Equest’s 40th Anniversary Gala: Celebrating 40 Years of Horse Power

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Equest’s 40th Anniversary Gala: Celebrating 40 Years of Horse Power

2021 commemorates Equest’s 40th year of providing life-changing achievements for children and adults with special needs through the human-horse connection. Equest’s 40th Anniversary Gala: Celebrating 40 Years of Horse Power will not only pay tribute to the past and present but will look towards the future of Equest. This year, the anniversary gala will be combined with the annual Boots & Salutes fundraiser for one smashing evening on Saturday, June 5, 2021, 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., at its newest facility, the Al Hill, Jr. Arena, at Equest at Texas Horse Park.


Led by Co-Chairs Lisa and Kendall Laughlin and Katherine and Austin Wyker, the powerfully passionate and vibrant committee will infuse the next level of Southern charm, food, style and entertainment to the gala. Lisa has been a member of the Equest Women’s Auxiliary since 2014 and is a proud grandmother to Elizabeth Laughlin, one of Equest’s clients. Katherine joined the Equest family in 2019, and her family foundation is a therapy-horse sponsor and contributor to the capital campaign for the new Al Hill, Jr. Arena. Both of these dedicated women serve on the Equest Board of Directors, and with their husbands, are devoted champions to Equest’s mission.


Equestrian couture will replace tuxedos and gowns, and magnolias will adorn the transformed arena for this stellar Southern soiree. The evening will feature a welcoming cocktail reception, seated dinner, live and silent auctions and a performance by the energetic 11-piece Walton Stout Band of the Jordan Kahn Group. All of Equest’s precious partners, clients, friends and Hoofed Health Care Heroes – the beloved therapy horses – will unite to celebrate the achievements of Equest’s 40-year history and raise much-needed funds to allow Equest to continue its life-changing impact.


Equest’s 40th Anniversary Gala will also recognize and pay tribute to visionaries of the past, present and future. These Honorary Chairs have demonstrated boundless commitment, advocacy, and heart for Equest’s mission.


Honorary Chairs:

1980-1990 – Susan Schwartz and Louise
and Guy Griffeth

1990-2000 – Steve Barnett and
Dr. Candice Chandler

2000-2010 – Pamela and Michael Petty

2010-2020 – Carol and William Huckin and The Huckin/Lupton Family

2020 to the future – Julia and Blake Schwarz and Caitlin and Thomas Laughlin


“Humans. Horses. Hope. This has been our mantra since 1981 when Equest opened as the first therapeutic horsemanship center in Texas,” says Equest CEO Lili Kellogg. “It makes my heart full to be celebrating this mantra 40 years later with the ones whose hard work and dedication have made Equest what it is today, an internationally-recognized industry leader.”

About Equest

Founded in 1981, Equest provides equine-assisted learning, therapies and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping and learning disabilities, as well as veterans and their dependents who receive all of Equest’s services at no charge. The services provided include physical and occupational therapy, equine facilitated counseling and equine-assisted learning, therapeutic carriage driving, therapeutic horsemanship and competition. With the help of 30 therapy horses, eight instructors, four therapists, three counselors, and 700 volunteers, lives are changed for the more than 2,000 served annually. Equest was the first PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Texas and remains one of the largest in the country. Equest offers an engaging volunteer program that provides 30,000 hours of direct program service opportunities each year. www.equest.org.

About Equest 40th Anniversary

The 40-year history of Equest is how legends are made. Founded in 1981 by Evelyn Zembrod and Susan Schwartz under the name Freedom Ride Foundation, the organization began with just one instructor, one horse, two riders, and four volunteers. Over the next four decades, Equest evolved into a world-class therapeutic equestrian center, the first in Texas. It expanded its therapeutic programs, received premier accreditation by industry association, and began entering prominent riding competitions, including World Championships and Paralympics, on behalf of Team U.S. Of the twenty-four PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructors across the world, Equest is home to three. Equest’s international reputation even initiated a visit from Princess Anne and, most recently, members of the World Affairs Council Visiting Leadership Program representing seven countries. 


2021 will be celebrating Equest’s landmark 40th anniversary all year with a series of events, including the launch of a new monthly giving campaign, the opening of a new arena, an emotionally- powerful gala that will pay tribute to Equest’s past, present, and future, and a special veterans initiative produced by Equest’s Hooves for Heroes. To mark its 40th year, Equest designated the Magnolia, a symbol of longevity, nobility, perseverance, and purity, as its signature flower and recurring theme throughout the year. For more information about Equest and its landmark 40th Anniversary, please visit www.Equest.org.


Equest’s 40th Anniversary Gala: Celebrating 40 Years of Horse Power will be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021, 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., at its newest facility, the Al Hill, Jr. Arena, at Equest at Texas Horse Park (811 Pemberton Hill Road, Dallas, TX 75217). Underwriting opportunities are available at various levels. Tables for 10 are available to purchase starting at $5,000 at www.equest.org/gala. For more information, please visit www.equest.org or call 972.412.1099.
Equest is committed to making the safety of its employees, members, and guests an utmost priority. The organization will be following and adhering to the Center for Disease Control’s coronavirus guidelines regarding the safety of hosting gatherings, as well as state regulations and recommendations. Safety measure requirements and protocols will be addressed at www.equest.org/gala closer to the date.

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