Hats off to Old Friends Equine!

Rapid Redux hat

The Fourth Annual fundraiser Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby to benefit Old Friends Equine kicked off this month with a dazzling headpiece of fuchsia and yellow.

The first of six stylish Derby hats offered for sale this month, was crafted and auctioned by Cape Cod milliner Sally Steinmann, of Maggie Mae Designs.  The bright, sweeping number was inspired by the racing silks of Rapid Redux.

Each month, a new hat will be unveiled and auctioned to benefit the sprawling Kentucky farm where Michael Blowen offers retirement homes to great ex-racehorses.

Bids on the hats can be made online, on the Old Friends website, or by calling Old Friends at 502-863-1775.

The unique fundraiser, which was begun by Steinmann as a way to help contribute to the welfare of racehorses, has raised nearly $14,000 thus far for Old Friends, but she hopes to build on that by the time jockeys are called to mount up for the 2013 Kentucky Derby!

“I was a horseracing fan for a long time, but after I saw Ruffian break down, I had to walk away from it. It was a rude awakening to a person who had never considered the tougher side of horse racing,” Steinmann says. “But, in my milliner business, I found myself making hats for clients who were attending the Derby and Royal Ascot, and their excitement drew me back into it.

Rapid Redux photo courtesy of Jim McCue

“I’ve always loved horses, and, in a way, theses hats are my gift to help them.”

Each hat that will be unveiled in the months-long auction will be influenced in some way by a racehorse, she says, noting there will be some big surprises this year.

The Rapid Redux headpiece features 22 roses to symbolize the horse’s 22 victories, and the silks inspired yellow beads and hot pink, she says.

Each hat is a gorgeous way to represent Old Friends and the individual horse personalities, says Vivien Morrison, a volunteer with the Kentucky facility.

“Sally has created a unique way to pay homage to our individual horses, and her beautiful creations allow the bidders a one-of-a-kind opportunity to support Old Friends—in style!

4 responses to “Hats off to Old Friends Equine!”

  1. Mindy Lovell

    This is such a fantastic gesture by Sally on behalf of so many wonderful retired racehorses – beautiful hats to benefit beautiful horses – can’t get any better than that!! Thank you Sally!! 🙂

  2. TBDancer

    I subscribe to the Old Friends blog written by Val, and love reading her stories of the characters living out their well-deserved retirement at Michael Blowen’s place. This auction is such a great way to pay tribute to these horses, many of whom ran at races where hats were definitely part of every lady’s finery that day.

    I hope a lot of people bid on these hats, too. Sally Steinmann has such talent.

  3. Sally

    Sue, THANK you so much for posting this for the horses of Old Friends. Some of the retirees of Old Friends have been great champions, some were claimers, some never won a single race, still others ended up in tough situations after their racing careers were over. It is an honor to create my Derby hats to support ALL of the horses who have been fortunate to find their forever homes at Old Friends. Thank you so much for your support in sharing this auction that I hope will help Old Friends and at the same time help spread the word about the needs of retired racehorses all over the country!

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