Serving Our Community Since 1919

Horse Show History

Peekskill Rotary Horse Show 1970 - 2020

In the spring of 1970, a group of Rotarians came up with the idea of having a horse show in order to generate funds for the club. Fred DeChristopher (“father” of the Peekskill Rotary Horse Show), realizing that they needed professional advice on how to do this, decided to contact his brother-in-law, Colonel Anthony Castellano, who was associated with the New York Military Academy, which was known for its excellent equestrian program. Fred and a group of Rotarians went to N.Y.M.A. to meet with Colonel Castellano and Colonel Russell Blair, director of horsemanship at N.Y.M.A. Colonel Blair later addressed the entire Rotary Club and explained the procedures of running a horse show. The first show was held in the fall of 1971. A group of cadets from Troop D of N.Y.M.A. participated.

Our Horse Show Becomes Our Major Fundraiser

In the early 1970’s Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self” was very evident in our Peekskill club. We had many small projects and fundraisers that took a lot of time and effort. The idea of a horse show was discussed at length as a project worth taking to replace all the small ones. All our time and effort would be put for one cause. Little did the membership know at the time of the many problems, pitfalls and shortcomings they would encounter, such as:

  • Finding a location for show
  • Size of arena
  • Size of fencing surrounding the arena
  • Getting qualified judges
  • Getting vet supervision
  • Learning the difference between English and Western competition
  • Prizes for different events
  • Preparing the field for the show
  • Safety
  • Board of Health regulations
  • Crowd control
  • Advertising
  • Getting permits from all concerned
  • Purchasing logs and fencing and storing same
  • Setting up jumps and hurdles according to horse show rules

Everything was new to Rotary and through trial and error, patience and grit, things started to fall into place. Mother Nature was very cruel and for the first few years it rained constantly, and all concerned wallowed in mud. The Horse Show has come a long way and with its many additions and attractions, fantastic journal plus competent leadership, it will surely generate many funds for our worthy charities.

Welcome to our Virtual Horse Show

The funds raised at our annual horse show help us support almost 20 annual scholarships, weekly food for the CHOP homeless shelter, Literacy Lover’s golden bookshelves which afford young readers access to free books to take home to develop their early reading skills one of the primary markers for scholastic success in a child’s future. Arts 10566, Hendrick Hudson Community Education Foundation, the Field Library, the Salvation Army among many other deserving causes in our community.

We also support global initiatives including Gift of Life, Shelter Box, Polio Plus and Clean Water projects. The Gift of Life provides life-saving surgery to children with heart defects who might otherwise die and who cannot afford or gain access to medical treatment otherwise. Shelter Box provides replacement shelter in the form of a tent, stove, cooking utensils, lighting, and water purification equipment so that a family can survive with some semblance of security, safety, and comfort.