Not Even A Rainy-Day Delay Could Put The Whoa For The Equesters Galloping Ahead From Their “Field Of Dreams” Gala

One thing is for sure. Those horse-loving Equest folks are flexible. When radar showed threatening weather storming into North Texas for Saturday, April 29th’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park, cool minds ruled, coordinated with vendors, sponsors, guests and the ponies and moved the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the next day. Here’s a report from the “field of dreams:”

Kelly Howard, Blair Dwyer and Elizabeth Schwartz*

Ray Johnston*

The Equest Gala, themed “A Field of Dreams,” was truly an inspirational evening of hope, determination and joy. With Saturday’s forecast of severe storms, a difficult decision was made to reschedule the gala to Sunday, and the Equest team, Gala committee, and event planner Katy Sky Group produced the unthinkable: a beautiful fundraising gala for 450 guests complete with all the bells and whistles. The 36th annual Equest Gala was another example of Equest’s can-do spirit.

Jocelyn White and Jody Dean*

Finely dressed in their equestrian best, guests perused the magnificently decorated Equest barns and arena at Texas Horse Park. Ray Johnston performed an acoustic set during the reception – providing the perfect soundtrack to the blue skies and cool temperature. Sipping on signature “Field of Dreams” margaritas and sampling the Bourbon and Biscuits Bar, guests cozied up with the lipstick-wearing Equest Mini-Ambassadors Cisco and Dare at the Mini Kissing Booth. Just as festive was the Tequila with Taco station where delighted guests enjoyed Milagro tequila and a photo with Equest’s famous donkey, Taco.  One of the best parts of the night was seeing the proud smiles worn by the Equest riders during Horse and Rider demonstrations.

Andy Steingasser*

Guests enjoyed a family-style southern gourmet dinner from Farm to Market Catering, while Emcees Jocelyn White of Designing Texas and Jody Dean of KLUV 98.7 FM introduced Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, and Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder, among others.

Kathy Fielder, Bella Fielder and Jeromy Fielder*

Cary Pierce*

A compelling video touched charitable hearts before the start of the live auction. Over $50,000 was raised during the fund-a-mission and five Equest therapy horses were sponsored by generous donors. Other guests bid on stellar live auction items including a four-night vacation in Breckenridge, a Napa Valley Getaway, a live painting by Dace Lucia Kidd, and a Belize Dream at the Las Terrazas Resort. Guests also had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind silent auction items, and purchase a key for $100 that the lucky winner could use to unlock a $2,500 Neiman Marcus gift card.

An equestrian chic gala – especially one located in a barn – would not be considered a success without two-stepping. Dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Studio opened the dance floor, quickly followed by guests’ cowboy boots shuffling to the musical lead of Cary Pierce, and surprise musical guests Crystal Yates and Jon Christopher Davis.

Phyllis Comu and Susan Schwartz*

Darin and Margot Ruebel*

Additional attendees included: Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz, Bill and Lezlie Noble, Monique and Reed Williams, Margot and Darin Ruebel, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Phyllis Glazer, Bridget and Tom Black, Jessica and Michael Barnett, Ricky Callahan and Jennie Healy, Connie Sigel, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Patrick and Kristy Sands, Carolyn and Romy Anderson, and Alanna Smith of WFAA Good Morning Texas, among others.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

JUST IN: Equest Gala Moved To Sunday

Equest Gala change of plans*

With all the threats of Saturday night’s stormy weather ramping up, area organizers are kicking in back-up plans. Word just arrived that the Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park has been postponed 24 hours to Sunday. Here is the official word from the horse’s mouth:

Due to weather beyond our control, we have made the decision to postpone the Equest 2017 Field of Dreams Gala to Sunday, April 30. The new Gala start time is 5 p.m. with shuttles running from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and returning at 7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The reason is simple — safety for two- and four-legged critters. Very good move on Equest Gala Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder‘s part.

Just think. If you weren’t able to attend the original Saturday night, you’re in luck to see the horses Sunday and can make it happen by checking in here. On the other hand, if you can’t make it Sunday night, why not show your Equest support and consider your ticket purchase as a donation and let Amanda Fastle know, so they can adjust plans. However, if the household budget is tight and you really need that money, then check with Christine Volkmer about a refund.

* Graphic courtesy of Equest


Under Blue Skies Equest Gala Patron Party Ponied Up For Guests At Ashley Tatum’s And Newt Walker’s Terrace Overlooking Exall Lake

Just blocks away from the AWARE Patron party, Ashley Tatum and Newt Walker took full advantage of the clear skies following the early morning storms on Wednesday, March 29.

Their fabulous terrace overlooking Exall Lake had loads of Equest supporters including two miniature equine ambassadors — Cisco and Dare — that accommodated one and all for photos and pats on the head.

Honorary Co-Chairman Allan McBee’s beard that he grew for being part of the Dallas Opera’s “Moby Dick” cast was still in full flourish. However, Honorary Co-Chair/Allan’s wife Lynn McBee was counting the days for the beard to be gone.

Allan McBee

Kristina and Phil Whitcomb

Upon hearing the differences of opinion on the beard in the McBee household, Kristina Whitcomb said that she took Lynn’s side about her son’s beard, “but his wife loves it.”

Lester Keliher

Gretchen Darby and Kathy Fielder

On the terrace to hear about the Equest fundraiser — Field of Dreams — were Margaret and Lester Keliher, Equest Gala Co-Chair Kathy Fielder, Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Gretchen Darby, Phil Whitcomb and Di Johnston with daughter Claire Johnston.

Claire Johnston and Di Johnston

Lili Kelloggg

Tickets for the Saturday, April 29th gala at Texas Horse Park are going fast.

JUST IN: 2017 Equest Gala Plans Announced For Field Of Dreams With Kathy And Jeromy Fielder As Co-Chairs

From the left: (back row) Alanna Sarabie, Andrea Reich, Gretchen Darby, Dare, Keetha Hanlin, Regina Bruce, Melissa Vullo Bell and Renee Farinella; (front row) Dianna Pietra, Deve Sandord, Kathy Fielder and Britt Harless*

Despite last night’s dreary, wet weather, the horse-loving Equest crowd headed over to Samuel Lynne Galleries. The draw was not a new exhibition on horses. Rather it was the kick-off reception for the 2017 Equest Gala. Upstaging the art on the walls were the Equest mini-ambassadors, Cisco and Dare. It was the pair’s first visit to the gallery and vice versa.

Lili Kellogg, Jocelyn White, Lynn McBee and Susan Schwartz*

On hand to hear the news were Samuel Lynne

Co-Founder/artist JD Miller and his artist wife Lea Fisher Miller, Dan Pritchett, Deve Sanford, Mimi Noland, Nicole Barrett, Doug Murray, Georgette Doukas, Alanna Sarabie, Andrea Reich, Gretchen Darby, Keetha Hanlin, Regina Bruce, Melissa Vullo Bell, Renee Farinella, Dianna Pietra, Britt Harless, Debbie Murray, Regina Bruce, Heather “Miss Texas Teen” King, past Equest Chairman of the Board/Gala Chair Jocelyn White, Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz and Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser.

Laura and Jason Cope*

JD Miller*

Equest CEO Lili Kellogg revealed the news of the night. This year’s theme will be “Field of Dreams” with Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder and Honorary Co-Chairs Lynn and Allan McBee.

It will take place on Saturday, April 29, at Texas Horse Park with “gourmet southern cuisine, craft cocktails, live music and much-desired live and silent auction items.”    

There will be a demonstration of how Equest is making such a difference in peoples’ lives, head patting with Texas Horse Park residents and dancing to Texas Country Music. What were you expecting — minuets?

While sponsorships start at $5,000, Lili announced that “the first Gala sponsor to contribute a minimum of $15,000 or more” would receive an original horse photo donated by photographer Laura Cope.

For smart folks who reach the VIP status, the horse-ing around will start at 6:30, while the rest of the herd will hit the doors at 7. Since there is no on-site parking, shuttles will be available.

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano

Equest Mini-Ambassadors And Guests Headed To “The Walls” To Kick Off Plans For 35th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser

All those horseshoes at Equest are bringing luck to their fundraising efforts. On Wednesday, March 16, Equest Gala Co-Chairs Helena and Doug Wall really lucked out with the weather before the rains and chills arrived in the following days. The reason was their hosting the kick-off party for the 35th anniversary of the Equest fundraiser at their home. Here’s a report from the field:

Doug Wall and Lezlie and Bill Noble*

Doug Wall and Lezlie and Bill Noble*

“Two feet move our body. Four feet move our soul,” quoted William Noble. The quote summed the passion and support at the kick-off event for the Equest 35th Anniversary as it celebrates over 30 years of life-changing journeys that cherished Equest therapy horses have provided for children, adults and veterans to overcome unique challenges.

Lili Kellogg*

Lili Kellogg*

Hosted at the gorgeous home of Chairs Helena and Doug Wall, approximately 100 guests were greeted by three-feet-tall four-legged friends and mini ambassadors Cisco and Dare. Guests shopped for the upcoming gala at the Ocean Point Tack Shop pop-up featuring the equestrian chic collection of Kingsland Equestrian Apparel. Delectable bites from Farm to Market Catering, such as smoked chicken profiteroles, shrimp cocktail with blood orange cocktail sauce and horseradish panna cotta, and Beef Wellington were savored, and Milagro margarita toasts were shared.  As a departing gift, guests received mini blood orange pop-tarts from Pink Apron Pastry.

Paul Valdez, Michele Ritter and Andy Steingasser*

Paul Valdez, Michele Ritter and Andy Steingasser*

The energy and excitement for the gala were contagious among the ensemble including: Equest Interim CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, Lezlie and Bill Noble, Kelly and Marty Turco, Allane O’Neil, Terri Sue and Jack Wensinger, Dina and Jason Arnott, Trish and Joe Judson, Carrie and Dodd Crutcher, Di Johnston, Frank Carter, Margaret and David Henry, Leslie and Hawkins Golden, Darla Ripley, Nancy Natinksy, Kelly Morrison, Lane Cates and Brad McClain, Meghan Nylin and Neiman folks like Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and Mimi Sterling among others.

Terri Sue Wensinger, Kristin Reed, Mary Hawkins, Helena Wall, Karen Smith and Lezlie Noble*

Terri Sue Wensinger, Kristin Reed, Mary Hawkins, Helena Wall, Karen Smith and Lezlie Noble*

Prepare to celebrate all things Equest at the 35th Anniversary Gala. The equestrian-chic fundraiser, hosted by Honorary Chairs Chris and Dale Hansen and Chairs Helena and Doug Wall, brings together gourmet southern cuisine, craft cocktails, live music by Cary Pierce­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­, prized live and silent auction items, and some fun horsing-around. Equest 35th Anniversary Gala will be held on Saturday, May 7, starting at 7:00 p.m. at Texas Horse Park (811 Pemberton Hill Road, Dallas, TX 75217). Sponsorships are available starting at $5,000. Tables (of 10) are available to purchase for $2,500 and individual tickets for $250 at For more information, visit or call 972.412.1099.

JUST IN: Equest Interim CEO Lili Kellogg Officially Named Equest CEO

Despite grumbly skies and a killer schedule of activities today, more news is coming in. Equest has a new executive director! The equine therapeutic program that helps everyone from kiddos to vets has been under the direction of Interim CEO Lili Kellogg, since Patrick Bricker departed back in October.

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

Horse-pert Lili has done such a fine job that they’ve removed the word “interim” from her title, so she is now officially Equest’s CEO.

And this ain’t her first rodeo, not by a long shot. Besides earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University, she’s also received her certification from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International as a master instructor, site visitor and faculty/evaluator, as well as coaching equestrian teams at national and international events including the 196 Paralympics. In 2002 she was the recipient of the James Brady Professional Achievement Award that is “the highest honor in the therapeutic riding industry.”

Having worked with Equest as program director for years, she became director of ManeGait and the executive director for Houston’s SIRE. It was in January 2015 that Lili joined Equest as VP of Operations, much to the delight of staff and board members.

According to Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, “Finding the right talent, experience and personality that embodies the Equest CEO position is of paramount importance. Lili Kellogg exceeds all of our criteria. She could write the book on Therapeutic Horsemanship, and we are thrilled to have her leading our team.”

But in addition to overseeing the clients, staff and horses that now includes both the facilities at Wylie and Texas Horse Park, Lili’s also preparing the 35th Annual Equest Gala on Saturday, May 7, at Texas Horse Park that’s being chaired by Helena and Doug Wall and co-chaired by Chris and Dale Hansen. Handling the music for the evening will be Cary Pierce.

Congrats to Lili and Equest.