Partners for Pink Share Hope with the Challenge of the Americas

Challenge of the Americas (COTA) Partners for Pink Judy Sloan of Roseview Farms, Cece Stewart of Oak Meadows Farm, the Wellington Regional Medical Center, and Sarah and Katie Hoog of CUatX Tack equestrian boutique have first-hand knowledge of the strength and power of breast cancer survivors.

“I’ve had family that’s been hit with breast cancer, including my sister-in-law,” Sloan said. This is Sloan’s second year to support COTA with a Partners for Pink sponsorship. “It’s a way for my husband, David, and I to give back through a sport that we love to a cause that we feel passionate about. It’s a cool format.”

COTA raises funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through its partner, Play for P.I.N.K., while providing a unique entertainment experience in the winter horse capital of the world, Wellington, Florida. Teams of six Grand Prix dressage riders compete in freestyle quadrilles set to music in the Team Challenge. This year, five teams will be competing for bragging rights at the March 9 event to be held in at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds.

“The Challenge of America’s is an amazing experience,” Stewart said. “It is just wonderful to see the equestrian community come together in support of a great cause. Like many, I have friends and a sister who have suffered from breast cancer and are breast cancer survivors. Their brave fight gives us all inspiration to fight this disease.”

The medical staff at Wellington Regional Medical Center, which has a wide array of breast care services, also joined as Partners for Pink to help the cause.

“We have a very active medical staff of almost 1,000 providers and we try to work with the hospital to support projects, especially ones like this that are unique to our area,” said Dr. Richard Hays, the chief medical officer at Wellington Regional. “We have such a strong connection with the equestrian community.”

Sarah Hoog said she attended the first Challenge of the Americas many years ago. This year, the event welcomes its first team from abroad, Team Holland, which will compete via video. This also marks the first year that COTA will be live streamed at tv.coth.com.

“Breast cancer affects everybody,” Hoog said. “We all know someone who has been affected by it, whether it’s a family member, a friend or a friend-of-a-friend. It’s really scary, especially being a woman. It’s nice to get involved and it’s nice to give back.”

Both Sloan and Stewart said they love seeing the community come together for the cause.

“It’s fun to watch the teams because there is a healthy, competitive energy that’s infused into the event but it’s all in the spirit of everyone having a very good time while banding together for a great cause,” Sloan said. “It’s such a positive evening. They are having a great time and they’re giving back.”

Stewart said becoming a Partner for Pink in support of the Challenge of the Americas is an amazing opportunity to be part of an exciting evening in support of finding a cure for breast cancer.

“It is always a lot of fun and just shows how committed the equestrian community is to fighting this disease,” she said. “I am proud to part of this event.”

Homer Hits It Out of the Park with Support of Challenge of the Americas

Homer is thrilled to support the Challenge of the Americas (COTA) as a Partner for Pink, but his mom won’t let him go to the Friday, March 9 event to sit ringside at the Global Dressage Festival showgrounds. She’s afraid that his fondness for eating the contents of all the sugar packets may make him an unsuitable dining companion at the Challenge Gala.

That’s because Homer is a horse. A horse with his own website and Facebook page. 

When Homer, whose full name is Larks Home Run, saw the gorgeous Grand Prix dressage horses trailering into Team Winged Foot’s freestyle quadrille practices from his stall at Ruth Hogan Poulsen’s Bespoke Farm, he wanted to get in on the fun. He asked him mom, Elizabeth “Beth” Stauber-Johnson, if he could practice too but she suggested that, instead, he become a Partner for Pink.

He was excited since one of the perks of being a Partner for Pink is two tickets to the Challenge Gala and Homer was ready to don his best pink polo wraps, add some pink glitter to his mane and tail, and enjoy the competition from a ringside seat at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds. Beth put the kibosh on that.

“My mom said I can’t go to the event and I’m bummed,” Homer said. “But, the other guys in the barn and I have a plan to break out of our stalls and watch the livestream of the event on the Chronicle TV channel, tv.coth.com, in Ruth’s office. Shhhhh! Don’t let on you know.”

Homer said that Beth was pleased to be a part of the event since it raises funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through their partner Play for P.I.N.K.

“My mom’s own mother died from breast cancer and she’s happy to help me support the cause,” Homer said.

Beth said she likes how easy it is to become a part of the Challenge of the Americas through Partners for Pink and she’s excited to help organize the large group coming from Bespoke Farm to cheer on Team Winged Foot.

Homer and his barn buddies will also be rooting for the team from the office at Bespoke but they are still working out how to vote for their favorite team via the COTA voting app, Spectator Judging. Homer said it’s hard to vote without opposable thumbs but he and his friends have been discussing their options after night check.

“I am so proud to be a Partner for Pink,” said Homer. “We are all looking forward to watching it and cheering on Team Winged Foot.”

Back on Track Backs the Challenge of the Americas

Long-time Challenge of the Americas (COTA) sponsor Bo Lofvander of Back on Track® believes in paying it forward.

Acutely aware of what breast cancer can do to a family after losing his sister-in-law to the disease at the age of 36, Lofvander believes in COTA’s mission to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K.

“This can happen to anybody,” he said. “Like many of us, I had a family member who had it; it started with breast cancer and it spread.”

The opportunity to help the cause by sponsoring a competition team and donating Back on Track® saddle pads to all the riders involved in the March 9 event is what Lofvander calls a small donation in the fight against breast cancer.

Tigger Montague rolls up her sleeves to win again at Team Back on Track practice.

Team Back on Track choreographer Cynthia “Tigger” Montague also lost someone important to cancer – one of her best friends.

“She’s in my mind when I’m working on choreography and I think, ‘What would Cindy think of this?’,” she said. Montague is also a COTA sponsor through BioStar, her holistic, whole food dog and horse supplement company, which also takes philanthropy seriously. “I really believe in giving back. To me, the Challenge is one of the most important events in the equestrian calendar.

“It is such a perfect harmony of companies,” she continued. “I represent BioStar, a holistic, whole food company, and Back on Track is a holistic therapy company. What a great synergy when the choreographer works with a team that represents the best therapeutic horse, dog and people products in the industry.”

Team Back on Track perfecting their pattern.

Montague’s choreography for the team, along with her choice of music, tells a story. Team members Allison Kavey, Jim Koford. Nicole Levy, Sallie Spenard, Betsy Van Dyke and Noel Williams have been practicing the pattern to the powerful music Montague has chosen.

“The choreography interprets the music,” she said. “It is not something I just thought up. It came from listening to the music.”

In 2016, Team Back on Track was victorious in the Challenge of the Americas with Montague at the helm and Lofvander was there to watch. Unfortunately, he will be unable to attend the 2018 event and hopes the team repeats their success. More importantly, he hopes that spectators and participants donate to help cure breast cancer.

“It’s a good feeling to give,” he said. “If you are lucky enough to have a little bit of success, you can pay it forward.”

Team member Noel Williams with Tigger Montague.

There are a variety of ways to get involved to help end breast cancer. You can purchase VIP tickets at challengeoftheamericas.com and General Admission tickets for $20 at the door for the Friday, March 9 event to be held at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington, Florida.

Raffle tickets are available at the event and, for $10/ticket or $40/5 tickets, you may have a chance to win valuable prizes including a dressage saddle, a bridle, a girth, jewelry or an afternoon sailing on a 30-ft. sloop rigged sailboat on beautiful Biscayne Bay for you and three of your friends.

You can also watch the Challenge via livestream on Chronicle TV, at tv.coth.com. Vote for your favorite team and donate to our beneficiary, Play for P.I.N.K., via our voting app, Spectator Judging.

Jim Koford practicing in his costume for Friday night’s Challenge of the Americas.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén Joins Line-Up for Challenge of the Americas

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén added her name to the star-studded list of Grand Prix riders who have given their time and talent to raise funds to help cure breast cancer in the 2018 Challenge of the Americas.

The six-time Olympic Games, eight-time European Championships, and six-time World Cup Finals athlete will help kick-off the event with a sensational freestyle aboard Paridon Magi, Lövsta Stuteri’s 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Don Primero-Napoli, Napoleon 625).

“I think what they are doing for breast cancer research is such a great adventure,” she said of the charity that raises funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through their partner, Play for P.I.N.K. “I think it is really important and I love doing something to participate.”

Tinne and Paridon Magi are wowing the crowds and the judges at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) series this show season. The pair earned an 81.150 percent for the blue ribbon win in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the AGDF CDIW in January and they also claimed the top prize in the Grand Prix at that show. Since then, they have posted more outstanding scores in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle during the 2018 AGDF.

The pair’s COTA performance will take place at the same venue as her ribbon-winning competitions, the International Arena at the Global Dressage Festival on Friday, March 9 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Williams Family Helps Friends Think Pink

Challenge of the Americas (COTA) Partners for Pink Judy Sloan of Roseview Farms, Cece Stewart of Oak Meadows Farm, the Wellington Regional Medical Center, and Sarah and Katie Hoog of CUatX Tack equestrian boutique have first-hand knowledge of the strength and power of breast cancer survivors.

“I’ve had family that’s been hit with breast cancer, including my sister-in-law,” Sloan said. This is Sloan’s second year to support COTA with a Partners for Pink sponsorship. “It’s a way for my husband, David, and I to give back through a sport that we love to a cause that we feel passionate about. It’s a cool format.”

COTA raises funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through its partner, Play for P.I.N.K., while providing a unique entertainment experience in the winter horse capital of the world, Wellington, Florida. Teams of six Grand Prix dressage riders compete in freestyle quadrilles set to music in the Team Challenge. This year, five teams will be competing for bragging rights at the March 9 event to be held in at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds.

“The Challenge of America’s is an amazing experience,” Stewart said. “It is just wonderful to see the equestrian community come together in support of a great cause. Like many, I have friends and a sister who have suffered from breast cancer and are breast cancer survivors. Their brave fight gives us all inspiration to fight this disease.”

The medical staff at Wellington Regional Medical Center, which has a wide array of breast care services, also joined as Partners for Pink to help the cause.

“We have a very active medical staff of almost 1,000 providers and we try to work with the hospital to support projects, especially ones like this that are unique to our area,” said Dr. Richard Hays, the chief medical officer at Wellington Regional. “We have such a strong connection with the equestrian community.”

Sarah Hoog said she attended the first Challenge of the Americas many years ago. This year, the event welcomes its first team from abroad, Team Holland, which will compete via video. This also marks the first year that COTA will be live streamed at tv.coth.com.

“Breast cancer affects everybody,” Hoog said. “We all know someone who has been affected by it, whether it’s a family member, a friend or a friend-of-a-friend. It’s really scary, especially being a woman. It’s nice to get involved and it’s nice to give back.”

Both Sloan and Stewart said they love seeing the community come together for the cause.

“It’s fun to watch the teams because there is a healthy, competitive energy that’s infused into the event but it’s all in the spirit of everyone having a very good time while banding together for a great cause,” Sloan said. “It’s such a positive evening. They are having a great time and they’re giving back.”

Stewart said becoming a Partner for Pink in support of the Challenge of the Americas is an amazing opportunity to be part of an exciting evening in support of finding a cure for breast cancer.

“It is always a lot of fun and just shows how committed the equestrian community is to fighting this disease,” she said. “I am proud to part of this event.”

Team Winged Foot Poised to Fly High for the 2018 Challenge of the Americas

Ruth Hogan Poulsen directs riders Ilse Schwarz and Bridget Hay like a conductor directing a symphony during a Team Winged Foot practice.

Team Winged Foot, formerly known as Team International in The Challenge of the Americas (COTA), has a new name thanks to its generous sponsor, but it remains populated by Grand Prix dressage riders from around the globe.

The Challenge of the Americas features five teams of top riders competing in Grand Prix quadrilles set to music, all to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K. The 2018 COTA will be held Friday, March 9 in the International Arena at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington, Florida.

Team members include Marco Bernal, who hails from Colombia, Raúl Corchuelo, also from Colombia, Susanne Hamilton, a U.S. citizen originally from Germany, Bridget Hay from the United States, Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, who grew up in Kenya and rides for the Dominican Republic, and Ilsa Schwarz from Australia.

Raúl Corchuelo and Marco Bernal practicing the pattern.

Sponsored by Kathleen and John Dunagan of Winged Foot Enterprises, the team is under the direction of coach, choreographer and musical freestyle creator Ruth Hogan Poulsen.

“I am so pleased to have Kathleen and John Dunagan and their Winged Foot Enterprises sponsoring our very international team,” Hogan Poulsen said. “The time and support that everyone has shown for such an important cause proves that people from all walks of life and countries can work together to accomplish great things.”

The Dunagans didn’t hesitate when asked to sponsor the team.

“The combination of supporting such a magnificent event that also benefits a cause about which we are passionate made the decision for us,” Kathleen Dunagan said.

The weekly practices by the dedicated team of Grand prix dressage riders results in an outcome like this blast from the past at a previous Challenge of the Americas. Photo by Meg McGuire.

The couple met Hogan Poulsen in 2010, the same year they attended their first COTA performance when it was held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

“It was such a fun event, unique in its delivery and very beautiful,” Dunagan said. “With the riders and organizers who worked tirelessly and devoted so much time and effort to creating this living work of art, you couldn’t help but feel the passion and good will that filled the air. It made for a magical evening.”

Susanne Hamilton will ride Lord Locksley, Margaret Stevens’ Trakehner stallion, at the 2018 Challenge of the Americas.

The 2018 Challenge will mark its first year at the Global Dressage Festival facility at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington. The riders are thrilled to compete in the venue known for world-class dressage throughout the world. Other firsts include a team from Holland competing via video and live feed of the competition, on Chronicle TV.

VIP tickets include the Challenge Gala with ringside seats for the opening ceremonies, exhibitions, and the quadrille challenge with hors d’oeuvres and drinks followed by the Challenge Gala featuring dinner and dancing. General admission tickets for the performance are $20 at the door. To purchase VIP tickets, visit www.challengeoftheamericas.com.

“It is a great honor to be a small part of this year’s Challenge of the Americas,” Dunagan said. “Fortunately, there are now many sporting events that help in raising needed money for Breast Cancer Research and awareness but, to us, there are none as unique to the exquisite art of dressage that present the sport so poetically as this great COTA evening. In combining the passion of riding with a cause so worthy, we hope this event truly goes global!”

Team Winged Foot members Susanne Hamilton, Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, Bridget Hay, Ilsa Schwarz, Marco Bernal, Coach Ruth Hogan Poulsen, and Raúl Corchuelo. Photo by Sue Weakley

Team Purina Practicing for the 2018 Challenge of the Americas

Team Purina (left to right standing) Terry Ciotti Gallo, Shiela Conde, Bill Warren (eft to right astride) Pamela Goodrich, Kimberly Herslow, Charlotte Bredahl, George Williams, Betsy Steiner, Kasey Perry-Glass, Team Purina’s coach Bill Warren and freestyle choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo. Photo by Sue Weakley

Team Purina’s dressage riders, choreographer and coach are keen on capturing the win for the March 9 return of the Challenge of the Americas (COTA). Back after a year’s hiatus, the 2018 COTA will feature five teams of top dressage riders competing in Grand Prix freestyle quadrilles set to music, all to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through their partner Play for P.I.N.K.

Team Purina, sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition in conjunction with Red Barn Feed and Supply, is led by choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo and coach Bill Warren. The riders practice their pattern at Betsy Juliano’s Havensafe Farm in Wellington, Florida. Team members Charlotte Bredahl, Pamela Goodrich, Kimberly Herslow, Kasey Perry-Glass, Betsy Steiner and George Williams are laser-focused on claiming bragging rights by winning the most popular charity event of the 2018 South Florida show season.

This year’s Challenge will be held at the Global Dressage Festival’s International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington.

Freestyle choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo, owner of Klassic Kur LLC, has been designing patterns and crafting the music for COTA since its inception. She has created freestyles for some of the biggest names in dressage including Steffen Peters, Laura Graves, Debbie McDonald, Adrienne Lyle, Guenter Seidel, Charlotte Bredahl and George Williams.

Team Purina’s coach Bill Warren and freestyle choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo. Photo by Sue Weakley

“I have been with this fundraiser since it started in 2002,” she said. “It was a single pas de trois then, but every year it gets better and better because of the great leadership and imagination of founder Mary Ross. This year will be no exception. It is an honor for me to be part of the event, to work with all the volunteers – especially the riders who trailer in every week for practice – and to acknowledge our sponsor Purina, who has supported us for years.”

Charlotte Bredahl, Kimberly Herslow, Pamela Goodrich, George Williams and Betsy Steiner work on their spacing. Photo by Sue Weakley

“All the horseman believe in Mary’s efforts to help breast cancer research,” said Shiela Conde, the South Florida Equine Specialist for Purina Animal Nutrition. “We really like being involved. Everyone is invested in the quality and commitment to the cause as well as the passion that goes into it and they all come together as a team.”

She said the pre-party was created to thank the riders, support teams and horses for their dedication of time and talent. Purina donates food and beverages in a comfortable place to gather before the event as well as goodies for the horses and riders.

“The goal was to make all the horsemen and their horses feel appreciated,” she said. “The energy before the competition is amazing and the Challenge of the Americas is an event that we are truly excited and happy to sponsor.”

Kasey Perry-Glass, Betsy Steiner and Kimberly Herslow focus on instructions. Photo by Sue Weakley

The Challenge of the Americas Goes Global in 2018​

The Challenge of the Americas (COTA) is back after a year’s hiatus and we’re busting down borders! Not only is COTA returning to help find a cure for breast cancer, it’s so big, it’s going global.

COTA’s signature six-rider Grand Prix Quadrille Team Challenge will be held live on March 9 at the world-renowned Global Dressage Festival (GDF) show grounds in Wellington, Florida, and for the first time, it’s also being live-streamed via the Chronicle TV. To add more excitement, the competition will break down borders when one of the teams competes via video from Holland.

Six Dutch Grand Prix riders are thrilled to join in the first Challenge of the Americas international event to help find an end to breast cancer. Their freestyle will be prerecorded and they’ll join Wellington-based Team Back on Track, Team Canada, Team Purina, and Team Winged Foot via the big screen in the GDF International Arena.

Another global touch will showcase the beauty and elegance of the PRE horse as riders from Hampton Green Farm kick off the evening with a musical freestyle quadrille.

“It’s time we went global,” said COTA founder Mary Ross. “Breast cancer knows no boundaries and to help end breast cancer, we need to raise more donations ear-marked for breast cancer research. The best way for us to do this is to reach out to equestrians in other locations for their support.”

Funds from ticket sales, sponsorships and donations will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation through their partner Play for P.I.N.K The mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Challenge of the Americas and indebted to everyone involved in wanting to see the end of breast cancer,” said Stephanie Hamburger, Executive Director of Play for P.I.N.K., a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). “The Challenge of the Americas’ support is critical to the research-funding capability of BCRF. The money raised will impact the lives of countless individuals and families affected by the disease.”

Join us Friday, March 9 to see the Challenge of the Americas at the Global Dressage Festival showgrounds and help us put an end to breast cancer.