The ‘Lunch in the Country’ fundraising event, held June 7th during the Grand Prix Freestyle competition at the CDI-W CornerStone Spring Into Dressage in Palgrave, ON, raised close to $18,000 to support the Canadian Dressage Athlete Assistance Program (C-DAAP).

Held in the new pavilion at the completely renovated Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park, the ‘Lunch in the Country’ fundraising event hosted more than 200 guests, many experiencing the sport of dressage for the first time. A large and plentiful buffet spread included Cobblestone ribs, Resers salads, and an array of cakes from Niche Bakers Corp for dessert. Featured wines were a 2012 Castello Romitorio Morellino di Scansano and a 2012 Silvia Cellars North Coast Chardonnay from the Wine Lover’s Agency.

A silent auction attracted heavy bidding for such items as an original pastel painting by Canadian artist Debbie Goldring, box seats and dinner at the 2014 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and a year’s worth of paper products from Irving Tissue. Additional silent auction items were donated by Bahr Saddlery, Cavendish, Cityline, CornerStone, Deer Ridge Equestrian, Equinus International, Four Seasons Toronto, Greenhawk Equestrian, JD Irving, Langdon Hall, Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals, Polo Management Services, Roberts Gallery, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

When not watching the Freestyle competition, guests enjoyed great soft rock and country music provided by a two-man band, Even Steven.

Guests were treated to great competition in the Grand Prix Freestyle, where riders choreograph required Olympic-level movements to the music of their choice. Diane Creech emerged the winner with a score of 75.10%, claiming the winner’s share of $3,000 in prize money from the total of $10,000 on offer, generously sponsored by Butternut Ridge, as well as a large screen television valued at more than $1,000 from the Butternut Ridge ‘prize table’. Creech was riding Devon L for owners Doug and Louise Leatherdale.

David Marcus won the $5,000 CDI-W Grand Prix with a score of 69.98% riding Chrevi’s Capital for owner Deborah Kinzinger, while Tom Dvorak won the $1,550 CDI-W Grand Prix Special riding Viva’s Salieri for Augustin Walch. For his reward from the Butternut Ridge ‘prize table’, Dvorak picked an Apple iPad Air, valued at $600.

The CDI-W CornerStone Spring Into Dressage was the official dressage test event for the 2015 Pan American Games, which will be hosted at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park. The same management team, headed by Barbara Mitchell and John Taylor, will be responsible for dressage events during the 2015 Pan Am Games scheduled from July 10 to 26.

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.

The next C-DAAP fundraising event, ‘A Dressage Soiree’, will be held Saturday, June 21, during the CDI3* Equivents Grand Prix Freestyle competition at the Royal Canadian Riding Academy in Cedar Valley, ON. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.