From winning world championships to winning gold medals, champion driver Suzy Stafford has found great success in the field of combined driving. Stafford hasn’t done it alone, however, and believes it takes a “team” for real success to be achieved. Stafford, who has been nominated for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with her registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine, recently called upon her team – which includes sponsors, clients, friends, family, horse lovers and driving enthusiasts – to take part in an online eBay auction to help her raise the finances needed to travel to the World Championships in Slovenia.
“The eBay auction featured a variety of fabulous equestrian and non-equestrian items and I want to thank everyone who went online and bid,” Stafford said. “I have raised half of my budget for the trip and this was a big help in getting closer to reaching my goal. Shipping a pony and two carriages overseas is quite expensive, as you can imagine! There was a lot of last minute, ‘stealth’ bidding, and I am very pleased with the enthusiasm of the bidders and the outcome of the auction.”
Stafford added that she also wanted to thank all of the supporters who stood behind her and donated prizes. “There were so many fabulous items, from dressage or driving lessons with Larry Poulin to a catered three-course dinner for six to signed Breyer Model Horse statues. The two most popular items turned out to be the Dansko shoes and quilted dog bed; they went for more than expected,” Stafford said. “All the proceeds from the auction will go toward helping Josie and I travel to the World Championships in Slovenia, a trip that will cost over $40,000 including airfare for Josie and the shipping of the carriages and equipment. Without the support of my sponsors and contributors, none of this would be possible. Knowing that I have been helped in such a big way makes me even more thrilled to thank all of the donors, including Dover Saddlery, Shawn Faust, Jim Graham, Hidden Valley Acres, Bit of Britain, Beth and Dan Steinke, Chester Weber, Dansko, Unionville Feed, Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Vita Flex, Equine Journal, Larry Poulin and Harness by Smucker.”
If Stafford is successful in raising the funds for the trip, the 2011 World Pony Driving Championships will be the fourth time for Stafford to represent the United States. At the 2005 World Pony Championships Stafford won an individual Gold Medal with Cefnoakpark Bouncer and in 2007 Stafford and Bouncer won a Team Bronze. In 2009, Stafford won an Individual Bronze with Courage To Lead owned by Beverly Lesher. “I know Josie and I are up for the challenge and I look forward to doing the best for our country and my goal is to bring home medals,” she said. “In the meantime, I hope everyone who bid on items from the auction will enjoy their prizes to the fullest.”
Some of the items in Stafford’s eBay auction included: a one-week vacation water front rental house in Maine; a personal brewery tour and tasting by the owner/brewer of Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton, Pennsylvania; a new deluxe Black with Brass Harness by Smucker; a “signed” Breyer Model of Jamaica, Chester Weber’s Horse of the Year; a “signed” Breyer model of Stafford’s Gold Medal driving pony Cefnopark Bouncer; a new Charles Owen Helmet; a “signed” print from Delaware artist Shawn Faust; a one-hour photography lesson with nationally recognized photo journalist Jim Graham; training with Bronze and Silver Medal Dressage rider/trainer Stacey Parvey-Larrson; a pair of Dansko shoes; a new bridle and many other items.
To learn more about Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com. Donations for Stafford’s trip to the World Pony Championships can also be made directly through her website.
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