More than 16 million acres of southeastern Australia have gone up in flames this season, causing devastation on an epic scale. Canadian Olympian Selena O’Hanlon felt moved to organize an effort within the eventing community to help.
“The images out of Australia were horrifying,” Selena says. “I was in tears thinking about the loss of life. Those poor people, those poor animals. With the idea of a fundraiser and clinic, I approached others and the event snowballed.”
With that, “Kick on for Koalas” was set into motion. Florida landowner Derek Strine stepped up right away and offered the use of his outstanding equestrian facility, Barnstaple South, to hold the clinic. An “A” list of top riders followed forming a dream team of international riders and trainers who are eager to donate their time.
The list includes:
- Buck Davidson, who has represented the USA in the WEG and international events around the world
- Lauren Kieffer, Olympian and member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan Ams
- Scott Keach, two-time Olympian for Australia — 1988 in eventing and 2016 in show jumping.
- Dom Schramm, a former member of Australia’s Young Rider Squad and now five-star rider
- Lesley Grant-Law, a Canadian top-level eventer, named alternate for the Canadian Olympic Eventing team in the 2008 Beijing Games
- Selena O’Hanlon, who made her international riding debut riding for Canada in the 2008 Olympics
“Kick On For Koalas” will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Barnstaple South (10800 NW 145th Ave. / Morriston, FL, 32668). Participants will have their choice of top-level instruction in dressage, show jumping and cross country.
All of the funds raised at the clinic will be split between Equestrian Fire Relief Australia and the World Wildlife Federation’s Australian Bushfire Emergency Fund.
Selena hopes this fundraiser will raise significant funds to help Australia recover from the devastating fires. “My mother and I raised over $14,000 for Japanese relief after the 2011 earthquake and $24,000 for the tsunami,” she says. “I know the eventing community can dig deep and make a difference for Australia now.”
The O’Hanlons are reaching out to Corporations like Tallman Group, who are stepping up and sponsoring individual cross-country jumps
Riders wishing to participate in the clinic can ride in a session with one of the dream-team trainers for $200 per show jumping or cross country session, $150 per dressage session — click here for a link to the entry form. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.
In order to raise additional funds, riders are encouraged to have friends, family, and others pledge an amount on behalf of the rider taking the clinic. People wishing to sponsor riders can do so by completing the sponsorship form found in discussions.