The Stony Hill Stables Foundation (SHSF) is hosting its annual benefit cocktail party on the grounds of the Stony Hill Stables in Amagansett on Saturday, June 24 from 6-8 p.m. The event raises money to support SHSF scholarship equestrian training for local residents.
Launched in 2012, SHSF is a privately owned not-for-profit that helps children and young adults learn to ride through equestrian education. After six years, it remains the only stable on Long Island to offer this program and this opportunity.
The scholarship includes lessons and training over four months, where students learn skills such as horse care, clinics, competitive show activity, and hunter or jumper equitation.
It was first awarded to Lara Lowlicht who had dreams of riding horses but didn’t think she would be able to because of the high costs. Five years after winning the scholarship she is a working student at Stony Hill Stables and has gone on to win ribbons in riding competitions.
“I love riding horses because they have always given me a sense of courage, and riding has always been an outlet for me,” Lowlicht explains. “When I am riding horses it feels like I can accomplish anything. All of the problems I may have that day seem unnoticeable. I think that being with horses teaches you how to love and be a responsible, well rounded, mature person,” she continues, adding, “The scholarship was the best opportunity I have ever been given.”
The benefit cocktail party on June 24 will feature a “Horseless Horse Show” for young riders 12 and under and a chance to meet Stony Hill’s very own Decano, who was named horse of the year in 2016. Scholarship students will also ride during the event in a dressage exhibition and pony drill team performance.
The second-generation owner of Stony Hill stables and USDF gold medalist, Wick Hotchkiss, always wanted to launch a foundation with a scholarship program.
“As both an active member in the equestrian world and local Amagansett resident, it has been my lifelong dream to make the equestrian experience more accessible in our community,” Hotchkiss says.
This scholarship not only affects the student receiving it but their whole family as well. Lucinda Murphy, who is the parent of 2014 recipient Renny Murphy, sincerely hopes this program continues for other children and young adults.
“The scholarship and the riding was a life-changing event for Renny,” she points out. “Horses and riding is what Renny lives for and has been the catalyst for much improved grades, better behavior, learning responsibility, patience, dedication, hard work and finances,” Murphy says. “We definitely benefitted from this program.”
Scholarship applications are currently being reviewed for the 2017 season. Local residents of Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Southampton and Westhampton are encouraged to apply for the five available scholarships given each year. Applications can be found at stonyhillstables.com/shsfoundation.
Tickets to the benefit are $125 for a single ticket and $200 for couples, while children are free to add on! They may be purchased online in advance, or at the gate on the night of the event.