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Equestrians Open Their Hearts To Make-A-Wish Patient Laura Jahnke

Wellington, Florida – January 20, 2003 – Laura Jahnke was a fun-loving, 17-year-old girl with a passion for horses and horse showing. In her spare time, Laura could be found at the barn caring for her beloved mounts. That was until last year, when Laura was diagnosed with bone cancer and when her life changed forever.

Laura has recently undergone limb-salvage surgery and chemotherapy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from which she is still recuperating. Bald and secretly exhausted, Laura somehow maintains an upbeat attitude. With no weight-bearing physical ability, Laura can only get around in a wheelchair.

Laura has a wish, and thanks to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minneapolis, Minnesota, that wish is about to be realized. What is Laura’s wish?: To meet her equestrian idols at The 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Before her diagnosis, Laura showed at local shows, but never at “A” shows and never in Wellington. Her heroes are the United States’ grand prix riders she watches on ESPN.

After Make-A-Wish let the equestrian community know of Laura’s wish, it was not long before more than 50 well-known riders, trainers, owners, saddlery companies and others rallied to provide funding, transportation, a horse, a stall on the show grounds, riding lessons, tack, clothing and living accommodations for Laura’s trip to The 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival. She will arrive in Wellington for a two-week stay on February 10, 2003. During that time, she is scheduled to receive riding instructions from Lauren Hough, a member of the U. S. Olympic Jumping Team in Sydney; show in some children’s hunter classes (if she has the strength); make trophy presentations after several of the Festival’s competitions; and meet her favorite riders.

The Winter Equestrian Festival, held for the past 31 years at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida, is the premier horse show venue in the United States. The top horses and riders in the equestrian disciplines of hunters, jumpers, equitation and dressage converge upon Wellington from January through March. Horses and riders from 13 countries will be competing this year.

For further information about Make-A-Wish at Winter Equestrian Festival, please contact Mindy Darst at (513) 836-0501.

Tickets to Winter Equestrian Festival are available by phone at 793-JUMP or at the gate. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Children 12 & under are free all days. Senior Admission is $5 every day. Adult Admission is $5 on Thursday and Friday; $10 on Saturday; and $15 on Sunday. Parking is free.

For more information on the Winter Equestrian Festival and all its exciting events and activities, please call Stadium Jumping, Inc. in Wellington at (561) 793-JUMP or visit


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