HughE Dillon: Thorncroft’s Victory Gallop

Malvern equestrian center holds 27th annual fund-raiser.

The 27th annual Victory Gallop, a benefit for the Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern, took place Saturday night at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia. The theme for the evening was ”Harnessing Magic” and featured a VIP cocktail reception at Tiffany & Co with hors d’oeuvre by The Palm. Then the party moved upstairs where more than 450 guests, honorees, relatives of riders, and friends of the organization enjoyed cocktails before moving into the Grand Ballroom for the program, dinner and dancing to Big Ric Rising. Valley Forge Flowers provided the table decor, which included cascading roses; Vintage Imports provided the wine. Below: Saunders and Sallie Dixon (left), George and Lorraine Rubin, and Victoria and Lance McCue (right), co-chairs. George Rubin is chairman of the board of Thorncroft, and Saunders Dixon is the president.

Below: Tiffany McCauley, of Tiffany & Co., and Sallie Dixon, Thorncroft’s director of operations and a riding instructor, welcome guests to the first cocktail party of the night at Tiffany. The Victory Gallop began in 1985 and is Thorncroft’s biggest fund-raiser, generating money to provide scholarships to riders with disabilities, continuing education for instructors, and to offset the ongoing cost of operating the farm.

Below: Jay Tolson, of Gladwyne, and Hadia Lefevre, of Philadelphia.

Below: Allan McLeod and Deb Williams.

Below: Steve and Carol Udvarhelyi tell me that it’s a joy to support such a wonderful organization that helps so many people.

Below: Erik Neumann and Mary Dougherty. Saunders Dixon opened Thorncroft in 1969 with one visually impaired rider; today the program serves more than 350 students a week, from ages two to 85. Half of the students have disabilities.

Below: Jon S. Robins, of Klehr, Harrison, and his wife, Debbie Robins, were checking out the silent auction; they were looking for fun horsey items for their daughter.

Below: Van and Josie Heyneker tell me they look forward to this event every year. It’s a wonderful organization, and everyone involved with the program is so nice. Saunders’s philosophy is to treat everyone equally; it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, he treats everyone the same as does everyone who works for him.

Below: Shaheryar Adil, GM at the Hyatt at the Bellevue, Shabana Adil, former Hyatt GM Jeff Miller, and his partner, Eddie Oseguera. After nearly a decade at the Hyatt in Philadelphia, Jeff felt it was time for a change and transferred to Hyatt’s new Andaz brand with its techy, contemporary style. The one he transferred to is in New York City near Wall Street.

Below: Lawrence Todd, logistics chairman of the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance, Melissa Stratts, senior vice president of reinsurance at Towers Watson, and Michael G. Tillson III, chairman of Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance.

Below: The guest of honors were Missy Ransehousen, chef d’equipe for the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team, and Hope Hand, president of the U.S. Para-Equestrian Association. The Sarah and Toby Wolfberg scholarship went to Sabrina De Blasio. Also, it was announced that George Rubin executed a successful capital campaign and raised $2,200,000 to begin construction of a covered paddock, and an addition of a library, conference room and offices to the current facility and for the purchase of an additional 30 acres of land surrounding Thorncroft.

Below: Lisa and John Durham donated a one-week stay at their Breckenridge, Colorado house for the live auction. The prize sold for $1,500. One week at Camp Twiggy in Lake Placid was slow to move until Mary Dougherty rose to her feet, grabbed the mic and exclaimed that she had stayed there last year with her family, described a wonderful vacation, and reminded everyone the auction was for charity. She placed a $5,000 bid for the trip, and then someone promptly outbid her for the item, which finally sold for $6,500.