Team Winged Foot’s Jane-of-All-Trades Ruth Hogan-Poulsen

Team Winged Foot’s coach, choreographer and musical whiz Ruth Hogan-Poulsen is also the team’s costumer and head arena dragger (and pooper scooper) before practices at her Bespoke Farm in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida. She’s been a part of the Challenge of the Americas for many years and her creative choreography has been a staple of the Grand Prix Quadrille Challenge.

Ruth Hogan-Poulsen

Ruth also creates freestyles for riders and their horses through her business, Freestyles from A to C. When asked how she switches her thinking from designing a pattern for six different horse-and-rider combinations to an individual horse-and-rider duo, Ruth said whether it’s for one or six riders, she is still creating for a team.

“When I do a freestyle for just one horse and rider, it’s their team,” she explained. “When I do a quadrille, I have to consider every horse and every rider: capabilities, horse sizes, theme, the look for the judges, and the look for the spectators, all of which play a big role in how the actual choreography and music is perceived. Even though we are being judged in the [Challenge of the Americas] quadrille, we’re also entertainment for the fabulous spectators who come to support Play for P.I.N.K. So, I always have the whole stadium in mind, not just the judges at C.”

Throughout her years creating her team’s performance and helping make COTA the spectacular event it is today, Ruth has seen her share of bloopers during the execution of the Grand Prix quadrille.

“It certainly is a good idea when you’re finishing your big finale that all six riders end up facing the judge,” she laughed. “Sometimes that doesn’t happen!”

Aside from the laughs, there’s a serious side to her involvement with the Challenge. “I believe it’s one of the best causes out there,” she said.

Suzie Herrera

Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Ruth was in college and most of her female relatives as well as many of her friends and colleagues have had breast cancer. The reality hit close to home again this 2024 South Florida show season when one of her working students was diagnosed.

“I have been short-staffed this winter because my new working student, Suzie Herrera, found out the week before we were supposed to come that she has breast cancer,” Ruth shared.  “She had to stay in New York because of all the new research and new updates and specific medications. She has a great prognosis.”

Research is key and COTA has raised more $3.3 million to assist in finding a cure for breast cancer through our beneficiary, Play for P.I.N.K. (PFP), a partner of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge), is a 501(c)(3) grassroots organization dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research through sporting and lifestyle events. To date, Play for P.I.N.K. has raised more than $80 million for lifesaving research through BCRF. “I love Play for P.I.N.K. because I think the research is fabulous,” Ruth said. “It’s made such a difference for women, men and their families.”