Horses , golfers come together in Bridles & Birdies

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Equestrians and golfers came together in a unique team relay competition that combines horses and golf during the sixth annual Bridles & Birdies event.

Teams of one rider and five golfers worked together, completing a jump course before golfers completed four different obstacles. The teams raced to beat the clock and come out with the best time among their competitors.

Attendees watched from the sidelines as they enjoyed a buffet and each other’s company and while raising money for The First Tee of Aiken.

“We are a nonprofit youth development organization that teaches kids aged to 18 life skills, core values and healthy habits through the game of golf,” said Executive Director Lexie Milford. “So we run programs year-round, after school and on Saturdays. We partner with a lot of other youth organizations in an outreach capacity, and we have an elementary school program in all 20 public elementary schools where the P.E. teachers deliver the curriculum in gym class.”

Milford said the funds raised from the event will go back to The First Tee of Aiken program, helping to provide more programs, equipment and training in order to positively impact the kids and the community.

“It’s really fun and we have some opportunities for guests to kinda bet on the team they think is going to win,” said Milford. “If they’re the owner of that winning team, they get a chance to win some cool prizes, and we have a lot of opportunities to give, just to support the program and help us continue to grow and reach more young people.”

Milford said this year’s Bridles & Birdies event turned out to be a banner year for The First Tee of Aiken, and with the money raised they could train 17 new coaches. This would triple the number of trained coaches in the program currently as well as create a safe after school program for students.

“We support the equestrian programs, but it’s really nice to see them bring this together with golf,” said Dikran Yapoujian, who was enjoying his first Bridles & Birdies fundraiser with his daughter Maddie Yapoujian. “I’m a golfer myself so it’s really great to see them supporting The First Tee of Aiken.”

Tim Maddrix, the rider for Mann and Associates who also is a golfer, rode in the event for the first time.

“I think it’s a pretty cool thing they do for the kids,” said Maddrix. “I love to play golf so I think getting a kid on the golf course is awesome.”

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