The Annual Meeting of Members on Saturday kicked off with a delicious luncheon, and while attendees sipped coffee and nibbled cookies, the current U.S. Eventing Team Coach David O’Connor delivered a practical, passionate, and humorous keynote. He reviewed his first year as Coach and looked positively into the future.
USEA Vice President of Finance Mike Winter updated the membership on the financial status of the Association. In short, it was a good year. The Association and the Areas together finished the year with a $60,000 surplus, and a $48,000 surplus with the Association alone. This is a better end result than was projected for the year. In 2014, the USEA aims to break even at around $10,000 surplus.
The Annual Meeting of Members is also where the membership bids a fond farewell to the outgoing Board of Governors. This year Matthew Fine and outgoing President Brian Sabo finished their terms. The incoming Board Members were also announced – Debra Dealcuaz and Jack Leary. Diane Pitts has been promoted to the position of President. Mark Hart and Janet Horton were both re-elected this year to serve an additional term.
The big event of the week is, of course, the Awards Dinner when a group of people generally seen in boots and helmets don their best for a special gathering. From Beginner Novice through Advanced, the Year-End winners are honored from Beginner Novice through Advanced. The 2013 leaderboard may be viewed on this webpage.
For the first time in 20 years, the Mare of the Year and the SmartPak Horse of the Year were one and the same. RF Demeter, ridden by Marilyn Little and owned by the Raylyn Farms, Inc. and Team Demeter, had an incredible year competing both in the U.S. and Europe. Once again, Buck Davidson was awarded World Equestrian Brands Rider of the Year for his many successes, and Sally Cousins was named Wise Equestrian Lady Rider of the Year. Caroline Martin, among her many year-end accolades, won Point Two Young Rider of the Year. There was a tie for the Stackhouse Saddles Adult Amateur Award between Bonner Carpenter and Frankie Thieriot. The USEA Pony of the Year award went to Snappy Dresser, ridden by Cosby Green.
In addition to the Year-End Awards for competitors, there are a number of Appreciation Awards given as well. But one very special presentation was for the Ironmaster Award, given to an individual who has shown bravery, perseverance, and a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Jan Byyny received a fervent standing ovation as she approached the stage to accept this particular award.
The following special awards were also presented:
SmartPak Equine, Stackhouse, and Fleeceworks Classic Series Sweepstakes
Fleeceworks: P3D-Jocelyn Hawe; T3D: Heather Morris
Stackhouse: P3D-Jocelyn Hawe; T3D-Erin Strader
SmartPak: P3D-Jocelyn Hawe; T3D-Dr. Summer Peterson
Charles Owen Technical Merit Award: Junior-Rebecca Beaudry; Senior-Reed Ayers
Dover Saddlery Eventing Challenge: Melissa Fox
Wise Equestrian Thoroughbred Award: Novice-Salzburg; Training-Fugitive; Preliminary-‘Sall About Me
Worth The Trust Scholarships: Young Adult-Heidi Siegmund; Adult Amateur-Lorraine Barrows
Groom Award: Amateur-Roger Demers; Professional-Martine Sandoval
Vintage Cup: Rick Caldwell
Cornerstone Instructors Award: Michelle Brochu, Jocelyn Hawe, Julie Hook, Wendy Wegeles, Lee Ann Zobbe, John Bourgoin, Polly Hall
Andrew H. Popiel Memorial Trophy: Fernanda Kellogg
Courtney Reeves Memorial Trophy: Carsan Rucci
Governors Cup: Kevin Baumgardner, Michelle Brochu, Deborah Busta, Vicki Howard-Fine, Betsy Watkins
Wofford Cup: Richard Farmer
Nutrena Rising Star Trophy: Chase Shipka
President’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Kyra Stuart (pictured below)
Three important grants are given during the Year-End Awards Ceremony—the Beacon Charm Grant, the Essex Grant, and the Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grant.
The Beacon Charm Grant is named for and in memory of Mrs. Henry du Pont’s international horse, Beacon Charm. Ridden by Bruce Davidson, Beacon Charm came to eventing from the show ring as an eight-year-old rose through the levels to win the National Intermediate Three-day Championship at Radnor in 1981. The following year, Bruce took him to the Rome CCI in Italy and won it, which resulted in him being Bruce’s second short-listed horse for the 1982 World Championships in Luhmühlen. Sadly, a brilliant future was cut short, when Beacon Charm died in his field of a heart related condition. He was ten-years-old.
The $5,000 Beacon Charm Grant was given this year to Emily Pestl-Dimmit, who was named this year to the 2014 Developing Rider/Eventing 25 List with her Advanced horse Airlington.
The Essex Grant is intended to assist the lucky recipient develop the essential horsemanship skills required for a successful transition from the Young Riders’ ranks into the senior rider ranks. The funds may be used to offset expenses related to coaching fees, training fees, and competition fees.
The $10,000 Essex Grant was awarded this year to Lizzie Snow.
The Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grants are designed to assist and to encourage the development of event riders at the highest level of the sport. These grants will be awarded to offset some of the travel and training expenses in the pursuit of achieving the qualities of an international rider. These Grants are not available to riders who have already achieved the honor of representing the U.S. at international CCIO3* or 4* eventing competitions.
The $10,000 Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grant was awarded to Ellen Doughty, who stormed onto the Advanced eventing scene this year with her horse Sir Oberon. They had several top finishes, including the CHC International and the American Eventing Championships.
The $30,000 Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grant was awarded to Katherine Groesbeck. She rides at the Advanced level with her horse Oz the Tin Man and was named to the 2014 Developing Rider/Eventing 25 List. Groesbeck was unable to attend the Awards Dinner due to severe weather, but Buck Davidson accepted the award for her and was congratulated by the audience via speakerphone.
To wrap up a lovely evening, USEA Board Member Katherine Cooper announced a new initiative in partnership with Morris Animal Foundation to promote and fund equine medical research. One dollar per start (approximately 40,000 starts per year) will be given to this research, and the USEA will have control over exactly how the monies are used. A preliminary funding group put together $11,150 to jumpstart the initiative. Additionally, Greg Tryon, husband of the late Amy Tryon, donated $10,650 to the USEA Equine Research Fund. Tryon reminded the crowd how important the wellbeing of her horses consumed the life of Amy Tryon, and this funding helps us to ensure the continued health of our beloved horses through targeted research. Learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation here.