Leadership drawn from across the country
Finding a fantastic team that puts horses first, while having a keen focus on the rider, trainer, owner, and sponsor experience, is a key aspect of kicking off the vision for the Desert International Horse Park.
“Our goal was to bring in some fresh faces with deep national and international experience and expertise while working with the strong local teams that know our customers inside and out,” Steve Hankin, Managing Partner, Apex Equisports, comments. “Hundreds of talented people are needed to run a top-notch horse show. We wanted to highlight a few who are important leaders on our team.”
Horse Show Manager, Desert International Horse Park (DIHP): Phil DeVita
From boutique events on the West Coast, including Franktown Meadows and The Menlo Charity Horse Show, to decorated events on the East Coast, such as The American Royal and the popular series of CFHJA shows in Tampa, Phil DeVita brings a host of accolades and experience to the DIHP. He has also worn many other ‘hats’ in the sport, including as a competitor, course designer and judge. DeVita brings all of this collective knowledge to the vision of producing an excellent equestrian and equine experience.
“This partner group and the team that is coming together is going to change the dynamics of the horse show experience on the West Coast,” DeVita said. “It is a huge undertaking and it is going to be amazing. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of it.”
FEI Technical Coordinator and Course Designer: Alan Wade
Extremely knowledgeable as well as thoughtful, Ireland’s Alan Wade of Clareen Equestrian Ltd. is a man of few words and a great mind. Having provided the course designs at events all around the world, including the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Omaha, 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games and in 2019 at FEI 5* Level in the USA, Canada, UK and 2019 FEI Longines Nations Cup series at Dublin Horse Show, as well as acting as FEI TD for 2019 Longines FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, Wade has extensive experience from the ground up. From teachable moments to technical challenges, he is known for seeking to make the most of a competitor’s time in the show ring. This takes a talent that only a handful have throughout the sport, and Wade is one. He will be bringing this wealth of top-notch knowledge to the Desert International Horse Park.
“They came to me with a horse first vision of the sport and I liked it, “ Wade noted. “I’ve been around the world designing courses and working on the technical side of the sport. That is what they want me to bring to this project, to be a part of a team with distinct knowledge and experience. I am looking forward to playing a role.”
Customer Experience and Sponsorship: Chris Mayone
Anyone who has spent time showing horses in the desert has had the privilege of meeting Chris Mayone. From VIP hospitality to coordinating championship events such as the USEF Junior Hunter Championships, North American Youth Championships, Longines FEI Nations Cup™ and Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifying events, Mayone has nearly two decades of experience under his belt. With a knack for keeping clients and sponsors smiling and feeling well taken care of, he is an ideal fit for the team.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with the West Coast customers I have come to know and love,” Mayone explained. “I look forward to being surrounded by such a decorated team of professionals and being a part of bringing the customer and sponsor experience to a new level.”
Show Office Managers: Brett Waters & Jess Keil
Known for customer service with a smile, Brett Waters comes to the desert with experience from some of the country’s top horse shows, including Devon Horse Show, Hampton Classic and The Vermont Summer Festival. Her partner in heading up the show office where ‘service with a smile’ is the goal, is Jess Keil. This pair will bring sunshine to the show office experience. Waters and Keil will lead a team of experienced office staff who have served customers in the Desert for many years.
The two weeks of the National Sunshine Series at the DIHP will welcome thousands of competitors and their horses beginning on move-in day, October 29th. Both FEI CSI 3* events, with one hosting the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Thermal, along with numerous other highlights for all levels, there is a long list of short-term agenda items to complete in the next ten weeks. The short-term goals will extend into the six months before winter, plus there is a list of long-term goals for the first several years. The new team heading up these events, and more, in the desert is ready to hit the grounds at a gallop.
About the Desert International Horse Park
We are committed to building a fabulous facility, offering top-notch competition, and creating a fun, memorable experience for you, our clients. With a keen focus on working from a horse first perspective, every step we take will take your horses into consideration, so you feel confident about coming to our events. And in the end, we are just like so many of you.
– We have been involved in countless discussions about our sport
– We put horses first
– We participate in the sport
– We live on the West Coast
– We want change
We have now arrived at the beginning of this journey. We ask for your patience. It will take time to build our – and your – vision. But know that working collaboratively with equestrians and their horses is our ultimate goal. More to come at DesertHorsePark.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.