On Sunday February 24, 2019, the Vero Beach Polo Club held a woman’s polo match to honor Sunny Hale and to benefit the Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast. The game was extremely close between the Woman’s International Polo Network team (Dawn Jones, Ariana Gravinesa, Clarissa Echaretta, and Danniel Lussi) and the Vero Beach Polo Club’s home team (Tiffany Busch, Giuliana Battista, Jennifer Williams, and Kylie Shehan), with the score bouncing back and forth to favor either team over the five chukker match. The Vero Beach Polo Club came out on top at the end of the day by a single point earned in the final chukker. The home team also had the honor of having Best Playing Pony, Tiffany Busch’s Waddie. Dawn Jones was the day’s Most Valuable Player with a total six of her team’s seven goals.
The day was a resounding success off the playing field as well, for the benefiting charity. The Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast are a Vero Beach based therapeutic riding center with the mission statement “[To foster] personal achievement through equine assisted activities and therapy for individuals with special needs in a safe and stimulating environment.” The facility offers a range of equine therapy for those with mental and physical disabilities, veterans, and a special program called Ride Beyond Diagnosis for woman who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Over five thousand dollars was raised through gate attendance, raffles, donations, and a silent auction. Silent auction and raffle items were curated through donations to the Special Equestrians directly as well as by Trish Hickey Jones. One of the marquee items of the silent auction was one of Sunny Hale’s polo helmets, purchased by Chrissy Clark. Chrissy bought the helmet so it could be auctioned off again the next weekend at another Special Equestrians fundraiser with the goal of Sunny’s helmet being worth over a million dollars in donations one day! The helmet, as well as some of Sunny’s other playing gear and a portrait, were all donated thanks to JoAnne Smicklas. The funds raised at the match will go towards the Special Equestrians’ current goal of owning their own facility and land.
To learn more about and donate to the Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast visit specialequestrianstreasurecoast.org.