California Riding Magazine • September, 2014

Flying Changes

Surprise Wedding for Donna Chopp & Joe Parker

Equine Insurance partners Donna Chopp and Joe Parker tied the knot at a quickly organized wedding Saturday, Aug. 2, right after the Giant Steps Charity Horse Show Gucci Gala at the Sonoma Horse Park. The ubiquitous equestrian pair has been engaged for two years. While watching the $30,000 Equine Insurance Grand Prix, SHP chief Ashley Herman asked Donna and Joe when they were finally going to do the deed, and jokingly suggested they do it the following week at the Horse Park. When Haley Schwab rode a horse named Wedding Day to the Grand Prix win that afternoon, it seemed a fortuitous sign and Donna and Joe made hasty arrangements to follow-up on Ashley's offer. After hosting 500 guests for the Gucci Gala, the venue's VIP berm was already elegantly outfitted for the moment. The couple's friend Bitsa Freeman officiated as friends who were in on the plan witnessed the happy occasion.

Sheila Varian Tributes

In what's already been a remarkable life, Arabian breeder and trainer Sheila Varian received two new honors this summer. A documentary on her life, The Legacy of Sheila Varian, had its world premier in early August and she was inducted into the Western States Horse Expo's Hall of Fame for 2014.

The documentary is produced by Evie Tubbs Sweeney and in association with Platinum Performance. It premiered at the Clark Center in Central California's Arroyo Grande, where her internationally renowned breeding and training program is.

"Sheila Varian is a world-class leader in the Arabian Horse breed," says Horse Expo founder and president Miki Nelson. "She has accomplished so much in a male dominated field. We are very proud to honor her as our 2014 Hall of Fame inductee."