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A Mom Revealed How Equest Is Life Changing For Her Youngsters At Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon

There’s an age-old adage that goes, “Never be in a picture with a kid or an animal.” Well, the sold-out crowd for the 2019 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon tossed that one to the wind with nary a care on Tuesday, October 1, at Brook Hollow Golf Club. With big hosses like Suzy 2 and Hombre looking quite gallant with their riders along the circular drive and the mini-horses working the other side of the driveway, everyone wanted a selfie with the equines. Equest Founder Susan Schwartz was one of the first to meet up with the Equest four-hooved representatives. The well-mannered horses happily posed for photos and avoided taking a break to munch on the lawn.



While Equest volunteer/Silent Auction Co-Chair Ciara Cooley immediately spotted that statuesque Hombre had been a partner in working with clients, black-and-white mini-horse Ranger was making his debut with handlers Joan Cutler and Linda Robinson. It seems that Ranger had been one of four mini-horses that had been donated to the program and he was the only one to make the cut. But don’t worry about the other three. They’re headed back to their home territory. As for Ranger, he’s now the standout of the Equest mini-horse ambassadors. All the others (Cisco, Dare and Teddy) are all blondes.


When someone mentioned that there had been an accident on the highway involving a herd of 13 “Shetland ponies,” Joan was quick to point out that it didn’t involve any of the Equest collection.


Despite the fall heat and humidity coming into play, the crowd didn’t seem bothered at all once inside the ballroom.


Heather Washburne said that the past couple of years had been a challenge with her husband Ray Washburne‘s responsibilities heading up the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, as well as the death of her father Al Hill Jr. It was Al’s involvement and support of Equest that made the style show and luncheon fundraiser important for the Hill family. Heather admitted that while the family’s Highland Park Village’s serving as the presenting sponsor and providing the clothes on the runway were a lot of work for the merchants and staff, it was well worth it. In return, Equest is honoring Al and his family by naming its new arena the Al Hill Jr. Family Arena.




To get things going, Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Cara French welcomed the guests in the ballroom and introduced Luncheon Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Julianna LeBlanc, who thanked Honorary Chair Rusty Duvall for her support with a gift from Tiffany.

The importance of the Equest program was brought home when Rachel Grodin told how her two children Ian Grodin and Vivian Grodin had both benefited from the equine therapy. It started when Ian started showing signs of things not being quite right as an infant. When the family moved to North Texas, Rachel learned about Equest and signed him up. She envisioned that one day he would be able to walk. Upon taking Ian to Equest along with his sister Vivian, Rachel noticed that Vivian was also in need of the therapeutic services provided by Equest.



Today five-year-old Ian has astounded all with his ability to maneuver.  Rachel’s hope is that, eventually, two-year-old Vivian will be able to keep up with her brother.


In accepting the Community Service Award from Equest Women’s Auxiliary Founder Louise Griffeth, Lisa Troutt spoke from the donor’s perspective, emphasizing the importance of supporting the Equest programs and the efforts of the Equest Women’s Auxiliary to help create awareness and funding.

Then it was time for the fashion show to get underway with clothes from Highland Park Village merchants (Akris, Caroline Herrera, Etro, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose, Market and St. John). Despite the highfalutin fashions and professional models hitting the runway, it was still the cutie-pie munchkins who scored the largest number of cellphone salutes and smiles.



For more looks at the faces and fashions, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

This article, written by Jeanne Prejean, originally appeared in MySweetCharity on October 23, 2019.

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