FAR HILLS, N.J. — "Every once in a while, something special crosses your path, and with that, an opportunity presents itself. And so it is with Lafitte De Muze," said Cheryl Olsten.
Back in October of 2017, Olsten and her trainer and rider Amanda Steege, who is based at Ashmeadow Farm in Far Hills, N.J., decided it was time to look for a new Hunter Derby prospect as her stallion Loxley was having soundness issues and she wanted to give him the proper time to rest.
The timing was perfect as another client of Steege's happened to send a link to a horse in Germany she thought Steege would be really excited about.
Wasting no time, Steege flew over to Germany to ride Lafitte, and then over to Amsterdam to try another horse. They were both excellent prospects, however, Olsten knew full well that Steege already fell in love with Lafitte.
Steege shows in Ocala, Fla. in the winter, and it wasn't long after Lafitte arrived that he was winning many of his classes in the Green 3'6" division and had a growing fan base.
"He's one sweet horse," said Olsten "that just happens to have loads of talent. There was something about this horse that I knew had more of a purpose. As his earnings quickly grew, the thought came to me to donate all of his prize money to a cause."
Recently, Lafitte was second in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the I Love New York Horse Show in Lake Placid.
"After researching, and speaking to Lynn Coakley, the President of the EQUUS Foundation about what I had in mind, I knew without a doubt that the EQUUS Foundation was the perfect organization. They make sure that equine charities receiving financial support are fully transparent and are operating at the highest standards for horse care," said Olsten.
The story of the EQUUS Foundation, and their message, is to help those in need and think about others who are less fortunate — horses and people.
"Those are just a few of the virtues that were ingrained in me as a child," said Olsten.
"I recall only too clearly, my father telling me to appreciate and understand what I am fortunate to have, never brag, to give to others that are in need, and above all else be true to oneself and be honest. I couldn't imagine doing things any other way.
As for the sport, we all work hard, and want our horses to do well, but at what cost? It is great to see the United States Equestrian Federation working hard to send that message.
There is no place for abuse in or out of the show ring, or neglect when owners can no longer care for them," said Olsten.
As for Olsten's beautiful Stallion Loxley, she said she has often been asked if she would breed him, and her answer is a re-sounding "not interested, as there is so much talent out there and so many in need of homes".
There are many success stories of horses that were saved from auction that went on to have successful careers. Most horses will have multiple homes during their lifetimes but thousands of horses each year are at risk for abuse or neglect when their owners can no longer care for them.
Hearing of these success stories, and as Lafitte's earnings quickly grew, Olsten decided to donate Lafitte's prize money to help the many unfortunate horses being cast aside.
Olsten expressed her thanks to Amanda Steege, Tim Delovich and the Ashmeadow team for the care, sensitivity and attention they give all the horses and to Lisa Arena Davis, Gerd and Ilona Schonebeck for finding Olsten and Steege their new star in Lafitte.
Lafitte De Muze is a Star for America's Horses, excelling in sport and doing the greater good with his new partner, the EQUUS Foundation.
About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America's horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: 203-259-1550, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.
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