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Building Bridges Foundation Helps Veterans and Their Families

By Marcella Peyre-Ferry - September 2017
Alluson Plasterer and Gene Vandiver

You don’t have to ride a horse to benefit from being around them. Just being with horses and working with them from the ground can bring emotional issues into perspective and help with healing.

Building Bridges Foundation, a non-profit organization based at Anderson Farms in Conestoga, PA, offers an Equine Assisted Therapy program specializing in helping veterans, active duty service members and their families through equine assisted psychotherapy.

Started in January 2017, Building Bridges Foundation began with a series of six group Saturday sessions for veterans. “We’re very new and very growing,” Equine Specialist Allyson Plasterer said. 

Each week’s session begins with journaling therapy through an organization called Write Face, followed by work with the horses, and then another writing session.

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Fifteen Deaths - So Far - Put Saratoga Under a Black Cloud
By Suzanne Bush - September 2017
Patrick Battuello and Nicole Arciello

Life comes at you fast. And that’s just perfect for Shariah Harris, who made her debut in the sport of high goal polo this summer.

The 2017 thoroughbred racing meet at Saratoga had not even begun when a horse named Lakalas collapsed and died after breezing. It was May 28, and in retrospect, it could have been an omen presaging another tragic season at Saratoga. Since Lakalas’ death—as of August 20--15 horses have died or were euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries. Some of the horses collapsed after training or racing. Some took a bad step and fractured bones or tore tendons.

Saratoga’s seven-week thoroughbred race meet began on July 21. With just weeks to go before the end of the season, the state’s gaming commission was scrambling to identify the root of the problems.

During the 2016 meet 16 thoroughbreds died at Saratoga. That’s just one more than the number of horses that died in the first 26 days of Saratoga’s 2017 season. The collision between the ideal of thoroughbred racing and the reality of so many deaths at one racetrack in a concentrated period of time has generated protests at the racetrack. An organization called Horseracing Wrongs monitors racetracks all over the country, and they’ve been busy handing out leaflets in Saratoga and urging people to join them in demanding an end to horseracing.

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Fair Hill Gets Four Star Nod from USEF
September 2017

Fair Hill International was endorsed July 5 by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) as the site of the second CCI4* (4*) to be held in the United States. The recommendation will be forwarded to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) for a final decision in the fall.

The 4* is the pinnacle of the sport of eventing, and only six events of this level are held worldwide.

"We are thrilled with the USEF's announcement," said Trish Gilbert, Co-President of Fair Hill International.  "Our team has worked really hard to bring the 4* to Fair Hill. It is an honor to be selected to put on an event of this caliber - to showcase Maryland and the beautiful Fair Hill terrain on a world stage."  FHI's Executive Director, Carla Geiersbach, agreed, "The teamwork that has made this selection possible is extraordinary.  Our partners include multiple equestrian disciplines and also span the public and private sectors."

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Robbie Zekany Inducted into Polo Hall of Fame
By Stephanie Shertzer Lawson - September 2017
Robbie Zekany being inducted into the US Polo Association Hall of Fame

Many Lancaster Polo players, perhaps nailing a perfect off-side back shot, have fantasized about someday being inducted into the US Polo Association Hall of Fame. Undoubtedly none of them imagined that the club’s first USPA Hall of Fame inductee would be loyal longtime flagger, Robbie Zekany, who has played an important role at Lancaster Polo games for more than 35 years.

Lancaster Polo held an appreciation day in his honor on July 30 at Forney Field in Rothsville, PA.  USPA CEO Duncan Huyler attended the match and awarded him a plaque after the game played in his honor. “Robbie’s dedication to the Lancaster Polo Club and to our sport is an inspiration to all of us at the USPA. We celebrate this amazing milestone and thank Robbie for his incredible efforts,” Huyler said.

A flagger tends one of two goals on the polo field, indicates when a goal is made or missed, and retrieves balls and places them for the knock in.

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Advertise in the November 2017 issue of Pennsylvania Equestrian
To advertise or for more information, please contact: Debbie Reid or Phyllis Hurdleston at 717-509-9800. or
P.O. Box 8412, Lancaster, PA 17604
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