Jessica Rekos had a love for horses. On May 4, less than a week before what would have been her eighth birthday, the community celebrated the way she might have wanted to herself. The Pony Rides For Jessica Team and King’s Bridge Farm joined forces and held the second annual fundraiser, Pony Rides For A Purpose, in honor of Jessica, a riding student at King’s Bridge who was killed on 12/14.
The event took place at the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard’s grounds at Fairfield Hills and featured pony rides, appearances from miniature horses, horseshoe painting, face painting, jugglers, and much more. Set To Stun performed music, and volunteer firefighters came with a truck for children to see up close. Comfort dogs were also on hand. There was a bake sale and various raffles and auctions. Proceeds from the event went to the Jessica Rekos Foundation.
“It was very successful. People were so happy,” said one of the event’s primary organizers, Heidi Calloway, mother of Montana Calloway, who was Jessica’s riding instructor.
“The whole reason we started this is so Jessica is remembered for her love of horses and riding,” said Montana Calloway, head riding instructor at King’s Bridge.
Last year’s event was held in January and it was such a success, despite being held in the winter, that organizers decided to do it again. They thought making it a May event, to tie in with Jessica’s birthday, would add special meaning.
“It was absolutely amazing — all you could hear was laughter and enjoyment,” said Gina Brice of Monroe, a friend of Montana Calloway who helped out throughout the afternoon.
Linda Peterson, from Next Hill Farm, came with a miniature horse named Dually. Children of a variety of ages got to pet the horse.
“It was a wonderful, successful day,” said Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard Major Gordon Johnson.
“A lot of smiles on kids’ faces today,” Second Lieutenant Ken Fay added.