Equest's Sold-Out 40th Anniversary Gala was Legendary

DALLAS - Txylo -- 575 people gathered under the shiny new Al Hill, Jr. Arena to celebrate Equest's legendary 40-year history. The Equest 40th Anniversary Gala: Celebrating 40 Years of Horse Power was a sold-out affair that raised over $600,000 for Equest to continue to bring hope and healing to children and adults with diverse needs through equine-assisted activities and therapies.

It was a glamorous night with beautiful weather, divine food and drink, jaw-dropping auction items, emotional presentations, award ceremony, and non-stop entertainment. The triumphant evening was masterfully designed by Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Kendall Laughlin and Katherine and Austin Wyker.

Adorned with magnolias, the arena was transformed to a gracious southern soiree. Auction Chair Lauren McHenry excelled in accumulating over 150 silent auction items to make for an exciting shopping and bidding experience. Guests sat down for dinner, praising Chef Dean Fearing's famous southwestern dishes. Emcee Stan Gardner beautifully conducted the evening's numerous activities. Scout Troops 72 and 82 led the posting of the colors, Jana Bell sang America the Beautiful, and Reverend Ramsey Jay gave the invocation. A moving memorial video paid tribute to five Equest family members lost this last year. Arthur Murray dancers re-energized the room with a tango featuring Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz.

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Equest clients then lined the stage reminding the audience that the celebration was for a good cause. The fundraising began, quickly resulting in generous donations and high bidding for spectacular live auction items. The Gala ended with dancing and live music by The Walton Stout Band from the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.

The biggest surprise was a personalized video by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. Princess Anne, an Olympian equestrian and longtime advocate of equine therapies who had visited Equest in 2000, sent her warmest wishes from Buckingham Palace.

It takes a village for a nonprofit such as Equest to flourish and sustain its standard of excellence for four decades, and Equest had many people to thank.


1980 - 1990 – Susan Schwartz and Louise and Guy Griffeth

1990 - 2000 – Steve Barnett and Dr. Candice Chandler

2000 - 2010 – Pamela and Michael Petty

2010 - 2020 – Carol and William Huckin and The Huckin/Lupton Family

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2020 to the future – Julia and Blake Schwarz and Caitlin and Thomas Laughlin


Founder's Award: Dottie Neustadt (2020) and Equest's Women's Auxiliary (2021)

2020 Citation Award: Andy Steingasser (2020) and Junior League of Dallas (2021)

2021 Awards: Gail Pace, Cindy Thomas, and Jeff Hensley

The evening was made possible by generous sponsors: Benchmark Bank, CrossFirstBank, Lennox International, Ideaman Studios, Pendery's World of Chiles & Spices, SettlePou, John & Connie Pearcy, Kim & Greg Hext, and The Fishman Family.

Friedman Marketing and Public Relations

Source: Friedman Marketing and Public Relations

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