- Written by Paulina Liwski Paulina Liwski
- Published: 05 June 2014 05 June 2014
Spruce Meadows gears up for summer competition series and new initatives
Last-minute preparations are in full swing as Spruce Meadows prepares to host the National CSI 5 tournament from June 4 to 8, signalling the start of its annual summer series.
Spruce Meadows will host five major tournaments as part of its summer series, which will qualify athletes and horses for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France on Aug. 23. summer series. This announcement was made at the annual Spruce Meadows media luncheon on June 3.
Another development that came out of media day included the launch of its "Horses Jump to Give a Leg Up" program — an initiative to help non-profit organizations recover from the devastating June 2013 Southern Alberta floods.
Ian Allison, senior vice-president of Spruce Meadows, says they reached out to non-profit organizations in Calgary and the area "that were struggling after the flood and needed a leg up."
Fifty eight organizations responded to Spruce Meadows, but 19 non-profit organizations were chosen to be a part of the initiative.
"We (Spruce Meadows) delivered a white fibreglass horse to them one month ago and we challenged them to come up with their most creative and innovative ideas," Alison adds. These organizations then were charged with painting and decorating their horses.
Throughout the summer, the fibreglass horses will be displayed on the grounds. They are part of a silent auction on the Spruce Meadows website, where all proceeds will go to the participating non-profit organizations.
Linda Southern-Heathcott, president of Spruce Meadows, says the (riding) community struggled last year and that it wasn't easy.
"The floods of last year weren't a sprint but a marathon for the many people who were affected.
"We have selected 20 (including the two horses decorated by Special Olympics Calgary) smaller organizations that we are hoping to bring some life and some energy into those organizations," she says.
New summer initiatives:
Spruce Meadows also unveiled a variety of new plans for their summer season. This year the community initiatives range from:
• A salute to the first responders, commemorating those responders who were tasked with saving not just one community but many communities during the June 2013 flood. This salute will take place June 8, the last day of the National CSI 5 competition.
• A variety of major capital projects on the Spruce Meadows grounds, which will help to celebrate the 40thanniversary next year. These projects include the removal of the Canada grandstand for the highly anticipated founder's plaza, which will be built next year. Founder's plaza will be a place that will recognize the people who have helped fund Spruce Meadows.
• Spruce Meadows is also welcoming back its founding partner Canadian Pacific Railway as a sponsor.
The 19 organizations charged with decorating a horse for auction for the "Horses Jump to Give a Leg Up program are:
• Foothills Special Needs Association for Parents and Siblings
• Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society of Calgary
• Heaven Can Wait Animal Rescue Foundation
• Aventa Treatment Foundation for Women
• Special Olympics Calgary (two horses decorated)
• KidsSport Calgary
• Boys and Girls Club of Diamond Valley & District
• Youth Centre
• Calgary Counseling Centre
• Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta Foothills Chapter
• Literacy for Life Foundation
• Seniors Secret Service Society
• Canlearn Society for Persons with Learning Difficulties
• Wood's Homes
• NeighbourLink Calgary
• Bragg Creek Community Association
• Calgary Family Services
• The SHARP Foundation
• Bowness Community Association