Edward Marshall, Andres Coles, Lynn Coakley, and Bill Woodson @ Geoff Tischman Photography

Over 150 guests who love horses and want to safeguard their future, joined the EQUUS Foundation on Saturday evening, February 22, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, for its “Saturday Night Lights” event presented by Boston Private

In welcoming guests, Lynn Coakley remarked, “We are grateful to our title sponsor, Boston Private, and Bill Woodson, for making this event possible and to all our guests who helped us make our evening for horses truly shine. Horses give us their heart and soul. We owe it to them to make sure they are safe and loved throughout their lives.” 

The Wellington Club tent was buzzing as guests enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner, but clearly, the highlight of the evening was the spectacular, ringside viewing of the $401,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5* — won by two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward riding his 2016 Olympic mount, HH Azur. 

“We are so fortunate to have the privilege of watching the most beautiful and elite horses compete here tonight,” said Valerie Angeli, VP of the EQUUS Foundation, when addressing guests. 

Angeli shared some highlights of a successful previous year for the EQUUS Foundation, including the merger of The Rider’s Closet, founded by Georgina Bloomberg in 2006, as an EQUUS Foundation program. The Rider’s Closet collects new and gently used equestrian apparel to donate to equestrians, athletic teams and organizations in need. 

“We are in a stronger position than ever now to create opportunities for horses AND increase opportunities for more people to benefit from their magic and power,” said Angeli.

Angeli recognized the contribution of Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation Founder and President, in creating the EQUUS Foundation in 2002 when she realized that, after looking into retiring her daughter’s show horse, there were few options for next chapters for horses ending one career and needing another.

Coakley was presented with a beautiful, sterling silver horse pendant by long-standing EQUUS Foundation supporter, Dr. Vincent J. Abbatiello, for her passionate work in protecting America’s horses.