Charities Horse Happenings

Team Purina USA Starts Weekly Practices for The Challenge of The Americas Freestyle Quadrille

Wellington, FL-February 5, 2013-Team Purina USA for The Challenge of The Americas spends several hours every week at Betsy Juliano’s dressage facility, Havensafe Farm, practicing to unveil their unique quadrille freestyle at The Challenge, an event raising funds for breast cancer research.

The U.S. dream team, sponsored by Purina and made up of dressage superstars Pam Goodrich, Chris Hickey, Betsy Steiner, Bill Warren, George Williams and John Zopatti, was all smiles while working hard on their quadrille for The Challenge of the Americas, a fundraiser to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K. on Saturday, March 9, 2013, at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. FEI riders from the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe will compete in a quadrille team challenge, and a gala with dinner and dancing follows the competition.

Team Purina USA practices quadrille for 
The Challenge of The Americas

The Challenge of The Americas is celebrating its 11th year raising funds for breast cancer research and Purina is proud to sponsor the U.S. team. Kimberly James, the National Sponsorship, Events and Ambassador Manager for Purina, said the company is pleased to be a part of the event and has sponsored Team Purina USA since 2006.

“The Challenge of the Americas gives us an opportunity to support a great group working for a great cause,” she said. “Not only do we get to be involved in an entertaining evening showcasing some of the top dressage talent around but, more importantly, we have the opportunity to support the fundraising and breast cancer awareness efforts of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation & Play For P.I.N.K.”

Team Purina USA riders agreed that they enjoy the practice for The Challenge as well as working for the cause.

“It’s a way for me to give, plus there’s nothing like playing on the ponies with my friends for the best cause in the world. And it’s a blast,” said Goodrich, a dressage trainer and instructor for more than 30 years, who said she has been riding in The Challenge for eight or nine years. “It’s to celebrate those who have survived and to give hope to those who are in need.” Goodrich added that the mother of one of her young riders was just diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. “So, I’m doing it for her this time,” she said.

John Zopatti and Betsy Steiner do-si-do

Zopatti, a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Gold Medalist and the four-time winner of the Gold Coast Dressage Association’s Trainer of the Year award, also has reasons why he participates in the Challenge. “I am the single man in my family,” he said. “I have four sisters and my mom and I think it’s important to raise money and awareness for the cause.” He said he has ridden in the event for three or four years. “I love getting together with all the other professionals and this is one of the most fun times of the year,” he said.

Bill Warren, a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist, judge and trainer, said he did this type of exhibition riding in the past and is enjoying doing it again. “I enjoy the camaraderie and the fact that it’s for breast cancer. It’s for a good cause and I want to support that cause,” he said. “Also, this is a group of horses that work well together and this team of six professionals support each other.”

USDF President George Williams agrees. “The camaraderie that this group has is outstanding and we look forward to being able to work together year after year after year because it’s just so much fun doing it,” he said. The event is special to Williams, whose sister did not survive breast cancer.

George Williams riding Betsy Juliano’s Cleopatra

Another team member, top FEI trainer and competitor Betsy Steiner, said she participates in the event for Challenge organizer Mary Ross, whose mother had breast cancer. “She started it for her mom and I support her 100 percent,” she said. “No. 1, I do it for that and No. 2, it’s so much fun to get together with friends and ride our horses and go out to do a performance.” She participated in the first Challenge when it started as a pas de trois and hasn’t missed one in 11 years.

Chris Hickey, a Pan Am team Gold Medalist, agreed with the other pros. “Riding in The Challenge is so much fun, but it’s serious and it’s for a wonderful cause,” he said.

Freestyle guru Terry Ciotti Gallo donated her time to choreograph and provide the musical score for the team. “I do it because we rarely get the opportunity to give back and it’s a wonderful opportunity to help a very good cause,” she said. “Aside from it being a good cause, I get a kick out of being with everybody out here. They are such good workers and they are such nice people. I have huge respect for them and the fact that they are donating their time to this.” She added that she also has the utmost respect for event organizer Mary Ross and her energy to pull The Challenge together. “It’s a wonderful thing that she does for her mother,” she said.

Betsy Juliano, the owner of Havensafe Farm where the team practices the freestyle, also credits Ross with the work she has done. “Mary has done a brilliant job of combining our interests in a very enjoyable and entertaining way, so that’s why this particular benefit is a pleasure,” she said.

Team Purina USA

“I think everyone would agree that the cause for this benefit to support breast cancer research is one of the most important commitments we need to make,” she continued. ” All of us are touched by this disease. I personally am in the process of losing my closest friend right now.” When Juliano purchased the farm in 2007, she continued the previous owner’s tradition of hosting the U.S. team practices. “There is a legacy, so it’s something that’s an honor to do,” she added.

Riders and sponsors agreed that The Challenge of The Americas is certain to be an exciting evening with top riders competing for a worthy cause. “We are proud to support this great event, excited to be a part of Team Purina USA again and looking forward to another evening of dressage we’re all sure to enjoy,” James said.

Team practices for Team Purina USA, as well as the other international teams, will continue until the March 9 competition.

For more information, log onto

Find us on Facebook at


Betsy Steiner sports a helmet with attached shades at 
The Challenge of The Americas practice

The Challenge of The Americas

Fast Facts


The Challenge of The Americas (COTA), known throughout the equestrian world for its spectacular performances on horseback, returns for its 11th anniversary to continue its fight against breast cancer. This annual fundraiser is a one-of-a-kind affair that highlights the equestrian sport of dressage. Competing riders include the “Who’s Who” of top equestrian competitors in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.

There are few, if any, places throughout the world where an audience can delight in the performances of such a large and distinguished group of riders and their magnificent equine partners. The Challenge of The Americas’ teams of international riders compete in quadrilles to world-class music and choreography in an effort to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer. Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play For P.I.N.K.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

5:30 p.m.        Cocktails and hors d’Oeuvres

6:15 p.m.        Opening Ceremonies

6:25 p.m.        Reining Freestyles and Pas de Deux

6:45 p.m.        Quadrille Team Challenge

7:30 p.m.        Award Presentation

7:45 p.m.        The Challenge Gala: Dinner and Dancing


Jim Brandon Equestrian Center

West Palm Beach, Florida


Back on Track Products

Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock, Inc.

International Polo Club Palm Beach 

Merrill Lynch, The Seley Parker Group


Red Barn Feed & Supply


SSG Gloves

Steed Training


United States Dressage Federation

Wellington Classic Dressage

Ticket Information:

Mary Ross

8067 Montserrat Place

Wellington, FL 33414

(561) 433-0988 

Ticket prices:

VIP Tables of 8:

Gold Patron                $6,500 per table

Silver Patron              $4,500 per table

Bronze Patron            $2,000 per table

VIP Individual Seating:

Competition and Gala (includes dinner and dancing)       $250 per person

Competition (includes hors d’oeuvres and cash bar)        $100 per person

General Admission seating $20 per person at the gate

Children 12 and under admitted free (General Admission)

News and Information:

Phelps Media Group

Sue Weakley 

(561) 753-3389
12012 South Shore Blvd., Suite 105
Wellington, FL 33414


The Challenge of The Americas Beneficiaries:

Play for P.I.N.K.

Play for P.I.N.K.® (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) is a grassroots organization dedicated to raising funds to fight breast cancer, by creating and promoting awareness of breast cancer through sporting and lifestyle events including men’s and women’s golf tournaments, tennis, swimming, card games, equestrian events, and shopping benefits.  Our commitment is to contribute 100% of all funds raised to our beneficiary, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. In 2012, PFP donated $4 million to BCRF for a cumulative total of $29.75 million. For more information about PFP, visit



The Breast Cancer Research Foundation