The Great Charity Challenge: horses and riders in costumes riding for charity and for 2022 raising $1.7 Million for local charities! This is, without any doubt, a tremendously entertaining evening. At the start there was a new challenge: children and their favorite animals who had paired up with a local charity. Judged for costumes, of both humans and animals, the winner’s prize money of $24,000 was given in grants to local charities.
For the jumping part of the Challenge there were 33 teams of three riders; one professional and two junior or amateur riders. Rider 1 jumped 7 fences of 1.10 meters, Rider 2, 7 jumps of 1.2 Meters and Rider 3, 7 jumps at 1.3 Meters. This was a speed race and a knockdown added 2 seconds to the team’s time. This year the theme was Children’s Books . That brought Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan to name but a few of the characters who came in to jump.
From the get go these riders were going for it. I realized I have not seen a speed class in some time. These riders are not just cantering around they are booking it in a full gallop! Even with raising my shutter speed I could barely capture them. Here are some photos .
And the last team to go,16 year old Caroline Mawhinney,17 year old Mia Albelo, and jumper professional Jessica Mendoza knew the time they had to beat. They had to go faster than 94.883 seconds for the 21 jumps. And they went for it. Here is a video. Speed! Watch this!
They did it! Their final time was 93.779. And that meant the $100,000 prize went to the charity they were paired with Wellington PTA PTO PTSA a local non profit that helps all public schools in Wellington. Second place was the Team of Peter Pan with their time so 94.885 who won $90,000 for their charity, Friends of Palm Beach.
The third place team, with a time of 95.075, won $80,000 for the Friends of Foster Children.All of the teams will have won funds for their charities right down to the 33rd place team who will get a minimum of $15,000 for their charity. So everyone was a winner!
Over the 13 years that the Great Charity Challenge has been going an amazing $15.9 million has been distributed to Palm Beach County non- profit organizations.
Last year the event was held virtually but this year that stands were full. There was a terrific atmosphere with families, children of all ages, some horse people and some not, but all were enjoying the costumes and the excitement of the speed jumping. All the costs of presenting the show were met by Equestrian Sport Productions and Global Equestrian Group so all of the funds donated by sponsors and corporations can go directly to the charities.