What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

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



April 11, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'


 WELLINGTON, Fla. (April 5, 2017) — A five-acre working farm, 20 miles of trails and a mile-long lake are just a few of the natural elements that define Arden, the new master-planned community set to open April 29. Located on Southern Boulevard in western Palm Beach County, Arden is just minutes away from the new Publix shopping center, Palm Beach State College’s west campus, and all the shopping, dining and entertainment options of Wellington.

Developed by Freehold Communities, Arden will eventually include 2,000 homes—the majority of which will back up to a community open space, including parks, playfields, greenways, nature trails or lakes. Purposefully designed to magnify the connection between nature, health and happiness, the scenic property features miles of walking and biking trails; a central mile-long lake for fishing, kayaking or canoeing; and an expansive great lawn for events. Embracing the area’s rich agricultural history, Arden is one of the first in Florida to feature a working farm as an essential component of community life. The five-acre parcel will produce fruits, vegetables and herbs under the guidance of a full-time Farm Manager, and be complemented by a barn where residents can gather for seasonal classes and harvest events.

“This is a community for those who love the great outdoors and want a daily connection to Florida’s natural beauty,” said Suzanne Maddalon, vice president of marketing for Freehold Communities.

The gracious two-story Clubhouse will form the heart of recreational activity at Arden. A resort-style pool flows over two levels. The peaceful upper pool and spa are surrounded by private cabanas for those who want some quiet time, while the lower pool offers water play areas perfectly suited for families with young children. The Clubhouse will offer plenty of separate indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for all ages to enjoy. The upper level will have an inviting Wi-Fi café serving coffees, lattes, juice and food items, including frozen treats; meeting and event rooms; and an outdoor covered patio with a fireplace. The lower level will include a fully-equipped fitness room and a private exercise studio with Wellbeats™ virtual trainers on demand.

Arden’s best-in-class amenities were developed based on comprehensive market research, and will raise the standard of expectations for planned communities in South Florida. “Our research showed that inviting gathering spaces that foster social interaction, a focus on healthy food and best-in-class fitness options were in high demand across all of our target markets,” added Maddalon. “We also found that active adults are shifting away from age-restricted communities in order to be closer to their friends, children and grandkids. Since Arden will appeal to a range of age groups, we designed the clubhouse to serve as the connective tissue for our multi-generational residents, while still providing unique and private areas for those who want some quiet time.”

Arden will offer homes in an array of sizes, styles and price points. Ryan Homes is the first of three builders announced. Sales will officially begin at a family-friendly community event in early Spring.

For more information, or to join the Founders Club, please visit www.ArdenFL.com

Babington Kicks Off Season with WEF Win!

February 07, 2017 By: maryhaley Category: What's Happenin'

Babington Kicks Off Season with WEF Win!


Wordley Martin Equestrian has a long relationship with Kevin Babington and his team, originally installing his ring at home in Pennsylvania, and in 2016 we completed another arena renovation at his farm here in Loxahatchee, FL.

Kevin has been receiving some well deserved press lately, due to his phenomenal performance in the jumper ring.

Keep an eye out for your next edition of Sidelines Magazine, where we will be featuring Kevin in our full page ad as our featured client of the month!  We are looking forward to charting his success in the Grand Prix ring this season at WEF!

View the full article here

The Importance of Riding on Proper Footing

 As equestrians we have spent many hours putting our blood, sweat, and tears into producing a top equine athlete, and we all want a healthy and successful competition season this winter. Healthy and happy horses begins with the surface they train on every day. Training and competing on good footing is essential to your horses health and longevity, while bad footing can bring you several headaches and unwanted vet bills.

With all types of footing, there is a concussive element that the horse’s soft tissue will absorb with every step. Footing with too much grip will prevent the horse from moving freely, causing strain on the joints and tendons. Footing with not enough grip can cause horses to slip, leading to soft tissue injuries.

Proper footing will provide you with optimum shear strength, shock absorption, and rebound that is essential for your horses daily training. Footing that includes those three essential components allows the horse to move freely, absorb energy for shock absorption, and allows the horse’s foot to land evenly with every step.

Wordley Martin Founders, Craig Martin and Sharn Wordley understand how horses move across different surfaces. From many years of International Show Jumping experience, they understand the horse’s biomechanics to provide you with the top footing solution for your horses.

Maura Weis, an amateur dressage competitor is thrilled with all of the arenas Wordley Martin has built for her. “I have built three Wordley Martin arenas and I love them all, they are amazing! The Wordley Martin folks are a pleasure to work with, totally professional, caring and knowledgeable. All of the professionals I have trained with are amazed by the quality of the footing and the entire presentation of the arenas. It is equal to or better than the footing at shows where I compete.”

Product of the Month: Wordley Martin Premium Footing

Arena Footing
Additives, such as textiles and fibers, are added to sand to improve the properties to riding surfaces. Geo-Textile, a shredded textile, stabilizes the sand particles, thus mimics the effect of the rooting system of turf, which has a stabilizing effect on the surrounding soil particles. Geo-Textile products give more resilience, reduce the amount of packing and help to hold moisture in the surface, which leads to reduced dust as well.

Wordley Martin will work with clients to create a customized surface solution by combining our materials with an existing ring surface, or by recommending solutions to upgrade overall footing materials.

Click here for more information

Recently Completed Arenas

Lassergut Farm – Wellington, FL

Debra and Justin Buis – Wellington, FL











Four Schools Farm – Paris, KY

Additional Products


Stall Systems

Odyssey Performance Trainer


Eurimports Jump Collection
PJ Jump Collection


Odyssey Thunder Spa
WM Arena Drag


WME Ride-Rite Winter Agent
GGT Arpolith
  Wordley Martin is currently finishing up at Cindy Peretti’s property in the Equestrian Club located in Wellington, FL before we head to Pennsylvania for another arena.

Stay tuned for next month’s mini article about daily arena maintenance and newly constructed arena photos. Stay up to date with Wordley Martin news by viewing our website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

3260 Fairlane Farms Rd | Suite 5 | 561-328-9770 | info@wordleymartin.com | www.wordleymartin.com

Free Ride Sundays Kick Off In Wellington

February 06, 2016 By: Editor Category: What's Happenin'

19c45977-15d0-47c8-a9a8-d7291363698dSunday Evening Courtesy Ride Program implemented during remaining weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival

Wellington, FL. January 29, 2015 – From January through April, Wellington residents will have the opportunity to utilize a free safe ride service starting Sunday, January 31st.

With months in the making, the Wellington Safe Ride Service will be operating on Sunday nights from 10:30 pm until 3:30 am. The services provided ensure all passengers have a fun and responsible night. Three buses chaperoned by volunteers will be available to shuttle individuals from their homes to the Grille, to Players Club, and then from Players Club home.

Conceptualized by Wellington resident Romain Marteau, this program will be available to not just those within the Equestrian community but to all Wellington residents.

“On Sunday nights plan for a safe ride home with one of our insured and licensed drivers,” said Romain Marteau. “We are working very hard to make this program a viable option for those who feel they cannot drive safely or are just tired after a long day. It is an important factor helping to protect the community and create a secure environment.”

Free Ride Sundays is a nonprofit program run by volunteers and is encouraging Wellington residents to sponsor the remaining weeks.

“We want this to be a service that Wellington residents use. It will benefit the entire community as a whole,” states Marteau. “Please consider donating so that we can make certain that Free Ride Sundays continue not only throughout circuit this year but also for years to come. We welcome any monetary donations. If you cannot/do not want to donate money please consider volunteering to be a chaperone one Sunday evening.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please contact:

https://www.crowdrise.com/freeridesundays/fundraiser/romainmarteau or https://www.facebook.com/FreeRideSundays/.


Danny & Ron’s Rescue Gives Back

April 30, 2015 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Danny & Ron's Rescue Gives Back 2
Donates $10,000 to Meals On Wheels of the Palm Beaches

Wellington, FL – April 30, 2015 – The crowd was on their feet, and shouts resounded through the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center as Danny & Ron’s Rescue was announced as the 2015 Great Charity Challenge winners that fateful night in February. They were presented with the top prize, a check for $150,000. Still on cloud nine, Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta, the founders of Danny & Ron’s Rescue, said to one another, “We definitely want to give some of this money back to the community!” – and so they have. Danny & Ron’s Rescue is pleased to announced that they have donated $10,000 to Animeals on Wheels, an extension of the Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, Inc.

Giving back to the local community is one of the pillars that Danny & Ron’s Rescue adheres to. In just one of their most recent charitable acts, Danny & Ron’s donated $10,000 to Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, Inc. The money will be used for the Animeals on Wheels program, which provides pet food and veterinary care to home-bound residents with dogs or cats.

Director of Volunteer Services Debbie Emerick, Chief Operating Officer Pam Calzadilla and Executive Director Kim Tudor of Danny & Ron's Rescue with 5-month-old Sadie Mae. (Photo credit: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group)

Director of Volunteer Services Debbie Emerick, Chief Operating Officer Pam Calzadilla and Executive Director Kim Tudor of Danny & Ron’s Rescue
with 5-month-old Sadie Mae. (Photo credit: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group)

“Danny and I are always looking for ways to assist the residents of our community, so we are pleased for this opportunity to partner with Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. We read about the Animeals Program and knew right away that we wanted to help Meals on Wheels to provide home-bound seniors and disabled persons with veterinary care and food for their pets,” Ron said. “These people live alone, and all too often their only visitor is the Meals on Wheels volunteer who delivers a hot meal. So we want to make sure that their beloved pet companions are cared for, as well.”

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches provides freshly prepared meals five days a week to residents in the in West Palm Beach area, the downtown Lake Worth area and surrounding vicinities.  Animeals on Wheels is a natural extension of that service. For many home-bound residents, their pet is their only companion. The Animeals program was initially funded through a $2,500 donation from the Banfield Charitable Foundation.

“When Kim [Tudor] of Danny & Ron’s Rescue called me to talk about the Animeals program, after reading the article in the Wellington Town Crier, I never imagined the blessing that we would receive,” Debbie Emerick, Director of Volunteer Services, said. “When she told us that they were going to donate $10,000 I couldn’t stop screaming, ‘You’re kidding? Oh my gosh! You’re kidding!’ I was in disbelief.”

The donated money will act as a huge help for Animeals on Wheels, assisting with the large veterinary costs associated with not only owning pets, but also maintaining their health as they continue to age.

“Many of our home-bound senior clients who live alone depend on their pets for companionship but providing food and veterinary care while living on a limited income can be a challenge,” said Charlie Ring, executive director of Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. “Through our new Animeals program we’re able to help relieve some of the burden on our clients who love and care about their cats and dogs so deeply.”

For Danny & Ron’s Rescue, the chance to add $150,000 to their support of needy animals this year has been a dream come true, yet they wanted to allow the money to go a little bit further. At their home in Wellington, Florida, Danta and Robertshaw have worked with local veterinarians and organizations to build sustainable relationships and partnerships that assist the elderly and their animals. Seeing Animeals on Wheels taking its first steps in Palm Beach County is the perfect match for Danny & Ron’s Rescue, and they hope to continue building on that relationship.

Danny & Ron’s Rescue saw this as a valuable way to use part of their winnings and improve the lives of both people and their pets in their local community. Currently, the Animeals program is free for clients enrolled in Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, and is expected to grow exponentially as part of the organization’s five-year plan.

For more information on Danny & Ron’s Rescue, please visit http://www.dannyandronsrescue.com/ or stay up to date on their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DannyRonsRescue.

About Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches is a non-profit organization dedicated to nourishing and enriching the lives of the homebound in the local community. An affiliate of Meals on Wheels America, the organization provides nutritious mid-day meals to those unable to prepare their own and living alone. A community-based organization, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches relies on volunteers and the financial support of local residents, corporate partners and foundations, operating without government funding.

Technological Medical Advancements, LLC (TMA) and Bruce R. Coren Announces the Availability of Their Multiple High Power-High Dosage Laser Platforms to the Wellington Equine Community

February 23, 2015 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Technological Medical Advancements, LLC (TMA) and Bruce R. Coren, DVM, MS developer of the first FDA cleared high power therapeutic laser for pain management and wound healing in both human and veterinary medicine announces the availability of their multiple high power-high dosage laser platforms to the Wellington equine community. (Photo Courtesy of Technological Medical Advancements, LLC)

For more information, contact info@diowavelaser.com or 866-883-1651

West Palm Beach, FL, February 15, 2015 – Dr. Bruce R. Coren, Cofounder and CEO of Technological Medical Advancements developer of the Diowave Laser Systems, www.diowavelaser.com, is announcing the availability of their cutting edge technology for treatment for both horse and rider.

TMA and Dr. Coren developers of the first FDA cleared high power therapeutic laser for pain management and wound healing in both human and veterinary medicine is now offering three (3) laser platforms ranging in power output from 15 to 60 watts to the Equine community. The 30 and 60-watt platforms offer the most powerful and advanced laser therapy technology in the world.

Since 2003, Dr. Coren has been a pioneer and pacesetter in the advancement of therapeutic laser therapy technology for neuro-musculoskeletal pain management and wound healing. Today, as high power laser therapy is widely recognized in the United States as a safe, pain-free and non-invasive medical procedure to accelerate the treatment and rehabilitation of various acute and chronic pain conditions, the company’s Class IV- High Power Laser Therapy (HPLT) devices are now used in hundreds of human and veterinary medical facilities throughout the United States, including prestigious medical schools such as Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell Veterinary School of Medicine, the Department of Defense, the VA System, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB and all facets of small and large animal veterinary medicine. HPLT offers the ability to dramatically accelerate the recovery from all equine athlete injuries.

What differentiates the Diowave brand from all other therapy devices is that they offer the most powerful and advanced HPLT technology in the world. With higher power comes the ability to put significantly greater dosages of healing energy into every equine injury today’s owner is confronted with. According to CEO, Dr. Bruce R. Coren, the key to rapid injury recovery is the dosage and frequency of energy the horse receives. Typical therapy lasers and their protocols do not allow for adequate delivery of healing therapeutic energy. Having the availability of the laser on the farm allows for much greater frequency of treatment and ultimately leading to better and faster clinical outcomes for both horse and rider.

The mechanism of action for laser therapy comes from its ability, at the cellular level, to “bio-stimulate” tissue growth and repair. This results in accelerated wound healing as well as a dramatic decrease in pain, inflammation and scar tissue formation. Unlike all other treatment modalities, laser therapy actually “heals” tissue. Recent studies even show that laser stimulates the activation of stem cells, which are an integral part of the healing process. The Diowave brand of laser therapy works better than other lower power lasers because of the ability to penetrate significantly deeper into the body while simultaneously delivering vastly larger amounts of healing energy.

Although the technology has been around for many years it is just starting to find its way around the Wellington equestrian community. The laser can be found at several hunter jumper farms as well as with local veterinarian Haynes Stevens and physiotherapist Janus Marquis just to name a few. Recently veterinarian Omar Mahar introduced a 60-watt laser to a hunter jumper farm and the results were so impressive the farm purchased the laser.

For more information or to schedule an on-site demonstration for both horse and rider contact Dr. Bruce R. Coren, DVM, MS directly at 561-722-1153 or at bcoren@tmainternational.com.

GumBits to Present Happy Horse Harmony Award at Global Dressage Festival

January 13, 2015 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Gumbits introduces the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Photo courtesy of GumBits)

Gumbits introduces the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. (Photo courtesy of GumBits)

Wellington, FL (January 10, 2015) – The maker of GumBits (Gambit Atlanta, Inc.) was chomping at the bit to get the winter show season of Wellington, Florida underway. At the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, GumBits is introducing its inaugural GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award. The GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award will be presented to a deserving rider at every CDI of the twelve-week international show.

As a sponsor of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival held in Wellington from January 8 to March 29, GumBits will award a Happy Horse Harmony Award to select horse and rider pairs who win their classes. In order to receive the award, riders must school and show effectively with a quiet, cheerful disposition. They also must demonstrate harmony between themselves and their horses. The most harmonious and effective winning duos at each of the eight CDIs during the winter show series will receive a free package of the innovative product GumBits, as well as a GumBits/Adequan Global Dressage Festival beautiful wool-blend cooler.

GumBits are small, round treats that promote chewing activity in the horse’s mouth and encourage the salivation process. The unique treats help eliminate teeth grinding that can occur during the intense competition and training of high-performance sport horses. Horses love the sweet taste of the all-natural, FDA-approved ingredients; and the product is safe and palatable. GumBits work by helping horses that grind their teeth while under saddle to chew and relax their jaws. The product is loved by trainers of young horses, as well as those who work with competition horses that undergo the pressures of performance.

Shereen Fuqua, owner of GumBits, is excited to bring her award and support to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. “I have sponsored and supported many USEF Dressage events, competitors, and championships for nearly a decade personally because of my love for the sport,” says Fuqua. “In recent years, watching the Adequan Global Dressage Festival become the world’s largest national and international dressage circuit here in Florida is awe-inspiring. With my budding GumBits business — which I’ve expanded internationally to countries such as Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia — it just made sense for GumBits to partner with the Festival. It’s a great match for all involved!”

GumBits creator Shereen Fuqua, her husband Jeff, and daughter Kat are active in the equestrian world (from left to right: Kat Fuqua, Shereen Fuqua, Jeff Fuqua, and Elise Fraza) (Photo courtesy of Anne Gittins Photography)

GumBits creator Shereen Fuqua, her husband Jeff, and daughter Kat are active in the equestrian world (from left to right: Kat Fuqua, Shereen Fuqua, Jeff Fuqua, and Elise Fraza). (Photo courtesy of Anne Gittins Photography)

“I’m excited about establishing the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award,” Continues Fuqua, who is an avid equestrian along with her family members. Both Shereen and her husband Jeff are Grand Prix dressage riders, and her daughter Kat is competing this year at the Winter Equestrian Festival in the Small Pony Division. “As a dressage rider myself, I clearly understand that the connection and contact is the most important thing with your horse,” Fuqua explains. “This product enhances that greatly. GumBits and the Happy Horse Harmony award does exactly what we want it to do — creates more harmony as GumBits encourages chewing activity and triggers salivation for better acceptance of the bit. I’ve had so many international Grand Prix competitors tell us what a difference it is making for them with their horses. These are exciting times to share GumBits with all and continue to support equine sports globally.”

Many top dressage riders and trainers use GumBits for their horses; including Olympic athletes Steffen Peters from the United States and David Marcus from Canada, U.S. Pan American Team Gold medalist Susie Dutta, Australian Nicholas Fyffe (who was long-listed for the Olympic Games), Jeremy Steinberg (the 2010 USEF Dressage Youth Coach), and Britta Anna Pedersen (a member of the Dressage New Zealand Small Tour Squad and ESNZ High Performance Accelerator Squad). With the new GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award, CDI winners at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival will have the chance to join these professionals in using GumBits to promote happy horses.

Shereen Fuqua of Atlanta, Georgia, founded Gambit Atlanta, Inc., in 2005, and through long-term relationships with prominent FEI Judges and international competitors, along with Shereen Fuqua’s national sponsorships with USEF and Olympic trainers Steffen Peters and Courtney King-Dye, GumBits were branded and took off. Fuqua is branching out into other disciplines with her unique product and has her sights set on increasing international distribution. The product is sold solely through retailers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

To learn more about GumBits and to find a list of retailers in your area, visit www.gumbits.com.

The 2014 Palm Beach Series Begins This Saturday at the Ridge at Wellington

December 08, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'


Grand Champions Polo Club’s Melissa Ganzi Elected To USPA Board Of Governors

August 27, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

WELLINGTON, FL-August 24, 2013—Melissa Potamkin Ganzi of Wellington has been elected to the Board of Governors for the United States Polo Association, the sport’s governing body.

Ganzi, owner of Grand Champions Polo Club, will begin her two-year term at the October 2-5 Fall Meetings at the Houstonian Hotel in Houston, Tex.

Ganzi is one of twelve new Governors-at-Large elected by USPA members.

Others elected to serve are Avery Chapman, an avid player at Grand Champions; Sunny Hale, top-ranked U.S. women’s player and host of the WCT Tournament at Grand Champions; former 10-goaler and Hall of Famer Memo Gracida; Valiente player-sponsor Bob Jornayvaz; former polo great Dale Smicklas, now WCT Commissioner; Steve Armour, Chrys Beal, Richard Caleel, Stevie Orthwein Jr., Russ Sheldon and Charles Smith.

USPA chairman Chuck Weaver called the newly-elected officers “a solid team that will move our association forward.”

Melissa Ganzi

Melissa Ganzi

Ganzi has played an active role in promoting polo at all levels and is one of the sport’s movers-and-shakers. She has been around horses her entire life and got involved in polo on and off the playing field more than a decade ago.

One of the nation’s top woman polo players, she plays professionally with and against men and is team captain of Piaget, based at Grand Champions. She and her husband, Marc, also a top amateur player, own and maintain the club year-round. She breeds and trains polo ponies at her Santa Rita Farm in Ocala, Fla.

Ganzi is all about diversity in polo. Her vision is to promote the sport of polo among the masses including kids and juniors, women and gay polo players. She would like to see polo embraced by the general public and mainstream sports followers and bring new people to the sport.

Ganzi has staged polo events including junior tournaments, International Gay Polo League Tournament, International Tournament, Women’s Championship Tournament, Polo School at Grand Champions and spring and fall seasons, which has nurtured several top rising juniors and pros at Grand Champions.

Ganzi is president and fund raiser for the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame Board of Directors and secretary-treasurer of the Polo Training Foundation.

Ganzi has launched an educational project, PET (Polo Education Tour) where she travels to various libraries in South Florida educating adults and children about polo with a full display of polo equipment while talking about the game.

Ganzi has won the Ylvisaker Cup and Butler Handicap Cup, Hall of Fame Cup, Bill Triller 20-Goal Tournament, Western Badge and Trophy 20-Goal, Mayors Cup, Miami Beach Polo World Cup, Aspen Snow Polo Championship, North America Cup, U.S. Open Women’s Tournament and played with Prince Charles, Prince Phillip and Prince Harry.

Ganzi has made history several times in the sport. She was the first woman ever to win the Monty Waterbury Cup in 2001, just one year after she started playing the game full-time. She is one of only a few women in the world to compete in the C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open.

Earlier this year, Ganzi was honored during the Portrait Of A Woman Luncheon, part of Women’s History Month, for her significant long term contributions to individuals and various organizations and the positive impact she has had on the community, not only in polo, but charity work and organizations that specialize in helping the disabled. Grand Champions Polo Club has been a long-time employer of disabled workers.

The Ganzi family and support staff are currently preparing for the upcoming sixth fall season at Grand Champions.

The season will feature nine tournaments including two 20-goal tournaments in November. All tournaments are USPA-sanctioned and have grown in stature since their start in the mid-1990s.


Sept. 27-29,Tackeria Invitational, Palm City Polo Club, Boca Raton
Oct. 4-6, USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 13-15, USPA Kay Colee Memorial
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 30-Nov. 9, USPA North America Cup
Nov. 1-3, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 8-10, Palm Restaurant Invitational
Nov. 13-24,The National 20-Goal Championship


WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Piaget. Everyone is welcome to watch high and medium goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.

Custom Saddlery Names Heidi Degele Most Valuable Rider for Championing Three Horses at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III

May 03, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL (May 1, 2013) – USDF gold, silver and bronze medalist Heidi Degele was presented with the Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award during the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III for competing three different horses and coaching two of her students into the ribbons. Wrapping up the Florida winter season, Degele was very pleased with her success. She rode Don Fredo HD (Don Federico x Pik Bube) owned by Greystone Equestrian, LLC, in the FEI 6-Year-Old Test to a score of 73.4% in what she described as an “almost flawless” performance.


“I’m super proud of this young horse,” she said about Don Fredo, “He really didn’t put a foot wrong!” Because of Degele’s excellent training, Don Fredo is currently ranked 3rd in the nation in the 6-year-old division. She said that after this win she is now more excited than ever to show him at the Markel/USEF National and Developing Championships held August 21-25 in Wayne, IL. Degele also showed Lakota, an 8-year-old American Warmblood owned by Mesa Farms, LLC, and qualified him for regionals with a score of 67.105% in the FEI Prix St Georges class. And finally, Degele also rode the gorgeous grey Irish Draught stallion, Lionwood Kinsale’s Lad to an impressive 65.395% in Intermediare 1.


Heidi Degele was awarded the Custom MVR award at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III. (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Heidi Degele was awarded the Custom MVR award at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III. (Photo courtesy of JRPR)


In addition to her own success, two of Degele’s clients also rode to impress at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III. Chloe Hatch hit her personal best riding her horse, Slogan and received her highest score ever in the Third Level, Test One with a 64%. Also, Cara Broderick, who, by the way, flies her horse, Duval, over from England to train with Degele, scored a 60% in Third Level, Test Three. Degele explained how important it is to both her and her clients to do well at these shows. “This is our life and this is our community,” she described. “We are all about dressage. I love the sport, and my clients are dedicated to this area and supporting the shows.” Degele also adds that they all ride their best in Custom Saddles, including herself. “Every saddle in my barn, right now, is a Custom Saddle,” she smiled. “I absolutely love them! I think they’re great for the horses’ back and they’re also great for the rider. I’ve had all my clients buy these new saddles.”


Custom Saddlery MVR awards are designed to recognize a rider or trainer who brings something extra to the competition arena, be it outstanding scores, successful clients, a winning attitude, or an interesting backstory. Custom has recognized a number of MVRs as various shows on the Florida dressage circuit, and awarded the MVR at the 2013 Nations Cup CDI with a new Custom saddle. Custom Saddlery is an active supporter of the sport of dressage, and was named the official saddle of the 2013 Intercollegiate Dressage Association. Custom is also endorsed by a host of international riders, including Olympians Steffen Peters and Tina Konyot.


For more information on Custom, visit their website at www.mysaddle.com