CSI 3*, and two CSI 2* shows during the circuit.


FTI WEF weeks 3, 5, 7, and 10 will feature a US $300,000 Saturday Night Grand Prix. FTI WEF 12 will feature the US $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix.


The “Palm Beach Challenge presented by Rolex” applies to four of the five 5* events and awards a US $1 million bonus to any horse and rider combination that wins the four consecutive CSI 5* Grand Prix events at FTI WEF 3, 5, 10, and 12. The winner of two consecutive Grand Prix will receive US $50,000 and the winner of three of four will receive a US $100,000 bonus.


Finally, Rolex offered a substantial contribution to the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments, an equestrian Show Jumping competition founded by Mark Bellissimo and his daughter Paige. The event, which occurs on February 1, 2014, is a competition where the world’s top riders team up with equestrian sport’s most prominent families in a unique competition that awards a sliding scale of prize money to each of the 34 randomly selected charities in Palm Beach County.




Rolex enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches are symbols of excellence, performance, and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch since 1905, the brand is at the origin of several landmark innovations in watchmaking, including the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, exploration, sports, and the environment through sponsoring and philanthropic programmes. Rolex has been present in equestrian sports since 1957.


For more information, visit www.rolex.com.


About the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) is considered the most recognizable equestrian sporting venue in America today. It is a 160-acre “Equestrian Lifestyle Destination” nestled in the heart of an 8,000-acre equestrian paradise in Wellington, Florida, located only 20 miles west of Palm Beach.


There are 16 competition rings throughout the equestrian show complex suited for the world’s finest Show Jumping, Hunter, and Dressage events. The PBIEC show grounds offer spectators a picturesque environment in which to enjoy equestrian competitions. There are a number of hospitality and vendor pavilions dedicated to dining, shopping, and VIP areas.


For more information on Equestrian Sport Productions and the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, please visit www.equestriansport.com.


November 23, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Crest Coot Solid 1 with Flourish.ai



The 2014 College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) is honored to announce that world class and Olympic show jumping icon, Peter Wylde, will be the ‘key note’ speaker at the 2014 CPI Awards Ceremony. Breaking away from rigorous 2014 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) competition duties, Wylde will speak to the young participants about the pertinence of a collegiate education for students desiring to become professional equestrians following graduation, as well as the benefits associated with collegiate team participation.


“To have Peter as a ‘marquis’ component of the 2014 CPI, is a dream come true,” states Jeanne Rouco-Conesa, CPI President. “Peter’s wide ranging experience, college background at Tuft’s University, success both here in the U.S. and in Europe, will be an inspiring, but yet, an invaluable resource to the youth attending CPI.”


Additional invaluable tools for the 2014 CPI is the participation of Peter Cashman, the 2014 CPI Show Manager, and Simon Towns, the 2014 CPI Stable Manager and Competition Horse Recruiter.


“Coupled with Peter’s IHSA background and as the Director of Riding at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point where he oversees a 50 stall barn, a lesson program, the USMA Cadet Equestrian Team and the Army Mules, and Simon’s experience as IEA Zone 4 Chairperson, the 2014 CPI is in the best hands possible,” continues Rouco-Conesa.


“I am so pleased to be a part of the CPI Horse Show and Scholarship Fund this year. The new and improved structure for the horse show will truly maximize every rider’s potential on the wonderful horses that are being generously donated,” states Towns.

Photo Credit: Isabel Kurek Peter Wylde on Esplanade at the 2008 World Cup - Gothenburg, Sweden

Photo Credit: Isabel Kurek
Peter Wylde on Esplanade at the 2008 World Cup – Gothenburg, Sweden



• Dates: March 28-30, 2014

• Location: Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, Palm Beach, FL. (Seven (7)

miles from Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

• Fees: $530 per participant. $25 application fee after 11/15/13.

• Admission: Limited to 160 participants.

• Applications: Available on line at www.collegeprepinvitational.com

• Equestrian disciplines: Hunt Seat Equitation competitions over fences

and under saddle. (Dressage not offered in 2014.)


About the College Preparatory Invitational

The mission of the CPI is to prepare and educate student riders in grades 9 – 12 about the format of college equestrian competition, encourage academics and horsemanship, and to provide the riders with resources to create their desired college equestrian experience. The show is specifically geared to promote college recruitment of equestrians by providing the opportunity for coaches and potential students to meet. The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show is rooted in the belief that equestrian talent, not finances, should dictate a rider’s opportunity to be a part of a collegiate team. Given the fact that the CPI provides all the horses and necessary tack for the show, riders do not incur the expense of transporting horses to the show.


The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show is based on the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) hunt seat equitation classification, where horses will be assigned by a random draw on the day of competition.


Along with the competition, the CPI will offer seminars and question & answer sessions during the show. Riders and their families will hear about the college equestrian experience and familiarize themselves with the different associations that govern collegiate riding. There will also be a number or College and Universities present at the CPI to distribute literature and introduce the academic and riding opportunities, including scholarships, offered at their institution.


Because the future leaders of the equestrian business and sport are the college bound riders, The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show Scholarship Fund is designed to reward those riders that exhibit social conduct and academic excellence as well as competitive success.


The CPI offers various types of scholarships to the student riders. Please visit the CPI website’s Scholarship Page for detailed information regarding the CPI Scholarships.

Join JustWorld International For Their Signature Horseless Horse Show

February 15, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL – February 14, 2012 – Countless young horse lovers dream of one day entering the ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center as part of the Winter Equestrian Festival. JustWorld International makes that dream a reality in a unique way with their signature Horseless Horse Show. Saturday, February 23, come out to the Winter Equestrian Festival to take your turn over the horseless horse show’s short stirrup jumper, children’s jumper, team relay race, or puissance course, beginning at approximately 5 pm in the DeNemethy Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.


JustWorld International’s signature Horseless Horse Shows attracts more than 100 children of all ages to take their turn competing over a human-size jump course. It is one of the most entertaining charity events of the season, for children and parents alike. The jumps are made as though they came straight from a miniature grand prix ring, complete with elaborate, decorative standards that add to the horse show feel. Participants jump their highest and run their fastest as they vie for top ribbons and prizes in this fun, athletic event.


The 2013 JustWorld Horseless Horse Show will feature the Puissance high jump competition, Short Stirrup Jumpers, Children’s Jumpers class, and the anticipated Team Relay Race. Ribbons will be presented to the top finishers in each class. Entries are $15 per class.


All money raised through sponsorships and participant registrations go directly to JustWorld’s education and nutrition projects for impoverished children in Honduras, Cambodia, Guatemala and Brazil.




Sponsor opportunities are available on two different levels: class sponsorships and title sponsorships. Class sponsors have the opportunity to have a class named to their choosing and to participate in the ribbon presentation to the winners of this class. Class sponsors’ logos will appear on all 2013 WEF Horseless Horse Show event posters and flyers and on all JustWorld Horseless Horse Show entry blanks. In addition, sponsors will be included in event press releases, social media activities and promotions, as well as being included in an article about the Horseless Horse Show in JustWorld International’s electronic newsletter.


The cost of the class sponsorship is $1,500, and title sponsorships are available for $5,000. To participate as a sponsor, please e-mail Sabrina Jurak at sjurak@justworldinternational.org.



To download an entry form for the JustWorld International Horseless Horse Show please click here. To download the poster for the JustWorld International Horseless Horse Show please click here


Founded in 2003 by Jessica Newman, JustWorld International is a not-for-profit, humanitarian organization, which funds life-changing nutrition, health and hygiene, education, as well as leadership and cultural development programs for impoverished children in Cambodia, Honduras and Guatemala. There are currently more than 500 Rider and Technical Official Ambassadors representing 40 different countries, whose efforts to support JustWorld’s projects have raised in excess of $6 million to date. For more information on JustWorld, please visit www.justworldinternational.org.