The inaugural ‘A Royal Canadian Evening’, held November 6th at the historic Casa Loma in the heart of Toronto, proved to be an extremely successful fundraising event for the Canadian Dressage Athlete Assistance Program (C-DAAP).

Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield entertained the audience as the keynote speaker at the black-tie affair, auctioning off the Canadian-made Norman guitar he played at the end of the evening. Countess Bathurst was the Patron of ‘A Royal Canadian Evening’ while Canadian comedian Neil Aitchison acted as Master of Ceremonies. Butternut Ridge was the presenting sponsor, joined by supporting sponsors Omega Alpha and Groundswell.

Friends of Canadian dressage came together to support C-DAAP, which in turn supports the future of the sport by awarding grants to Canadian athletes. The brainchild of Deborah Kinzinger Miculinic, C-DAAP was developed as a means of assisting Canadian dressage athletes at the junior, young rider and high performance levels with the training, competitive and educational expenses incurred during their quest to represent Canada on the world stage.

“The evening, which went off perfectly, was definitely a ‘Royal Canadian’ evening,” detailed Kinzinger Miculinic. “Our Patron, The Countess Bathurst, entered the beautiful estate of Casa Loma under the watchful eye of two mounted RCMP officers, and having Commander Chris Hadfield as our keynote speaker was one of the highlights of the evening. The event was designed to be a grand, one-of-a-kind night, and that it was! From unique auction items to selling portraits of Canada’s top high performance horses, all of the net proceeds benefitted C DAAP.”
With a variety of tempting items up for auction, the elegant dark bay filly, Bojidar, donated by Butternut Ridge, attracted the highest bid of the night. Sired by Belissimo M and out of a Sandro Hit dam, Bojidar carries bloodlines rich in dressage history, making her an excellent horse sport prospect.

A travel package to England incited a bidding war. The package included a one-week stay at The Earl and Countess Bathurst’s estate in the Cotswolds, two nights at the Hampshire Four Seasons Hotel and Equestrian Center, and a $2,000 Air Canada gift voucher to travel in style.

Also proving extremely popular was the opportunity to customize a package with Christilot Boylen. The six-time Canadian Olympian offered her insight in the manner that best-suited the winning bidder, whether it was a riding, horse, or stable evaluation, or a corporate speaking engagement. As a memento of the experience, Boylen also gifted her 1971 Pan American Games Gold Medal won in Cali, Colombia.

“I am so appreciative of the support from those who purchased tickets and/or auction items, and I am very grateful to our supporting sponsors, Omega Alpha and Groundswell, who made the evening possible,” said Kinzinger Miculinic. “Raising funds for dressage is certainly not easy, and it requires the support of our entire community if we are to be able to provide funds to our riders when they need it most. This past year was very successful as C-DAAP provided funding in excess of $130,000 to seven riders, and provided an additional $30,000 to various rider support programs such as the 2014 Florida Fortnight, with more to come!

“They say you eat an elephant one bite at a time and, bite by bite, with each dollar donated and each fundraiser we hold, C-DAAP will help our riders with funding to train and compete against the best in the world,” concluded Kinzinger Miculinic. “Following this event, Canada is one step closer to reaching the podium in international dressage.”