Lafitte De Muze

Photo courtesy of Dana Goedewaagen, Blue Moon Images
(2011 – )
Owned by Cheryl Olsten
Inducted: 2023


Photo courtesy of A&S
Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback
Photo courtesy of Sportflot
Photo courtesy of A&S
Photo courtesy of Tricia Booker Photography
Photo courtesy of Alden Corrigan
Even before 8-year-old Lafitte De Muze arrived in the United States in the fall of 2017, his owner Cheryl Olsten had a premonition of the gelding's future competitive success in the hunter ring with trainer Amanda Steege. Her expectations were only confirmed when the striking Belgian Warmblood smoothly settled into his new program and began competing just a few months after his arrival.

"There was something about Lafitte when he first arrived," Olsten explains. "He had this confident spirit, and he adapted immediately; bright eyed, inquisitive and so friendly.

In fact, it was partially Lafitte's charisma that inspired Olsten to make a bold move herself. Beginning in 2018, Olsten has donated all of Lafitte's prize money--over $350,000 as of 2023--to support the EQUUS Foundation's mission to help horses at risk of suffering abuse or neglect.

"Amanda will say Lafitte has heart, he is the ultimate teammate, the ultimate competitor and friend," says Olsten. "It's that heart, that spirit, that prompted me to share his journey into the hunter ring with a charitable organization.

"And what a great "ride" it's been," continues Olsten. "A win for Lafitte is a win for horses in need."

Olsten's action was the inspiration for the EQUUS Foundation Equine Ambassadors program, which recognizes sport horses whose owners donate a portion of their horse show winnings to help ensure that all horses are safe, healthy, and treated with dignity as partners. Lafitte was the first Equine Ambassador.

"We all work hard, and want our horses to do well, but at what cost?" says Olsten. "There is no place for abuse in or out of the show ring, or neglect when owners can no longer care for them. There are good options."

In addition, Lafitte is part of the inspiration behind Olsten's children's book Big Wishes for Little Feat. Olsten's book has touched the hearts of many with her inspiring tale of a horse that overcomes challenges and a girl who never stops believing. In the story, a special horse named Lafitte De Muze (nicknamed Little Feat) and a young girl named Ella are eventually brought together by a bit of fate, Ella's quirky aunt, and a shooting star. It's a story about true friendship, facing and overcoming obstacles, and most importantly, always believing.

Beyond any of his competitive victories in the hunter and international derby rings--some of which include the Capitol Challenge in Maryland, the Hunter Spectacular in Florida, and the National Horse Show in Kentucky--Olsten is most proud of the fact that Lafitte has led the way for horses to "Pay It Forward" to help ensure that all horses stay safe throughout their lives.

"What sets him apart and stands forever as his legacy is his role in spreading awareness of the thousands of horses each year that are at risk for abuse or neglect when their owners can no longer care for them," says Olsten. "It's been very gratifying knowing that Lafitte's prize monies are going toward saving horses in need. I'm sure if he knew, he would feel very proud too."