Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of Houston’s most treasured and distinguished annual events. Without the show, there might not be the internationally recognized Texas Children’s Hospital we know today. And today, Pin Oak is helping launch the Texas Children’s of tomorrow by supporting Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.
Together, The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show and Texas Children’s Hospital helped shape the landscape of the Medical Center, and thus the city of Houston, more than 50 years ago. The event that became known as The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show got its start and its name in 1945 when legendary businessman-philanthropist Jim Abercrombie agreed to underwrite and host a charitable fundraising horse show at the Pin Oak Stables he had built for his daughter, award-winning equestrienne Josephine Abercrombie. The 1947 show provided a significant portion of the initial backing that established Texas Children’s in the Texas Medical Center, the first hospital in Houston dedicated to children. Continuing financial support from this distinguished event truly helped sustain Texas Children’s as it grew to become one of the nation’s top-ranked, full-care pediatric hospitals.
In the midst of the show’s international reputation and growing success, Pin Oak’s board and volunteers never lose sight of the cause at its heart: to raise philanthropic funds for Houston’s children. Every email, every news release, every web page, every letter and flyer the organization distributes refers to the show’s charitable purpose, and everyone involved knows exactly what their work supports. Since the first show 66 years ago, the organization has contributed in excess of $5.5 million to charities, including well over $4 million to Texas Children’s Hospital, and aims at making a six-figure gift each year to its charities.
Knowing the value of putting the face on the charity that the sponsors and competitors are helping support, Pin Oak volunteers bring them together with Texas Children’s patients and families in a number of ways. For Pin Oak’s “Art Reach” projects, volunteers from the organization visit Texas Children’s Cancer Center and work with children who are in the clinic to create art pieces that are auctioned at various Pin Oak functions during the year. One such piece was donated back to the hospital by the successful bidder and now hangs in the West Campus hematology/oncology clinic waiting room where Pin Oak’s generosity to the new hospital is recognized. During the show, riders visit patients in the hospital, and patients and their families are hosted for tours of the grounds and honored at one of the Grand Prix galas.
In addition, ticket holders often donate their tickets back so that Texas Children’s patients and families at Ronald McDonald House can attend the show. This year, Channel 13 purchased two gala tables and set them aside for Pin Oak’s Honor Heroes—two young patients selected by Texas Children’s social workers to represent the hospital. The little Heroes and their families rode in the Pin Oak carriage for the evening’s opening ceremonies and had the unique opportunity of experiencing the full effect of the show while serving as captivating reminders of the event’s ultimate purpose.
The energy, the vision, the commitment and the sheer hard work it takes to present The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show year after year, along with the true spirit of philanthropy of everyone connected with the show, makes this phenomenal endeavor unquestionably an outstanding fundraising event that Houston is proud to call its own.