California’s Elite Equestrians Flock to the North Bay


To benefit Giant Steps rider’s with disabilities
Ten year-old Bridget was born with a brain lesion that has resulted in severe cognitive, developmental and physical delays.  Her mom marvels that “riding horses at Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center has given Bridget a newfound confidence she never before dreamed possible.” During August 4-8, 2010 Bridget and her fellow students at Giant Steps will get a “leg up” from some elite equestrians who will come together to raise money for Giant Steps programs.

This inaugural Giant Steps Charity Classic is a five-day horse show highlighting California’s finest professional and amateur equestrians who will compete in fantastic events to benefit Giant Step’s Therapeutic Equestrian Program. Sonoma Horse Park, a newly completed world-class facility located off Lakeville Hwy in Petaluma, will be the host. Ashley Griffin, owner of Sonoma Horse Park, says “Giant Steps greatly improves the lives of so many children and adults with disabilities who live here in our community. It is an honor to host these outstanding equestrians who come from all over California to compete in this thrilling Charity event.”  Giant Steps provides unique body/mind/heart-opening experiences to special needs children and adults. They are provided with a catalyst for life-changing opportunities that combines sensor motor integration with a deeply satisfying experience of accomplishment and social interaction.

Olympic Show jumper, Guy Thomas says, “I am both excited and proud to compete at the 2010 Giant Steps Charity Classic! I am looking forward to a very challenging course and great competition. It is an absolute honor to be able to compete at the highest level against some of California’s best riders and to benefit such an incredible charity.  I’m so excited about meeting Bridget and talking with her about the possibilities that lie ahead for her.”

“Pleasures of Petaluma” featured on Thursday during the Equitation Classic Competition, will highlight local artists and their work exhibited alongside local restaurants & wineries.  Friday afternoon will feature the Ultra Motor A2B Ride & Drive combining show jumping with a rowdy vehicle obstacle course. On Sunday afternoon professionals, amateurs and juniors will all compete for a large cash prize in a Hunter Derby.

On Saturday, the premier event of the week, the Grand Prix Gala (formerly Giant Steps Annual Steppin’ Out Charity Auction), will feature California’s finest horse and rider teams who will attempt 12-14 extravagant 5 feet jumps. “Saturday’s Grand Prix will be an evening of nail-biting, electrifying competition, followed by an amazing live auction, and gourmet dinner. This will be a celebration of the incredible sport of show jumping, and in tandem will allow Giant Steps to continue changing the lives of children and adults with disabilities,” says Ms. Griffin.

In addition to the competition, this event will showcase all the culinary delights that Sonoma & Marin Counties’ have to offer including wine tasting and pairing and dishes prepared by celebrated chefs. Local restaurants, vendors, artists and farmers as well as the community are invited to participate.

Sponsorship opportunities are available and will provide an ideal venue for a captive audience to see your company name and logo. There are also volunteer opportunities for getting in on the ground floor of this historical event that will surely become an annual highlight on the Petaluma calendar. To sponsor this event or become a volunteer, please call Giant Steps at 707-769-8900.

# # #

For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Executive Director/Founder, Robert Pope, please call Lissa Ferreira at 707-769-8900 ext. 13 or email Lissa at

About Sonoma Horse Park
Sonoma Horse Park is Northern California’s newest horse show facility.  This world-class facility offers nine beautiful rings for the 2010 English horse show season.  Its goal is to offer superior shows that not only cater to the equestrian world, but also showcase all that Sonoma County has to offer.  It is inviting wineries, local vendors, artists, celebrated chefs, restaurants, and farmers to its various events.  Watching the shows are free and there are also VIP tables

Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center  is located on the same grounds as Sonoma Horse Park at Riverside Equestrian Center.  Giant Steps helps children and adults with physical, emotional, and developmental challenges, such as, ADHD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy.

The upcoming event for Giant Steps will be held on Aug. 4-8.  It is a Charity Classic Horse Show and should be loads of fun for the whole family.  Guy Thomas, Olympic Show jumper, will be competing.  There will also be a gala on the Saturday of the event.

Upcoming horse shows at Sonoma Horse Park

Equestrian Challenge (C) May 19-28
June Classic (A) June 16-20
Equestrian Classic I (AA) July 27 – Aug. 1
August Classic (A)  Aug. 25-29
September Classic (A)   Sept. 8 – 12
Strides & Tides Sept.(A)  15-19

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *