If you happen to drive past Dr. Kristy Lund’s Blue Marlin Farm in Wellington, Fla., at 8 a.m. over the next few weeks, you’ll be met by the sight of a grown professional woman, who also happens to be a veterinarian and a Grand Prix dressage rider, cantering around in a costume.

Don’t be alarmed! Dr. Lund is preparing to ride in the 2017 Dressage Under the Stars Cancer Challenge. The fundraiser for cancer research, presented by Invictus Farm, will take place on February 1 in Wellington at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. Dressage riders will perform musical freestyles in costume while spectators enjoy some fine dining and cocktails.

Dr. Lund will be riding in honor of her father, who passed away over Christmas after a battle with lung cancer. She will be riding to raise funds for the American Lung Association, both for research and to raise awareness about a disease that is surrounded by misconception.

“A lot of people think that it’s a disease for smokers,” she explained. “He didn’t do anything to excess that would trigger the cancer. My dad was a healthy guy – he had no other problems. If he didn’t have the cancer he’d still be golfing today.”

On the contrary, the disease affects a large population of non-smokers, particularly women, she explained.

“What people don’t realize is that non-smoking lung cancer is a major killer in women. We all see those commercials on TV now about a miracle drug that will help if you have lung cancer, but those really only work for the people who smoked. When you go through the Lung Association they’ll help you find clinical trials and that’s why I want to support them.”

Dr. Lund, who also runs a rescue organization for dogs, cats and horses out of her farm, hopes to honor the memory of her father who was full to the brim with life and enthusiasm.

“My dad was a very adventurous, crazy guy. He had polio when he was younger and didn’t get to do much, and so when he was recovered from polio, he made up for lost time,” she recalled fondly. “He took his three small children, ages 3, 5 and 7, and wife and packed up and moved to Holland. He had never been out of the U.S. before and he didn’t speak the language. We went there by boat – with the cat!”

For the event, Dr. Lund has the ultimate Dressage Under the Stars Mentor. Her trainer, Bent Jensen, went viral with his musical freestyle to LMFAO’s song “Sexy and I Know It” at this event in 2012, complete with rainbow print leggings and an afro wig. She will be riding her 13-year-old Spanish Warmblood Akvavite, who she is working on desensitizing to her costume until the event next month.

“Anything can kill you. Life’s too short. You need to go out and have fun, which is what my dad did,” she said. “I want to encourage other people to get involved in this event. Don’t be a spectator, be a participant!”

Learn more about DUTS and purchase tickets here:
http://www.dressageunderthestars.com/

Visit the event’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DressageUndertheStars