Articles: Press Release
Garden State Horse Show Announces Special Exhibition
at $50,000 Grand Prix Show Jumping Event
Dyan Hartrum driving Boxcar Willy
May 2, 2008, AUGUSTA, New Jersey-Garden State Horse Show (GSHS) has announced that sharingVillage Cancer Survivor Groups will be the beneficiary of this year's show, May 7-11, 2008 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Located in Far Hills, NJ, sharingVillage is a nonprofit self help educational organization dedicated to the well being of cancer survivors from time of diagnosis and beyond. About 100 members of sharingVillage are expected to be in attendance at GSHS on Saturday afternoon.
Driving for Surviving, a pediatric oncology equestrian carriage driving program of sharingVillage, is joining forces with GSHS to present an exhibition, at approximately 3:00 p.m. -- just prior to the show's highlight, the $50,000 Jr. Essex Troop Grand Prix. The show jumping event, which takes place on Saturday, May 10, features some of the country's top show jumpers and Olympic caliber riders. But before the horses and riders attempt the course of enormous fences, the main ring will showcase the children from Driving for Surviving as they drive their ponies and miniature horses with carriages for the crowd.
"We're thrilled to have sharingVillage as part of Garden State," declares Jim Duva, Executive Coordinator of GSHS. "The kids [in Driving for Surviving program] have such incredibly positive attitudes and are sure to be a crowd pleaser with their demonstration in the main ring."
Shelley Zlotkin, sharingVillage Executive Director, is very excited to have sharingVillage involved with GSHS. "It's just a natural fit. Our children will have an opportunity to show professional horsemen what they can do and at the same time, the kids will learn about a different discipline of horses by watching the professional riders as they compete in show jumping." Zlotkin definitely understands how different riding disciplines can teach one other. Her diverse riding background includes saddlehorses, hunters, dressage, and foxhunting.
Most of the children participating are new to the sport of driving; few had ever been exposed to the equestrian world in any way until joining the program. However, when you watch the children handily maneuver their ponies and carts, you'll see that they have caught on quickly. Some of the children even compete in driving competitions. "When we first started taking the kids to shows, we'd hear some of the other competitors sadly saying, 'Ah look. Here come all the little children with cancer.' "Then we started beating them and they don't say a word when we show up now!" she laughs.
The program, which began in 2003, is provided at no cost to participants through sharingVillage. The coaches are all volunteers and most of the 14 ponies and horses in the program, as well as their equipment, are on loan to the organization. These animals aren't just castoffs. Zlotkin proudly reveals that several of the minis are former national champions and one Welsh Cob pony was a world champion. "Plus, we are located very close to the USET [United States Equestrian Team] and their support for this program has been tremendous," stresses Zlotkin. "The whole program is just a magical situation that worked!" she concludes.
Visit the show's website, www.gardenstatehorseshow.org for details on the show and see www.sharingvillage.org for more information on sharingVillage and its programs such as Driving for Surviving.