A Good Cause, A Great Show: The Rocking Horse Classic
April 3- If you are looking for a great horse show with a great cause behind it, look no further than New Jersey. Hosted during the New Jersey Quarter Horse Dream Show, you’ll find the Rocking Horse Classic- a horse show dedicated to helping the June Brandy Foundation.
We spoke to JoDee DeVillier, founder of the charity and horse show organizer, about the event. “I founded the charity in fall of 2011 [after] my son was born with kidney disease. We had to have two surgeries in-utero to save his life- the second surgery that was performed was only the eighth time it had been done in the world,” she explains. “We spent six weeks in the NICU, and my son needed numerous surgeries to get him to this point. Currently, he is doing really well but he will eventually need a kidney transplant.”
“Because of my son’s journey, I have met countless families with children that are suffering with pediatric illnesses, disease or disabilities that can’t make ends meet. Even with one working parent, the cost of a chronically ill child can be oppressive. I wanted to help these families, and I wanted to do it through my passion for showing horses. It was then that the charity was born, and the Rocking Horse Classic was first held in 2012. Through the charity, we help fund research into childhood diseases and provide toys to children undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis. We also have an iPad program to help children who are hooked to machines for 10 or 12 hours a day have something to watch or play with that can distract them from their treatments.”
The foundation also sends a family to Camp Sunshine for an all-expense-paid vacation each year through their “Sami’s Sunshine” program. “We supply the toys for the children’s toy boxes and Child Life programs at multiple hospitals,” JoDee continues. “We also help pay for gas, groceries and prescriptions that are not covered under insurance for working families that cannot make ends meet. We sponsor Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) accounts for children that need life saving organ transplants, helping them raise money for their transplant.” The average transplant cost a family $45,000 AFTER insurance. “Last, but not least, we sponsored 76 children this Christmas, providing them with clothes, toys and medical devices they need. The reason we could sponsor and help so many children this Christmas is AQHYA Secretary Lizzy Koons, who did her senior project with the foundation. She made her service project raising money and running our Christmas drive. Through her efforts, we were able to help 30 additional children!”
PleasureHorse.com and Show Horse Today have decided to donate to this worthy cause, and have donated two Premium, one-page ads in Show Horse Today magazine for a value of $175 each. One ad will be given out during the Open Western Pleasure class, the other during Open Showmanship. The Rocking Horse Classic hosts Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle and Showmanship classes. For each of the classes, 100% of the entry fees are donated to the June Brandy Foundation. “Last year, we had over $6,000 in donated prizes for our classes and we raised just over $9,000 including the sponsorships,” JoDee exclaims. “Harris Leather and Silverworks have been very generous in donating money towards the Harris Show Halter that the winner of the Rocking Horse Classic Showmanship Showdown receives. We also have been blessed to have sponsorship from Style Stable, who not only worked with us on pricing for the show coolers, garment bags, halter bags and saddle bags we will be awarding, but also are sending us a lot of free grooming products for our raffle and to be used as supplemental prizes.”
“We also have a relationship with Marci Ryan from Show Ur Photo and Al Ambrose from Ambrose Photo-Graphics LLC to create custom one of a kind show awards with our winner’s win pictures. Wenger’s Saddlery and Billie’s Western Hats have also committed to donating award items. We are very excited for all of these corporate sponsors, including PleasureHorse.com and Show Horse Today.”
“The horse community has been so generous to us,” JoDee continues. “We hold two main events, the Rocking Horse Classic in New Jersey with NJQHA, and the JBF Classic in July, held during the SunTan Circuit with Southern Maryland Quarter Horse Association. Both NJQHA and SMQHA have been critical to the foundation’s success. Through both organizations, we raise more than 80% of the funds we use to provide all the support and programs we donate to the families of these children.”
In addition to all of the wonderful prizes, the Rocking Horse Classic will also feature a raffle including a custom-made rocking horse. 100% of the funds from this beautiful, large, mahogany horse will be used to help fund hospital gowns and pillow cases for chronically ill children that are hospitalized for large portions of the year.