Carolina Horse Park (CHP) was “just short” of raising $60,000 with its first Painted Ponies Auction, placing the fundraising event as a win for both the organization and the community.

CHP relies on donations and fundraisers for its general operating costs in providing an exceptional equestrian competition facility. Fundraisers also aid in growing the community and enhance the region’s premier residential standing.

Chairman of the Board Bryan Rosenberg said the lowest winning bid was $3,000 and the highest was $10,000.

John Burgess had the winning bid for “The Chief’s Pony” by artist Tiffany Teeter. He said that he was “very excited about the whole concept” and that Bryan Rosenberg had come up with the idea and hopes they do it again next year.

The Chief’s Pony by artist Tiffany Teeter. (Photo by Diane McKay Photography)

“The Chief’s Pony” will roam from pasture to jump ring and other places on Burgess’ Straight and Narrow horse farm in Vass. The portable artwork is treated with several coats of epoxy, but “I am curious about what our horses will think,” Burgess said about his plans to move the artwork among his horses.

The CHP auction items, hats tumblers, tea and sports towels, were not as popular as the Painted Ponies.

But the Fund a Need “footing” auction was popular and was purchased from both equestrians and non. Purchases of footing help fund synthetic footing and all-weather drainage to ensure safety in all weather conditions for an upcoming 40,000 square-foot arena. Developing and maintaining this premier equestrian community requires not only funding but planning, labor, and community.

Love Your Local by artist Ashley Van Camp. (Photo by Diane McKay Photography)

The ten fiberglass ponies cost $995 each from the manufacturer and were ordered months in advance. Volunteer artists had only two months to complete and submit design themes and create their designs on the glossy white fiberglass ponies.

Downtown Southern Pines businesses supported the fundraising by donating funds and space to display the completed art, and downtown reaped the benefits. Citizens captured selfies and posed for photos with the Painted Ponies, increasing foot traffic along storefronts and restaurants.

There was an incident one night downtown of “masking” the Painted Ponies, but it was “tastefully done…creative masks each with a different pattern were placed sententiously…was just a clever political statement,” Rosenberg said. The masks were removed the next morning.

Plans for next year are being discussed, and there is already a waiting list of volunteer artists.

The decision of increasing the number of Painted Ponies “weighs” on Rosenberg.

The Painted Ponies had to be carried into artists’ studios and homes, many with stairs, and “they are heavy,” Rosenberg said about him and his son being the ones to transport the artwork to and from each location.

Between the Ears by artist Darlene Ivey. (Photo by Diane McKay Photography)

“I want to thank everyone who made it possible, businesses and the artists who volunteer their time to enhance the equestrian community, which was our goal,” Rosenberg said.

Photographs of all the Painted Ponies are available in 2020 Painted Ponies Auction Catalogue.

The volunteer artists for 2020 were Nikki Lienhard, Gene Fletcher, Mary Ann Welsch, Claire Connaghan, Shelly Gerritsma, Beth Roy, Jenay Jarvis, Ashley Van Camp, Darlene Ivey, and Tiffany Teeter.

Carolina Horse Park was established in 1998 and is located in Hoke County at 2814 Montrose Road in Raeford. With 315 acres and hosting over 28 competitions each year, it is the region’s primary facility in the equestrian community. CHP also promotes environmental education, community scholastics and athletic experiences. Support can be reached at (910) 875-2074.

Feature photo by Diane McKay Photography: Water for Horses by artist Jenay Jarvis.

Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.

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