The 2018 Hampton Classic Jump for Charity: Pal-O-Mine Equestrian

BY ANNIE BIRMINGHAM

The eight days of competition are well underway at the 2018 Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, New York, and with it comes the excitement of competitors and equine enthusiasts alike watching from around the country.

One particularly unique aspect of this week’s competition includes the third annual Jump for Charity, which will take place on Friday, August 31st during the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier. The class benefits ten different local charities connected to the Hamptons and/or the equestrian community. Chosen by the Hampton Classic staff, ten “team captains” participating in the class (ranging from “international FEI riders to up-and-coming stars to Olympians”) are paired with one of ten charities selected by random draw to benefit from the sale of fundraising apparel, and are also entitled to a piece of the prize money won by their rider.

The volunteer team from Pal-O-Mine Equestrian fundraising at the infamous Belmont Racetrack. Photo courtesy of Pal-O-Mine Equestrian.

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian was founded in 1995 as a therapeutic riding program for the disabled. Gatti was inspired to start the foundation after reading Danielle Steele’s Palomino, a novel about a young rider who opened a therapeutic riding center after a fall from her horse left her in a wheelchair. “I always knew I wanted to teach, and I was a competitive rider growing up, so it was a natural fit!” Today, the foundation houses multiple programs, ranging from unmounted horsemanship and hippotherapy to military wellness programs and corporate leadership workshops, all of which benefit children and adults alike through interaction with Pal-O-Mine’s “herd” of 17 therapy horses, 5 miniature horses, 2 goats, 4 miniature donkeys, a sheep, a rabbit, and coop full of chickens.

Pal-O-Mine Equestrian’s Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program provides therapy for those suffering from grief, trauma, abuse, eating disorders, substance abuse, and codependency to teach coping skills and responsibility. Photo courtesy of Pal-O-Mine Equestrian.

Interested in getting involved? Take advantage of one of the many volunteer opportunities at Pal-O-Mine Equestrian. “Volunteers are the backbone of Pal-O-Mine. Volunteers may work directly with our children and adults in lessons, help with barn chores, and/or assist in raising money by lending your fundraising skills.”

A participant of Pal-O-Mine’s Hippotherapy program enjoying a session on one of the foundation’s 17 therapy horses. Photo courtesy of Pal-O-Mine Equestrian.

To get involved at Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, contact Andrea Casey, volunteer coordinator, at [email protected], or 631-348-1389. To purchase your 2018 Hampton Classic Jump for Charity merchandise to benefit Pal-O-Mine Equestrian and nine other charities, be sure to visit the official Hampton Classic booth in the Boutique Garden (or visit the online store here), and be sure to cheer on #TeamBluman this Friday in the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier!

Pal-O-Mine’s Military Wellness Program is beneficial to military veterans suffering from the symptoms of PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and more. Photo courtesy of Pal-O-Mine Equestrian.

About the Author: Annie Birmingham is an 18 year old equestrian from Long Island, New York. A freshman at Long Island University studying equine management, Annie can usually be found spending time at the barn and grooming at horse shows up and down the East Coast.

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