Top Equestrians Team Up With Make-A-Wish Foundation

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Children in the central and northern Florida area had their wishes granted when Pat Parelli, founder of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, traded in his cowboy hat for a jumping saddle during the second annual Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge last month at the Ocala Equestrian Complex. Meanwhile, David O’Connor, Olympian and president of the United States Equestrian Federation, put on a pair of cowboy boots and climbed into a western saddle.

Parelli and O’Connor traded places during the Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge event, A Valentine’s Night to Remember, presented by the Dixie Reined Cow Horse Association. The exhibition featured 10 world-class jumpers trading places with 10 world-class reined cow horse riders in a contest of true horsemanship. During the exhibition, the Western trainer teamed up with a professional from the English jumping world to show each other’s horses. The English riders ran a reining pattern and worked cows, while the western riders jumped a course of fences.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida’s mission is to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The 2010 Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge raised over $11,000.

For more information on the Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge, visit the Dixie Reined Cow Horse Association’s website.