The Annual Haras Cup Working Equitation Competition

via saferion

The Haras Cup is an annual tournament showcasing the finest competitors in working equitation, an equestrian discipline. Working equitation involves a horse and its rider being judged based on their teamwork in three categories, including dressage, ease of handling, and speed. In dressage, horses perform a roughly seven-minute routine that is choreographed to music. To showcase ease of handling, horses must clear obstacles such as bridges, gates, or other large objects that may be found in fields. To demonstrate speed, horses must perform similar feats of clearing physical obstacles, but do so while timed.

Established as a competitive sport in the 1990s, working equitation is popular in many regions of Europe. The partnership between horse and rider, along with the vibrant music, makes the sport entertaining to watch.

About the author:

Carmen Maria Montiel headshot

Journalism professional and former Miss Venezuela Carmen Maria Montiel spends much of her time involved with the local culture of Houston, Texas. An attendee of Houston Fashion week and a judge for the Miss Houston pageant in 2015, Carmen Maria Montiel is active in the Texas social scene and last year attended the Haras Cup in Magnolia.


Virtuosi of Houston for Young Musicians

A graduate of East Tennessee State University, Carmen Maria Montiel began her television career in the 1980s as the host of the Venevision programs “Buenos Dias Venezuela” and celebrity news show “Close Up.” Currently a resident of Houston, Texas, Carmen Maria Montiel has also been involved in many community organizations, serving on the board of director for groups such as Virtuosi of Houston, a chamber orchestra for young people.

The only youth chamber orchestra in the city, Virtuosi of Houston is committed to helping young musicians develop their talent in a supportive pre-professional setting. The season comprises three performances, each preceded by 10 rehearsals. The children are led by two maestros, one conducting and the other offering specific instructions as to fingering techniques, sound, and instrument positioning.

To qualify for the program, children aged 11 to 18 must complete an application and prepare a solo or concert piece for audition. Maestros choose between 40 and 55 musicians each season.

The Latino Learning Center’s ESL Program

Carmen Maria Montiel

Carmen Maria Montiel is a former anchorwoman and on-air personality from Venezuela. Attending school in both the United States and Venezuela, Carmen Maria Montiel is fluent in both Spanish and English. She volunteers her talents with the Latino Learning Center (LLC) in Houston, Texas, and recently chaired a gala for the organization in May of 2015.

The Latino Learning Center is a Houston-based facility where native Spanish speakers can go to pursue mastery of the English language. Its English as a Second Language (ESL) program is designed for members of Houston’s low income community, focusing especially on adult education and elderly services. Through the ESL program, students can learn to speak, read, write, and listen to English comprehensively. In the advanced stages of the program, the LLC instructs students in business terminology and teaches useful business conversation skills.

After completing the class, students receive a certificate to verify their completion. The curriculum costs two payments of $90, and spans a 12-week period.