A Community of Friends

From left , Natalie Schoepf, treasurer; Nancy Moffatt, member; Tammy Gantt, president; and Sonja Haught, second vice president, with Champ, from the Horse Fever collection.

This local horsewomen’s friendship club has been raising money for local charities since 1962.

The heart monitor did its job, but it was the sticker on the side, not the machine itself, that warmed the patient’s heart. The sticker read “Donated by Florida Thorobred Fillies” and, as the patient recognized her friendship club, the stress of the hospital stay wore off a little.

This is the type of story that Tammy A. Gantt, president of the Florida Thorobred Fillies, loves to tell.

Florida Thorobred Fillies is a club for women in the equine industry, and members focus on cultivating a community of friends who are dedicated to each other, to having fun and to raising money for worthy charities.

“Our first Fillies meeting was September 11th, 1962,” Gantt says.

Since then, members of the Florida Thorobred Fillies have been raising between $3,000 and $20,000 a year for charity.

“We were one of the first groups to raise funds for the first Jaws of Life (a hydraulic rescue tool oft en used by first responders) for the county,” Gantt says, “and we raised funds for one of the first heart monitors for the Munroe Regional Medical Center (now AdventHealth Ocala).”

The Fillies have raised money for two German shepherds, one for the Ocala Police Department and one for the Marion County Sherriff ’s Office and charities including the Arnette House, Interfaith Emergency Services and others.

The Fillies are known for their “famous cake table” fundraiser held at all the thoroughbred sales hosted through the year by the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, Gantt says.

“So, all the horse people across the country who come to buy horses at the OBS sale,” she says proudly, “they know us for the ladies cake table.”

Some of the goodies are baked by local horsewomen such as Norma McKathan, whose sons trained the Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Gantt notes.

The Fillies meet monthly and host two to three events a month outside of the regular meeting.

“When the club was founded, it was $1.25 to attend a meeting,” Gantt shares. “The annual fee is now $30.”

There currently are around 75 members, rang-ing from age 18 to 94. They take care of each other and maintain that if you have a strong community of like-minded people, you will be able to serve more effectively.

“We always fall back to friendship first, fun first and then fundraising, so we always make sure what-ever we do always lift s everybody up,” Gantt says.   OS

For more information, email tammyagantt@gmail.com or find the group on Facebook.

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