Chicago Equestrians for a Cause

On a clear, crisp, Sunday morning I ventured out into Lake County with its tree - lined country roads and picturesque horse farms ....

The special occasion was the $50,000 USHJA Hunter Derby at Annali Farm (in Antioch, IL), a recognized event of the USHJA Hunter Derby series. The sophisticated horseback riding community gathered for the 4th Annual "A Day in the Country."

Upon entering the Annali Farm, highly respectable automakers Porsche, Range Rover, and Lake Forest Sports Cars were sponsors of this show, with their banners proudly on display. Slowly I proceeded over the perfectly manicured grounds to a shaded parking spot, with a stunning white tent only 50 yards away.

I strolled up the walkway past an exotic gull wing Mercedes McLaren on my left and a magnificent R.V. motor home provided by Camping World (complete with two TV's) on my right .... ( a horse owner's dream ).

Inside the party tent, ladies in colorful dresses and designer hats greeted everyone as the guests filtered through the tent and mingled while sipping Mimosas.

A elegant buffet was served as we took our seats at one of the pristine, round white tables complete with a beautiful flower centerpiece and fine China. Following the brunch, a live auction took place where the majority of the proceeds go to the derby's designated charities.

A Calcutta format was presented, whereby bidders choose a team which included horses who have the best chance of winning Sunday's competition.

By participating in the auction, guests were allowed to invest in a team of their choice; if someone's bid won the derby, they collected 50% of the proceeds, and the other 50% goes to charity. This was actually the second day on the Hunter course, with the top 12 - 18 horses returning to compete with a total of four judges for the class.

Scores from the two judging panels were excitedly announced and bonus points were awarded accordingly, with the two scores from the panels added together for the overall score.

Congratulations go out to Chairperson Margaret Benjamin and Committee Advisors Lynne Jayne and Caroline Weeden for this fabulous equestrian event. Margaret's message:

We wish to give huge and special thanks to CN for their continued support and to the USHJA for allowing an offsite charity venue in Chicago. Today you will see our country's top hunter riders, with their most talented horses, compete over a difficult course in a beautiful grass hunt field. We are honored to direct our proceeds this year to Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, to the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation, and to the United States Hunter Jumper Association Foundation. Our group began because we thought that combining our love of horses with philanthropy might just be a winning idea.

Other sponsors include:

Chicago Magazine (provided by accomplished publisher Richard Gamble), Gene-n-Georgetti's Steakhouse (proprietor: Tony Durpetti), and most notable, the Corcoran Family Foundation, a proud supporter of the Chicago Hunter's Derby benefitting Children's Memorial Hospital in memory of Moria Tobin. This generous foundation also supports hippotherapy and horse rehabilitation.

See you next year!!

JPW

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