36th Annual Equest Gala Raises Funds For Equine Therapies
By Jason Rivers
Photography by Thomas Garza Photography
THE SCENE: Finely dressed in their equestrian best, 450 guests arrived at the magnificent Equest barns and arena at Texas Horse Park for the 36th annual Equest Gala. Ray Johnston performed an acoustic set during the reception, providing a perfect soundtrack for the cool spring day. Guests sipped on signature “Field of Dreams” margaritas and sampled 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.
THE VIBE: 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, and Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, among other distinguished members of the community.
A compelling video touched charitable hearts before the start of the live auction, where generous donors raised funds to sponsor five Equest therapy horses. 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 would not be considered a success without two-stepping. Dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Studio opened the dance floor, quickly followed by guests who terpsichored to the musical lead of Cary Pierce, and surprise musical guests Crystal Yates and Jon Christopher Davis.
THE CAUSE: Co-Chairs Kathy and Jeromy Fielder helmed this year’s Equest Gala, along with the gala committee and event planner Katy Sky Group, toward its success. Founded in 1981, Equest provides equine facilitated activities, therapies and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping and learning disabilities and veterans with adjustment challenges. With the help of 45 therapy horses, a staff of specialists, and 400 volunteers, Equest serves over 1,200 clients annually.