A fundraising benefit for a showjumping team from Israel raised more than $200,000 to help put the fledgling nation on the international equestrian map.
The team of Danielle Goldstein, Elad Yaniv, and Joshua Tabor made history by being the first to represent Israel in the Nations Cup at last week’s competition at the Palm Beach Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.
Although the team didn’t make the cut through to the final round, they gave their all.
“We are incredibly proud and honored to be the first to raise the flag,” said the Israeli Equestrian Team’s chef d’equipe and the executive director of T.E.A.M. Israel, Kate Levy.
The evening before the Nations Cup, The Equine Athletics Mission Israel, or T.E.A.M. Israel Benefit took place at Starwyn Farms in Grand Prix village. It raised more than $200,000 towards the cause, and welcomed over 100 of the top names in the equestrian industry and supporters of T.E.A.M. Israel.
“The goal was to serve as a launch event, to let people know about our mission and also celebrate the very first Israeli Nations Cup team in equestrian sports,” said Levy. “It brought together many people with similar interests, and we are absolutely thrilled with the result.”
Twelve countries were represented in this year’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup, which is part of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Canada took home the victory and $75,000, beating Great Britain who came in second and the United States who came in third.
Kate Levy said: “just being a part of this event and representing Israel, we have already won. We have garnered Israeli national pride, brought international respect for Israeli athletics, and created a fan base and focul point. We hope that riding for Israel will be something young equestrians aspire to, and by being a part of the Nations Cup we have made it clear that T.E.A.M. Israel is serious about accomplishing our mission.”
Deborah Schultz, founder and board chair for T.E.A.M. Israel, said, “It was such a momentous occasion to make history with the first Israeli team ever. The team was warmly embraced by other teams and athletes at official team photos and poster signings, and so many said congratulations and good luck. Watching our three riders stand together with team jackets and to hear them share thoughts on the course and their mounts as a team was truly very special.”