Archive » July 26, 2012
By Pat Murphy, Contributing Writer
Joel Baker, a long-time Valley resident, was among the honorees recently traveling to London to receive an award from Queen Elizabeth of England.
Several months ago, the queen had agreed to become a Patron of Join-Up International, the non-profit organization started by Valley resident Monty Roberts. He had worked with the queen’s horses, both Thoroughbreds and other breeds, for 23 years, and it was through her endorsement that he was invited to demonstrate Join-Up methods in many other foreign countries.
Seeking a way to show his gratitude and reciprocate for her leadership in changing the relationship between man and horses, Monty made a video showing the changes taking place in various countries. He also asked if she would become a patron of Join-Up International and award certificates to people who demonstrated that cruel methods were being discarded and changes had taken place.
Queen Elizabeth agreed to do this and set the date and the location for the awards ceremony, which would take place on Sunday, June 24, at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor, England. Monty took care of organizing other details with the help of his daughter Debbie Loucks. Debbie told us, “It was a great experience and, of course, I wanted to look nice for the ceremony. My friends lent me pearls and my pink shawl, which matched my dress. During the ceremony, the queen was very gracious and took time with each honoree to ask them about their involvement with horses. Joel Baker told her that some of most talented horses are the most sensitive and they need humane and effective training.”
Joel represented both the United States and Argentina, Eduardo Moreira represented Brazil, Satish Seemar represented Dubai, and the brothers Memo and Carlos Gracida came from Argentina and also represented Mexico. Catherine Cunningham of Guatamala also was honored at the presentation. Not able to be present were Adolfo Combiaso-Argentina, Carlos Leite-Brazil, and Mateus Ribeiro-Brazil.
It was a never-to-be-forgotten experience for all, which began with luncheon at the Polo Club. The menu included an appetizer of goat cheese, celeriac and summer leek terrine with a pepper and poppyseed crisp. The main course was confit of duck leg, sautéed spinach, summer vegetables and white bean cassoulet. Dessert was “dark chocolate pot with raspberry layer, whipped cream with a chocolate and popping candy shard.” Both red and white wine was available, as well as, champagne.
Charlotte Bredahl Baker accompanied her husband, Joel, and was asked to accept the certificate for Adolfo Cambiaso of Argentina who was unable to attend. Senior Combiaso is presently considered the top polo player. Charlotte said, “It was very interesting visiting with these people from all over the world who are involved with horses. Satish Seemar of Dubai brought his young daughter Tara, who presented the queen with a lovely pink rose. Later, the queen returned it to her and told her to press it in a book and keep it forever.”
During the luncheon, a downpour had occurred, but as soon as the honorees emerged from the Polo club dining room, like a magical command, the sun shone forth and the Lord Mountbatten Polo Tournament began.
The match was between a team from the Arab Emirates and a team from Great Britain. Queen Elizabeth invited Monty to sit beside her in the royal box, which is actually a two-story building. The box’s second story has a viewing balcony with comfortable chairs and refreshments readily available. Following the polo match, there was a carriage presentation enjoyed by Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth and their guests.