EQUUS Foundation in the news
February 24, 2015

Ride-off Between Lillie Keenan and Beezie Madden Determined Winning Team at EQUUS Foundation 2015 Fete Cheval Etoile

It came down to a ride-off between Lillie Keenan and Beezie Madden on February 20th, but the seven teams of grand prix riders were not just jumping against the clock in the EQUUS Foundation’s first Best Performance Team Invitational. The top ranked riders were being judged by legends George H. Morris and Katie Prudent on their style under the lights in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.

"It was a lot of fun, and it’s nice to be able to participate in a class that gives back to the horses that do so much for us," Keenan explained. "The EQUUS Foundation is a great organization not only for the horses but also for how horses can help people. We all do this sport because we love the horse." Madden added, "We all just love to do something to benefit such a great organization like EQUUS Foundation. It was a great night for us to have a little fun."

Each rider was awarded a score from the judges, and the lowest score from each team was dropped. At the end of the first round, Beezie Madden rose to the top as the individual front-runner, claiming the title of Best Individual Performance with a score of 99.

While Madden was the clear individual winner, the team competition came down to the wire and a showdown between the Ariat/Animal Planet sponsored team, composed of Madden, Georgina Bloomberg and Nicole Shahanian-Simpson, and the CallariCars.com team of Rodrigo Pessoa, Lillie Keenan and Ali Wolff.

Sitting tied with each other, each team elected one representative to return for a ride-off, with Madden coming forward for team Ariat/Animal Planet and Keenan stepping up to the plate for team CallariCars.com. With a rail down, Madden’s score of 90 fell short to Keenan’s score of 96, clinching the first Best Performance Team title for the CallariCars.com Pessoa, Keenan and Wolff team.

Best Performance Team Invitational Winner
Left to Right: Flavia Callari, Silvia Callari, Rodrigo Pessoa, Lillie Keenan, Ali Wolff, Beezie Madden, Chyrstine Tauber, Jenny Belknap Kees, and Harry de Leyer. de Leyer, owner of 2015 inductee Snowman, was the lucky winner of the Individual Gold Medal raffle.

Beezie Madden
Beezie Madden on Zinnia owned by Lilly Higgins.

Lillie Keenan
Lillie Keenan on Londinium owned by Chansonette Farm LLC.


Rodrigo Pessoa
Rodrigo Pessoa on Toscane Lerchenberg owned by Pessoa Stables LLC & T. Kohler Horse Training.

Ali Wolff
Ali Wolff on Artemis owned by John C. Wolff.

The climatic ride-off finish marked the successful end to an evening that celebrated the positive impact that horses have in our lives. Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President, spoke briefly and introduced the new EQUUS Foundation video produced by the Infamous Productions team of James Wooster and Brian Lookabill, who served as Emcee.

Jenny Belknap Kees, EQUUS Foundation Chairman, and Chrystine Tauber, USEF President, announced the ten new inductees into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame and honored the owners who were able to attend.

Guests attending the EQUUS Foundation's Fete Cheval Etoile were the first to applaud the amazing horses when the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats were revealed at the event for the first time and on the Horse Stars Hall of Fame website.

The EQUUS Foundation partnered with the United States Equestrian Foundation (USEF) in 2013 to establish the Horse Stars Hall of Fame to honor the extraordinary talent of horses and the bond between horses and people.

Hall of Fame Inductees
Left to Right: Harry de Leyer representing Snowman, Holly Schmitt Fox on behalf of Pete owned by DreamPower Horsemanship, Beezie Madden, representing Cortes ‘C’, who was close by in the FEI Tent, Michell Anne Kimball, owner of Spooks Gotta Whiz, and representing Leslie Berndl, owner of Uminco, Macadamia’s owner Ed & Mary Glasscock, and Bruce Griffin Elis GV’s trainer with his wife Staci & daughter Janae, and Elis GV’s owner Dr. Jim & Beth Kornegay. The inductees and the audience were thrilled by the appearance of Magic, shown here with Jenny Belkap Kees, Chrystine Tauber, and owner Jorge Bengochea of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses.


Hosted annually by the EQUUS Foundation, the Fete Cheval Etoile helps raise funds to support equine charities that are improving the lives of horses, promoting the use of horses to enrich lives and educating the public about the horse’s unique abilities to empower, teach and heal.

Since its inception, the EQUUS Foundation has awarded nearly $3 million in grants and over 800 equine organizations across the United States participate on the Foundation’s Equine Welfare Network. The EQUUS Foundation is the only national animal welfare organization that is dedicated solely to horse welfare.

The event would not have been possible without the support of the generous team sponsors and the riders who donated their time. Participating team riders and sponsors included:

Ariat and Animal Planet: Beezie Madden, Georgina Bloomberg and Nicole Shahanian-Simpson
Blackburn Architects: Schuyler Riley, Max Amaya and Haley Barnhill
CallariCars.com: Rodrigo Pessoa, Lillie Keenan and Ali Wolff
Chronicle of the Horse: Candice King, Nicole Bellissimo and Brianne Goutal
EQUUS Foundation: McLain Ward, Oliver McCarthy and Jimmy Torano
Fairfield Equine: Laura Kraut, Kirsten Coe and Jessica Springsteen
Split Rock Jumping Tour: Derek Braun, Alex Granato and Catherine Pasmore

The EQUUS Foundation would also like to thank its medal sponsors who made the event possible:

GOLD MEDAL SPONSORS: Viviane Garner; Stephanie & John Ingram; Sydney Keith; Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Springsteen; Visse Wedell;

SILVER MEDAL SPONSORS: Jenny Belknap Kees & Tim Kees; Jane Forbes Clark; Ann T. D’Addario Family Foundation; Jeannine & Andrew Flower/Tracy & Christian Harris; The Hymowitz Family; Pamela Keenan; Kennedy Equine; Louisburg Farm; Quiet Corner Farm; The Rice Family; Windsor Farm/Kensel; Wrenwood Farms;

BRONZE MEDAL SPONSORS: Alexandra Cherubini & Camilio Alvarez; Marsha Dammerman; Dr. & Mrs. Steven Herman; Lindsay Holstead; Lisa Kerkorian; Marshall & Sterling; Mr. & Mrs. Juan Pablo Meija Fanjul; Caroline Moran; Old Barrington Farm; Old Salem Farm; Valley View Stables; Anne & George Walker.

EQUUS Foundation Video

Karin Offield, Harry de Leyer, Chrystine & George Tauber photographed in the new Horse Stars Hall of Fame exhibit on display for the first time at the event.


Lynn Coakley with Alison Borris, Chanse Huggins and Vivia Bewsherof Ariat International. In addition to being a team sponsor, Ariat provided each of the winners with Monaco Stretch boots.


Lynn Coakley, John Blackburn, Philip Richter & Sarah Willeman. Blackburn Architects provided each of the winners with the book, "Healthy Stables by Design".

Photos courtesy of Phelps Media Group.

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About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.