Close to $10,000 was raised in support of the Canadian Dressage Athlete Assistance Program (C-DAAP) at the ‘Dressage Soiree’ fundraising event held Saturday evening, June 21, during the CDI3* Equivents competition.

Held at the Royal Canadian Riding Academy in Cedar Valley, ON, the venue was transformed through a country picnic theme expressed in the décor and menu. Guests were treated to dinner ringside during the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle competitions, showcasing dressage sport at its highest level.

Guests were seated so close to the action that their dinner was delivered via ‘pony express’, with a pony-drawn carriage distributing meals to the box seats. Guests were served fruit and cheese from Vince’s Market, ribs provided by Cobblestone Farms, and mashed potatoes and salads from Reser’s Fine Foods.

“I heard from several people that brought non-horsey friends that they fell in love with our sport and were completely smitten by the magnificence of the animals and the harmonious partnerships,” said event organizer, Kim Goodyear. “The juniors and young riders seating people and helping to deliver food was also a highlight for many, and everyone raved about the food! Overall, we were successful financially while providing our guests with a unique experience.”

As for the competition, Megan Lane of Loretto, ON, wowed the audience by winning the Grand Prix Special with a score of 72.98% riding Caravella while Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, ON, and the handsome chestnut Devon L performed their musical freestyle routine to win the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 72.05%.

In addition to their share of the prize money, the top-placing riders were invited to select items from the Butternut Ridge Prize Table. Prizes included Go-Pro video cameras, a 50″ Samsung Smart TV, a Nespresso coffee machine, a Breville kitchen mixer, and many more fabulous prizes.

Founded by Deborah Kinzinger, the Canadian Dressage Athlete Assistance Program (C-DAAP) is an Equine Canada/Dressage Canada fundraising program developed to support Canadian high performance riders at all levels – senior, young rider, and junior. Last year, grants of $15,000 each were provided to Jacqueline Brooks and Jaimey Irwin to attend the 2013 World Cup Final. This year, the Dressage Canada High Performance Committee awarded five C-DAAP grants of $20,000 each to Brittany Fraser, Megan Lane, Karen Pavicic, Belinda Trussell and Chris von Martels to help off-set the costs of training and competing in Europe. Grants for junior and young riders are also expected to be awarded this year, helping to develop the pipeline of up-and-coming athletes.