The Sport Horse Research Foundation

the Sport Horse Research Foundation

Who We Are

Letter From SHRF Founding Directors Video




Meet our leadership team


Dr. Sarah. Puchalski

Founding Director, Chairman of the Board, CEO

Sarah Puchalski, DVM, DACVR hails from Roberts Creek, British Columbia. Following veterinary school she completed a 2 year internship/residency in Field Service and Sports Medicine at New Bolton Center. She then pursued further training in diagnostic imaging at the University of California, Davis completing a 4 year residency in 2005. Sarah next accepted a faculty position in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences at the University of California, Davis, earning tenure in 2012. Sarah is Board Certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiology. She has authored 40+ scientific articles and several book chapters relating to diagnostic imaging in veterinary medicine. In 2013, she started Puchalski Equine Inc. She is based in Petaluma, California at Circle Oak Ranch and in Wellington, Florida at Palm Beach Equine Clinic during the Winter Equestrian Festival. Sarah is an avid show jumper.

Dr. Richard Wheeler

Founding Director, Treasurer

Richard Wheeler, DVM was born in the UK and graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 2002. Dr. Wheeler then completed a two-year internship at Greenwood, Ellis and Partners (now Newmarket Equine Hospital) in Newmarket. In 2005, Dr. Wheeler moved to Wellington, Florida to join PBEC. He became a partner of PBEC in 2009. Dr. Wheeler’s primary concentration is equine sports medicine. He is an FEI Veterinary Delegate for Show Jumping and Dressage and has authored several published articles on the topic of equine sports medicine. Dr. Wheeler has served on the board of the USHJA Horse and Rider Advocates Committee. Dr. Wheeler and his wife Jessica have two children. Dr. Wheeler has competed in a variety of equine sports, most extensively eventing and polo.

Dr. Philippe Benoit


Dr. Philippe BenoitPhilippe Benoit, DVM, DACVSMR graduated from the Alfort Veterinary School of Paris in 1989. He received a MS in Nutrition and exercise physiology in 1991 and named a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sport Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2016. Philippe served as veterinarian for the French Team from 1992-2000, French Olympic Team in 2004, and Saudi Arabian Olympic Team in 2012. In addition to serving as an international consultant for several foreign national teams, Benoit was the treating veterinarian during the show jumping finals at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy. Benoit is currently a private practitioner at PHB Consulting. He resides in Encinitas, California. Philippe enjoys sailing, traveling, photography and wine tasting.

Mark Bellissimo


Mark is the founder, managing partner, and largest shareholder of several equestrian related entities focused on creating sport, entertainment, lifestyle, and commerce centered around the love of horses. He and his partners own and operate three of the largest equestrian venues in the World: Palm Beach International Equestrian Center; Colorado Horse Park; and Tryon International Equestrian Center. As CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, Mark manages WEF, the largest and longest running Hunter/Jumper event in the world. Mark also owns International Equestrian Group that owns the Chronicle of the Horse and the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in NYC, as well as other equestrian related entities and events.

Paige Bellissimo

Chief Development Officer

Paige joined SHRF as Chief Development Officer in June of 2017. Paige graduated from Boston College and founded the Great Charity Challenge, a relay-style jumping competition that has generated more than $10.7 million for 200-plus Palm Beach County charities. Additionally, Paige serves on the leadership council for the foster care organization Place of Hope, volunteers at The Soup Kitchen in Boynton Beach, and is creating a young professional committee for Brooke USA. Paige is the Director of Strategic Planning & Analysis at Tryon Resort and International Equestrian Center. She is an active competitive show-jumper.




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