Aiden Udelson lived up to his billing: young, confident, and having a blast of fun competing in the 2018 Rainbow Jumper Challenge. Riding Picasso, a Spanish mustang pony, Aiden made several turns by the patron’s tent, beaming as he raised his crop on the final passage before the competition began.
“I felt really good and confident, and everyone was cheering for me,” said the 10-year-old horseman, who has been riding with his mother Megan Bash since before he could walk. He then joined his mom and a dozen other riders in the fast-paced jumping competition. The riders and their mounts had 75 seconds to rack up as many jumping points as possible, with each jump assigned a point value based on the height of the bar.
Patrons of the benefit for UH Rainbow and Babies and Children’s Hospital raised program numbers to bid on a favorite rider. The top bidder won the Calcutta prize: a week’s stay at a luxury condo in Cabo San Lucas sponsored by Lisa and Marc Stone, plus a gift card to Cru Uncorked in Moreland Hills. A silent auction offered an array of gourmet goodies, luxury services and short getaways.
After sampling appetizers, wine and other libations suitable for an August evening, the crowd strolled up to the club house for a seated three-course menu that offered both prime beef and cauliflower steaks.
While other youngsters might have preferred a neighborhood pickup game or video, Aiden was having fun AND doing a community service. “I went because I thought it was a great cause,” said the young rider, who trains through the Cleveland Equestrian Stable. “It’s for UH and for everybody who helps people at UH.”
And that raised crop on the final pass? “I was trying to get people to bid on me,” said Aiden. “I raised $6,500 tonight and that feels good!” STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT