JUST IN: Sale Of Wylie Facility Has Equest Packing Its Saddlebags And Consolidating The Equine Therapy Program At Texas Horse Park

For the next ten days, the Equest folks are going to bustling. While they’ll be tending to the horses and clients, Equest CEO Lili Kellogg reported that they’ll also be packing their stuff. It seems that their Wylie facility has been sold and they’ve got to be out of there by Wednesday, May 31, and calling Texas Horse Park their mane (sorry, about that) home.

Lili Kellogg

Andy Steingasser

Dave Perry-Miller’s Andy Steingasser revealed that the 42.5-acre property was sold to a Chinese developer. Not only is Andy the board chair for Equest, he’s also the Realtor who handled the deal and donated 100% of his commission to Equest.

The original asking price was $2.5M, but Andy wasn’t talking what the final amount was. All he could say was that he’d had many sleepless nights.

BTW, just as in every move, the Equest team could use some help. They need storage bins, label makers and industrial shredders. Here’s the link how you can buckeroo help.

Equest Gala Organizers Have The Ponies Rearing To Party And Umbrellas Aplenty Just In Case Of Predicted April Showers Prove To Be True

Saturday’s Equest Gala at Texas Horse Park is being threatened by local weather guessers with stormy weather. But according to Gala Emcee and former weather-caster Jocelyn White, it’s always a guessing game.

So, don’t let the threats of showers dissuade you from heading to the protected stable area leading to the covered arena, where all the dining and dancing will be taking place. The horses have been spiffing up all week for the big fundraiser, and the humans have been taking precautions.

Jocelyn White (File photo)

Kathy Fielder (File photo)

Co-Chair Kathy Fielder reports, “We are still hoping our Field of Dreams will be dry, but we are prepared if spring showers come our way. Thankfully, the event areas, including the beautifully transformed arena, are covered. If needed, we will have plenty of umbrellas to keep folks dry, and bourbon to warm them up. Our Equest Clients and Therapy Horses are ready to shine.”

What’s more, you won’t have to worry about driving to and back from the festivities. The buses will be running come sleet, snow, soggy roads or whatever. Just make sure you have your spot on the shuttle saved by checking in with Amanda Fastle at 972.412.1099, Ext. 215.

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

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.

Two- And Four-Legged Party Animals Kicked Off Texas Horse Park At The Equest Premier Celebration

Connie Carreker*

Connie Carreker*

The invites that landed on doorsteps in the middle of March were an eye-popping sign of things to come for Equest’s “Premier Celebration” at the Texas Horse Park. Except for the grand opening in March, this was going to be the first time that many folks would see the City’s, and Equest’s, much talked about new digs in South Dallas, and Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker wanted to grab people’s attention. Mission accomplished. The Celebration, sponsored by Highland Park Village and presented by Jet Linx, was sold out with 500 booted and bedazzled guests shuttled to the Texas Horse Park to experience a night of equine elegance.

Denny Carreker*

Denny Carreker*

There is nothing ostentatious about the Texas Horse Park. In fact, it is unexpectedly picturesque. The stone buildings nestle into the hillside amongst the trees and the meadows, another example of Dallas’ natural charm just 10 minutes from Downtown. With this as a venue, it would be easy to play to the Texas cliché but the Carrekers, with the help of Stacy and Kelby Blakeley of Katy Sky Group, added their own flourish to nature’s backdrop and what resulted was sophisticated, tasteful fun. Think rocking chairs, gleaming horse stalls, bourbon and biscuits, baskets of chicken, loaded mashed potatoes, and a covered arena that set the stage for Mayor Mike Rawlings, Jody Dean, a tribute to Honorary Chairs Lisa and Kenny Troutt, twirling moves on the dance floor by Bill Noble, and a live auction that netted Equest’s most successful auction to date. Guests Kara and Jeff Axley, Jeff Byron, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Katherine and Key Coker, Barbara and Don Daseke, Betsy and Guinn Crousen, Melissa and Steve Cooksey, Barbara and Steve Durham, Phyllis Glazer, Louise and Guy Griffeth, Paulette Hopkins and Todd Pickel, Linda and Steve Ivy, Laura and David Johnson, Lezlie Noble, Gail and Bob Thomas, Susan Schwartz, Natalie Snyder and Andrew Bode, Jan Strimple, Jocelyn White and Kim Seal, and hundreds others cheerfully clapped the bidders on. Pat and Meg Gould, Rachel and John Michell, and Liz and Ryan Thrash were amongst the revelers representing Title Sponsor Highland Park Village – it turned out that Heather and Ray Washburne weren’t able to attend, as their date was in D.C. with President Obama at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

Mike Rawlings**

Mike Rawlings**

Kenny and Lisa Troutt**

Kenny and Lisa Troutt**

Lezlie Noble and Margo Keyes**

Lezlie Noble and Margo Keyes**

Steve and Barbara Durham**

Steve and Barbara Durham**

Key and Katherine Coker

Key and Katherine Coker**

Phyllis Glazer

Phyllis Glazer**

But as with all Equest events, it was the riders and the horses who were the stars of the show and captured the heart of the evening: Billy and Amy Bentler greeted the arrivals, Jarren McTee with his big smile sat up tall on the back of Babe, Zoe Grall crossed her arms on Crunchie with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, Sarah Khan and Saunder navigated the trail pattern, husband and wife Veterans Jeremy and Randi Jackson stood proudly side by side on Amigo and Patron, and Sabrina Williams turned and walked majestically on Hayley for the Mayor. Board Treasurer Bill Seeger and his wife Pam, parents of an Equest rider, summed it up perfectly: “At Equest, our son is a hero.” This was a celebration of heroes.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik
** Photo credit:Emily Hargrove

SOLD-OUT ALERT: 2015 Equest Premier Celebration

Word just arrived that Saturday’s Equest Premier Celebration at Texas Horse Park is a done deal with 500 expected in boots. Among those buckaroos will be Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Congressman Pete Sessions and the mini-ambassadors.

Equest rider Hillary with Dena Miller (File photo)

Equest rider Hillary with Dena Miller (File photo)

If you’ve got your heart set on checking out the Equest‘s newest digs for horses to help vets and  children and adults with challenges, then you can always beg, plead and/or write a nice fat check. Who knows? It just might work.

Rescheduled Boots And Horses Got A Sneak Preview Of Texas Horse Park

Their first planned gathering was squashed by Mother Nature’s icy downfall on March 4, so The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rats regrouped and rescheduled their sneak preview of Texas Horse Park for Tuesday, March 10. There were some who wondered if having it during spring break would decrease the attendance. Word has it that ” an even large crowd that before” turned out. Here’s a report from the field:

More than 100 members of The Trinity Trust’s Rat Pack and River Rats were among the first to experience the magic of the not-yet-opened Texas Horse Park for an evening of horseback riding, cocktails, and Texas hospitality. Guests enjoyed exploring the trails and various venues, and many even saddled up a horse for a gallop in the arena.

“It is even more beautiful than we imagined it could be,” said Gail Thomas, President and CEO of The Trinity Trust.

Texas Horse Park architect Craig Reynolds spoke about the design and vision for the park and how it will be a community asset. “It’s hard to believe this is 10 minutes from Downtown Dallas,” he said, marveling about the beauty of the Great Trinity Forest.

“I am blown away by my visit to the Texas Horse Park,” said Salle Stemmons. “I can’t wait to share it with all my family and friends. What a magnificent gift for all of Dallas to enjoy! Well done!”

Other guests, including Texas Horse Park Foundation board member Carol Nichols, Annie and Bud Melton, The Trinity Trust board member Lynn McBee, Natalie and Evan Beattie, Calvin Bluiett and Dustin Bullard, enjoyed taking pictures – and even a ride – with the beautiful horses provided by River Ranch Charities. Sweet Pea and Pepper seemed to be the crowd favorites.

“This is so much fun. What a terrific venue for parties and events,” said The Trinity Trust board chair Mary McDermott Cook.

Located in the Great Trinity Forest near the Trinity River Audubon Center, the Texas Horse Park will host a public opening on March 28 from 10:30am-1:30pm. It will be a great way to explore the site and get the kids on a horse. The city-owned facility houses two nonprofits, Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship and River Ranch Charities.

Thank you to Smith Group Asset Management and Texas Capital Bank for their sponsorship of the 2015 Rat Pack and River Rats. Join today to participate in upcoming events cocktail events, grand openings, private paddling adventure on the Trinity River, Trails & Ales party in the Trinity River Corridor and more. Rat Pack members are invited to a special cocktail reception at Mary McDermott Cook’s “DumpTop.”

Jennifer And Coley Clark Corralled The Horsey Set For The Kick-Off Of Premiere Celebration Of Equest At Texas Horse Park

While the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center crowd was partying at Balenciaga in Highland Park Village the evening of Tuesday, March 3rd, and the Young Masters were being artfully festive at the Dallas Museum of Art, Jennifer and Coley Clark were horsing around with friends at their Highland Park home.

Coley and Jennifer Clark

Coley and Jennifer Clark

No, they hadn’t hijacked one of the holiday carriages that had rolled around the Park Cities streets. They had two mini-horses cooling their heels in the frontyard. The small four-footed critters were Equest ambassadors Cisco and Dare. Seems veteran ambassadors Sugar and Tex were taking the night off. For those who attended last year’s Equest gala at Southfork, Cisco and Dare were a popular draw giving kisses for cash.

Betsy and Guinn Crousen

Betsy and Guinn Crousen

And speaking of Equest galas, that was the reason for Cisco and Dare to pony up at the Clarks. They were serving as greeters as guests like Beth Layton, Katherine Coker and Betsy and Guinn Crousen arrived for the kick-off of the Premiere Celebration of Equest at Texas Horse Park. One of the mini’s especially liked Betsy’s blouse.

Kingsland Apparel pop-up shop

Kingsland Apparel pop-up shop

In addition to a Kingsland Apparel pop-up shop with everything from socks to riding jackets, guests learned about plans for the Premier Celebration of Equest at Texas Horse Park that will be held on Saturday, April 25.

To add some equine extra-specialness to the gala, Event Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker have arranged for Kentucky Derby vets Lisa and Kenny Troutt to serve as honorary co-chairs.

Denny Carreker and Coley Clark

Denny Carreker and Coley Clark

One of the highlights of the gala will be performances by Equest riders and their horses.

POSTPONEMENT: Boots And Horses

Wednesday’s activities are shifting with the winter weather possibly unloading. The Trinity Trust River Rats and Pack Rats have decided to once again postpone their sneak preview of Texas Horse Park. Hey, who wants to see an outdoor venue in sleety conditions?

Boots and Horses is now scheduled for Tuesday, March 10.

Yeah, it’s gonna fall during spring break, but shoot! Most of the “rats” don’t have kiddos, so spring break doesn’t jangle their calendars.

And besides with everyone with munchkins evacuating the city, it’ll be nice to hang out with the ponies and rats.

Postponed: Boots & Horses

Boots

Boots

Horse

Horse

Snow is in the forecast early tomorrow morning resulting in muddy conditions in the afternoon and evening. Because organizers of the “Boots & Horses” want everything to be perfect for a sneak peek of the new Texas Horse Park, they’ve decided to postponed Wednesday night’s festivities. The event is for The Trinity Trust River Rats and Rat Pack members and potential members.

The new date is Wednesday, March 4. That’s good news. Because if you aren’t a member, you have time to join up and feel right at home among the “rats” and the “nags.”

Triple Crown Gala’s “Hats And Horses” Sunkissed Guests And Raised Funds For Equest With New Date And Venue

The Kentucky Derby is really starting to impact the Dallas non-profit landscape. On Saturday, May 3, Dallasites converged at various spots to wear hats, sip adult beverages and watch a race that lasts less than two minutes at Churchill Downs. There was the Center for BrainHealth’s TAG crowd who partied it up at the Dallas Arboretum and the Junior Conservancy’s Day at the Races at Lee Park tri-chaired by Lisa Bhattacharya, Annika Cail and Marvin Bradshaw.

But all the Derby Day watching wasn’t restricted to the Dallas city limits. Heck, no! The Equest crowd ponied up their fundraising up north.

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer

For months, Equest Triple Crown Gala Co-Chairs Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer had planned to have a sneak preview of Texas Horse Park for their Equest fundraiser. Since they knew it wouldn’t be totally finished, they recommended guests wear boots.

Another change was the date. Instead of avoiding the Saturday of the Kentucky Derby, they embraced it and set the time to coincide with the “Run for the Roses.” Just to top that, they created the theme “Hats And Horses”.

Jody Dean and Jocelyn White

Jody Dean and Jocelyn White

But as the May 3rd date got closer than a photo-finish, the gals plus their advisors Jocelyn White and Dawn Spalding and production coordinator Michelle Meadows realized that it might be too early for even a preliminary debut. With the clock ticking, the decision was made to move north to Souhfork. Michelle, who had been part of previous Cattle Baron’s at Southfork, knew every inch of the property and was ready for whatever came rain or shine.

As it turned out the wet stuff was nowhere in the county. But that  shine was mighty shiny as 400 arrived. Even before facing the rays of the Texas sun, guests had to figure out how to enter the Southfork property. Seems one side of Hogge Road running alongside Southfork was plowed up for construction with a sizable ridge of dirt lying between the ranch’s multiple gates and the road. As guests slowed their vehicles deciding which of the gates was the right one, a little horse sense was applied — Gate 1! After entering the property, guests discovered a welcome committee of horses, riders and check-in table in front of a mammoth white tent.

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons-Lock

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons-Lock

It soon became apparent that the tent was a Texas-sized parasol shielding all from the brighter-than-bright sunlight. Within its confines guests checked out long lines of silent auction items like a fabulous photo by award-winning photographer Jeremy Lock. . . Karen Lukin was taking questions about her loss of 40 pounds. She startled some by saying she still wanted to lose 15 more. How did she do it? The old-fashion way — exercising and watching her diet. . Despite the pasture under foot, Co-Chair Maggie somehow managed to navigate the area in her stiletto cowboy boots.

John and Jo Gudjohnsen

John and Jo Gudjohnsen

And speaking of footwear, Kersten Rettig was proudly showing off her brand new boots from Fort Worth’s M.L. Leddy’s. On the other hand, so to speak, she wasn’t all pleased with a bandaged-up-finger that had been the victim of a “dinjury”. What’s a dinjury? According to Kersten, it’s “an injury that occurs during the course of making dinner.” Evidently this has become a oft-happening occurrence. The night of the slicing of her finger, “Another lady was coming in the Highland Park ER with a ‘dinjury’ as I was leaving. She was in pain but complimented me on my effort to make a zucchini artichoke tart.” But on this day, Kersten was part of the team of judges (Jeff Byron, Louise Griffeth, Lezlie Noble and Blake Stephenson) for the hat contest.

Blake Stephenson and Kersten Rettig

Blake Stephenson and Kersten Rettig

Outside the tent, Jessica Shaw and Nicole Mangum were lining up for mini-smooching with one of the Equest ponies. . . Award-winning videographer John Gudjohnsen was preparing to record Bert Headden’s receiving the Susan Schwartz Founder’s Award. . . Brits Emily Hargrove in a fascinator and Jo Gudjohnsen in a brimmed pink chapeau compared notes about their home island on the other side of the pond.

Across the way, a large stage with screens and the Phil Pritchett band playing was fronted by rows of tables for dining and watching the Kentucky Derby.

Val Imm Bashour

Val Imm Bashour

At 4 p.m., DJ Jody Dean and Jocelyn took their places on a portable stage in the nearby pasture and coaxed guests from the tent to view the day’s program. Jocelyn laughed, “Watch what you ask for” referring to the sunshine. Those with wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses like Katherine Coker, D’Andra Simmons, Honorary Co-Chair Val Imm Bashour and Christie Carter looked relieved that they had decided to forgo the fascinators or bareheaded look. Others who opted to go hatless like Kevin Hurst and Key Coker ended up a bit red faced, literally. Evelyn Byron was the envy of many. In addition to having a ready-made chair thanks to her wheelchair complete with son Jeff doing the chauffeur duties, the 86-year-old had an umbrella. She was also being mistaken by some for being a former first lady.

Evelyn Byron and Jeff Byron

Evelyn Byron and Jeff Byron

Luckily for the horses, riders and other human critters, the demonstrations and presentation didn’t last long enough to work up too much of a sweat.

Then guests either headed back to the tent or their tables to watch California Chrome run for the roses.  Don’t tell but, some snuck out early. Seems they had to “refresh” before heading to The Art Ball at the Dallas Museum of Art.

JUST IN: Equest’s Triple Crown Gala Changes Venues And Heads North

Perfectionists can be a royal pain. They insist on all their paperclips being arranged in order according to value — platinum first, then gold followed by sterling silver. Hmm, a little overkill.

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer (File photo)

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer (File photo)

But then there are those who really have a reason for their desire to have everything absolutely perfect. That’s the case of the Equest crew led by Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer. After years of hoping, planning and negotiating their involvement with Texas Horse Park, they just want everything to be spotless and ready to improve the lives of children and vets in the program.

Well, despite non-stop construction, the Park is still in the hard helmet stage and that just doesn’t fit with the upcoming Triple Crown Gala’s “Hats & Horses — A Texas Derby Day Soiree!” on Saturday, May 3. Plus there’s always the issue of prissy Mother Nature, who’s going through her spring period.

Michelle Meadows (File photo)

Michelle Meadows (File photo)

Biting the bullet, so to speak, the organizers decided to move the event to Southfork. Production maven Michelle Meadow is an old hand in orchestrating events at the “Dallas” location. She’s babysat many a Cattle Baron’s Ball there and knows all the nooks and crannies.

Everything else will stay the absolute according to plan. Hats will be the “must of the day” with judgings by local “top experts.” Loads of foods and refreshments will be on hand. Equest equines will be on the premises. And, yes, the Kentucky Derby will be on the screens.

Oh, but there’s more. Alas, that can’t be revealed until the afternoon event. But it involves anyone who attends the spring event just may have a fall surprise for their datebook. Shoot! Were we supposed to let that much out?

Southfork Longhorn (File photo)

Southfork Longhorn (File photo)

So, instead of heading south to Texas Horse Park, turn your horsepower in the other direction to Southfork and remember the speed limits are watched carefully by local officials.

BTW, a tip of the hat to organizers for making this decision this week instead of waiting til the last minute. It must have been a tough call to make, but it allows everyone time to rearrange their GPS-ers and think “Go, north, y’all.”

Round Robin November 20: Triple Crown Gala Kick-Off And Emerald Eagle Honors Announcement Parties

On Wednesday, November 20, Preston Hollow was bustling with activity for equines and eagles!

Triple Crown Gala Kick-Off

My, my, but Equest was a busy nonprofit. There was a trunk show at the Hobbit house earlier in the day. Then at 4 p.m. there was a check presentation in the Mockingbird Room in Highland Park Village with a book signing by Dotty Griffith. Then the horse-loving crowd capped off the day with the Triple Crown Gala kick-off party at Lisa Blue Baron’s mansion.

Why all this activity on one day? Well, the check presentation was slated so the 2013 Equest honoree Nancy Carter could be present. Alas, just days before the guest-of-honor had to regret that she would be unable to attend, but insisted that the check-handing-over go on without her.

Tex, Lisa Blue Baron, Alessandra, Caroline and Nathalie Baron

Tex, Lisa Blue Baron, Alessandra, Caroline and Nathalie Baron

Then the kick-off party got off to a great start with kids and critters. Needless to say, what W.C. Fields would have hated delighted hostess Lisa. In the mansion’s driveway, there were her triplets (Alessandra, Caroline and Nathalie) in their most adorable cowgirl attire with the Equest ambassadors, Sugar and Tex. Needless to say Tex loved all the female surroundings, whereas Sugar gave her buddy the side-eye. He seemed to be enjoying Lisa and her girls a bit too much.

It seems the girls aren’t just all dress and no ride. They’ve been taking weekly riding lessons. Are they riding English or Western? English. Do they wear helmets? “Of course!”

As soon as the photos had been taken, the wee Baronesses headed inside for dinner courtesy of the evening’s buffet.

As for the program, it was a case of mixed signals. One staffer said the affair was to be a get-together and there would be no talking nor announcements.

Jeremy Lock

Jeremy Lock

Minutes later, Triple Crown Gala Co-Chair Maggie Cooke Kipp reported that indeed there was going to be talking. D’Andra Simmons and her fiancée Jeremy Lock would be talking about Equest’s “Hooves for Heroes.” With firsthand knowledge of the need of such a program, Jeremy said, “I’ll talk about how I support what they’re doing. I’ve done six tours in the military and have photographed what these guys have gone through. Something like this program, which gives back to the brave men and women, is much needed. These programs really work!”

Maggie and her Co-Chair Shay Geyer revealed plans for the May 3 event at Texas Horse Park. Definite changes from the past galas that took place at Park Pane Equestrian Center in April. No, this one would be at the Horse Park that is currently under construction. And the date just so happened to coincide with the Kentucky Derby. They planned it that way and will have the Derby simulcast during the gala.

One bit of news that wasn’t on the agenda was from florist Shane Walker. He and partner Billy Fulmer have had a change of plans. They had thought they would have been moved into their new retail shop in the Trinity Groves complex. Unfortunately, negotiations proved not to be on the same page, so the boys decided to move their operation to the old Nuvo location on Cedar Springs. Shane was delighted because he said it’s closer to his clients and almost ready for them to move in.

Emerald Eagle Honors Announcement Party

Peter Max artwork

Peter Max artwork

Just a few blocks away in Preston Hollow, Sara Sue and Don Potts hosted the UNT Emerald Eagle Honors announcement party. Boy, when those UNT eagles party, they know the right nest to pick. From cases filled with trophies and sports memorabilia, Andy Warhol and Peter Max artworks to a see-through wine cellar filled with the right labels, the Potts’s place was filled to the max.

One female guest wandered into the game room overlooking the pool and spa with its fountains and asked, “Is this a second kitchen?” No, it just a game room with a super-duper bar.

And rightly so. Last year’s inaugural event honored Roy Orbison, Mean Joe Greene and Mary Suhm. This year the March 5 event will honor former Miss America Phyllis George, actor Peter Weller and a third, yet-to-be-named UNT accomplished grad. Emceeing the event at the Meyerson will be Melissa Rycroft Strickland and Dallas Cowboys guard Brian Waters.

Lee Jackson and Neal J. Smatresk

Lee Jackson and Neal J. Smatresk

But on this evening the man of the hour was newly named UNT President Dr. Neal J. Smatresk wearing a green tie, of course. The “sole candidate,” who will be formally appointed in December, Neal said that UNT “has to be a national prominent” institution. “The question is, ‘What is the right path to get there?’” His focus will be on “how to establish the brand first here in the Metroplex.”

Tickets are available for purchase now!

Newly Announced 2014 Equest Triple Crown Gala Co-Chairs Shay Geyer And Maggie Kipp Reveal Changes For The Annual Fundraiser

Still more news on this Friday. The Equest crowd has hardly recovered from its fashion show and luncheon, than it just sent word that plans are underway for the 2014 Equest Triple Crown Gala!

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer (File photo)

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer (File photo)

Hold on to your ponies for this one! Change is definitely in the wind. Overseeing the changes will Gala Co-Chairs Shay Geyer and Maggie Kipp.

First development is the gala’s taking place on Saturday, May 3. Hmm, why does that date seem like a horsey day? Because it’s the same date as the Kentucky Derby. Instead of competing with the thoroughbred watching, the gals are going to start the gala at 3 p.m. with the Derby being broadcast live. So, it only makes sense to have the theme be “Hats & Horses, a Derby Day Soiree”.

After chairing this past spring’s Mad Hatter’s Tea, Maggie and Shay admit, “We know hats!”

Naturally, guests are encouraged to top off their looks with hats.

An even bigger change is the event’s location. The past two years the Triple Crown Gala has been held at the Park Lane Equestrian Center. Not for 2014. Instead, head your wheels to the Texas Horse Park for its inaugural event. This location will be Equest’s “second location.”

Equest rider Hillary with Dena Miller (File photo)

Equest rider Hillary with Dena Miller (File photo)

Initial plans call for “a hat contest, silent and live auctions and, of course, the annual crowd favorite — riding demonstrations by our amazing riders and horses of Equest!”

Helping Shay and Maggie will be Honorary Co-Chairs Val Imm Bashour and Phyllis Glazer. Equest Board Member Dawn Spalding and 2012 and 2013 Equest Triple Crown Gala Chair/Board Member Jocelyn White will serve as gala advisors.

Equest’s Dedication Of Texas Horse Park Resulted In Boots, Wheels, Hooves And Dreams Coming True

A little bit of mud didn’t deter the Equest crowd as rain clouds hovered overhead. Nor did the threatening weather dampen Susan Schwartz’s dream of having the equine therapy program at soon-to-be-developed Texas Horse Park on Pemberton Hill Road in Oak Cliff. So early on the morning of July 17, the official dedication took place.

Tex

Tex

As a bagpiper played, the folding chairs stood their places in the damp ground under the tent. There was a cool breeze that passed by. The Equest mini-pony ambassadors Sugar and Tex were joined by tall-standing, 20-year-old Crunchie in charming the guests. As for the attire, Equest folks know how to handle a little mud. In fact it gives them the opportunity to pull out their fav boots. In this case they ranged from pink galoshes and dependable ropers to rarefied peacock designed leather boots.

Pink galoshes

Pink galoshes

Ropers

Ropers

Peacock-design boots

Peacock-design boots

By 8:30 the itty bitty parking area near the tent was already full and the luxury vehicles lined the narrow drive leading from the road. It was snug but all seemed to fit.

Driveway leading to dedication

Driveway leading to dedication

Looking around the undeveloped acreage of trees and brush, Equest Gala Chair Jocelyn White commented, “A year from now it’s all going to be so different.”

A little after 9 the guests filled the chairs for the formal dedication. As the color guard presented the Texas and U.S. flags, all stood. It was silent except for the distant chirping of birds. Then Equest CEO Patrick Bricker led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. He welcomed all to “the Texas Horse Park.” Cheers broke out.

Crunchie and Amy Causey

Crunchie and Amy Causey

As Patrick thanked all involved in making the dream come true, Crunchie cleared his throat and a wave of chuckles was heard. That Crunchie is such a scene stealer.

Patrick then talked about two of the Equest programs that would be held at the future park.

Hooves for Heroes will be transferred from Equest’s home base in Wylie to the park.

Children will be able to get an earlier start in equine therapy with a plan to include more mini-horses. It seems that some children are intimidated by the big horses like Crunchie and appreciate being able to get an eye-to-eye relationship with smaller versions like Sugar and Tex.    

Patrick called for Equest Founder Susan Schwartz to come up from her seventh row seat to talk to the group. Her message was, “How a dream can create unlimited possibilities.” She told how her dream was that everybody who needed a horse would have one available. It started with two blind riders and it was originally called “Freedom Riders.” At Equest, children who don’t have the freedom to move due to their bodies have four strong legs thanks to the horses and the volunteers. Due to the demand, “a great waiting list” resulted and now “Horse Park is answering” the need.

Susan Schwartz telling of her dream

Susan Schwartz telling of her dream

When the city originally discussed Equest’s involvement with Horse Park, they asked how many people would participate. Susan said that they could tell the city official that weekly 400 volunteers took part in helping 125 riders per session. What they couldn’t tell was “how many people would be impacted by Equest at Texas Horse Park.” There were relatives, friends and so many others who would be touched by the results of children and veterans who benefited from the program.

Susan then read a letter from the wife of a vet, who told how their marriage had been threatened with her husband’s “anger issues.” She told him that unless he dealt with it, the 10-year marriage was doomed. To work through his issues, he joined the Equest program and the wife said that there has been a definite change for the better.

Dallas City Councilman Tennell Atkins

Dallas City Councilman Tennell Atkins

Dallas City Councilman Tennell Atkins was next up to speak. Despite the heat and humidity, the councilman looked as cool as an icy lemonade in his suit and tie. He told how he had fought for Texas Horse Park. As the sun peeked out from the clouds, Tennell said, “There are people who have never seen this part of Dallas. You’ve got to tell people about this part of town.

He then related a conversation that he had in Johannesburg. When someone asked him if Dallas had horses, he had to admit that Cowtown beat Big D on that one.

In conclusion, he officially dedicated the park and read it from his notes to make sure he got it right.

At 9:28 the event was supposedly over, but it wasn’t. “Bobby,” one of the honor guard, asked to speak. He told of his working with lots of Afghanistan and Iraqi vets, saying “PTS is not a good thing. . .  The suicide rate is 35% higher for vets. . .  Your program is saving lives. Not only children but lives.”

Susan Schwartz and Bobby

Susan Schwartz and Bobby

As he headed back to the honor guard members, Susan stood up and hugged him.

Like Susan said, “A dream can create unlimited possibilities.”

Dedication of Texas Horse Park

Dedication of Texas Horse Park

JUST IN: Dallas City Council Approves Texas Horse Park

Equest just sent word that the Dallas City Council passed the contract for Texas Horse Park this morning in which Equest will be a partner. Here’s the official word:

“The Texas Horse Park has been passed!! Equest and River Ranch Educational Charities will be the first tenants at the Texas Horse Park, located near the Trinity River in South Dallas. Equest at Texas Horse Park will focus on building client relationships that will include Therapeutic Riding as well as an extension of our Hooves for Heroes Veterans Program. Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting opportunity!”

Equest Is Saddling Up For A Really Big Project

Horses in pasture (File photo)

Wednesday the Dallas City Council took up the vote on the planned Texas Horse Park in which Equest would be a partner. The vote was 13-2 in favor of the program. If you’re into horses, this is a really big undertaking and a bigger step forward in the development of the Trinity area. 

Joining Equest in this project will be River Ranch Education Charities of Collin County.

To quote Equest Development Director Linda Kordek Milton, “Exciting times ahead!”