When Col. Allen D. Smith passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack in 2000 at the age of 64, Area V wanted to figure out a way to honor his legacy and decided to start an award for the Adult Amateur of the Year. Smith was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, but after being commissioned into the Army Corps of Engineers he attended Texas A&M University and earned his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
From horse trials in her home state of California where she prepared herself and her horses to take on the best in the nation and around the world to five-star events overseas where she represented the United States on some of eventing’s biggest stages, Tamie Smith had a remarkable season and finished 2022 as the Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year for the second year in a row.
Being spontaneous has paid off for Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy. “I bought him on a Wednesday and showed him on a Thursday,” Keane recalls about his first event with his Irish Sport Horse gelding, then 9 years old, at Plantation Field Horse Trials (Unionville, Pennsylvania) in September 2016. “I owned him for part of a day, and the next morning I showed up at a CCI and jogged him up for a two-star, and we went clean and clean and clean.”
The first time Caroline Martin competed at the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships at Mondial du Lion in Le Lion D’Angers, France, in 2021, she admitted she was a bit of a deer in the head lights. With 40,000 spectators lining the galloping lanes on cross-country and a buzzy atmosphere around the arena for dressage and show jumping, it was a big ask for her horse King’s Especiale, but the experience made the gelding better and made Martin want to come back.
“I love it when a plan comes together” is the phrase that could sum up the 2022 season for Lady Chatterley and Leslie Law. Although, in this case, comparing the bay mare and her British Olympic gold medalist rider to the A-Team also refers to the fact that they successfully moved up to the Advanced level and earned the title of Bates Mare of the Year on the USEA Leaderboard. Lady Chatterley, who's owned by Lesley Grant-Law and Stephen and Jackie Brown, was also the Bates Mare of the Year in 2020 and second in 2021.
Bethany Hutchins-Kristen knew Geluk HVF was special from the moment he was born. Out of her former Intermediate mare Bronte HVF and by the popular dressage stallion Jazz, “Geluk” had the bloodlines to succeed in eventing. He finished well as a 4- and 5-year-old in the U.S Eventing Association Young Event Horse East Coast Championships (Elkton, Maryland) and went on to win the U.S. Equestrian Federation CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship (Lexington, Kentucky) as a 6-year-old.
After Donna Miller lost her beloved Connemara stallion Ardceltic Art in 2013, she took her time to find her next stallion and potential upper level eventing partner. With strict criteria in place, Miller scoured the internet and finally came across Coud’Poker in 2019.
For the sixth time in his career, Boyd Martin took to the stage at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention this past December to accept the Windy Acres Farm Trophy and the title of World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year. Claiming this title just once is an honor in itself, but to be announced as a six-time recipient is a true testament to the hard work that goes on behind the scenes all year round to conclude the season in such high standings. For Martin, the old saying, “teamwork makes the dream work,” is nothing but the truth when looking back at the 2022 season, which would not be possible without the massive team that stands behind him each and every day.
There was a sense of déjà vu chatting with Liz Halliday-Sharp about the superstar young Irish Sport Horse Shanroe Cooley (Dallas x Shanroe Sapphire), owned by Ocala Horse Properties, LLC. The now 8-year-old gelding was the 2021 USEA 6-Year-Old Preliminary Horse of the Year and 2021 USEA Preliminary Horse of the Year and he followed up that impressive 2021 season with an even more exciting competition year in 2022 bringing home second in his first-ever CCI3*-S followed by two victories at the level. He had a top-five finish in his first CCI3*-L across the border at Bromont and then made his way overseas to place eighth in Halliday-Sharp’s goal event for the young horse: the highly competitive FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Mondial du Lion D’Angers. Add up all of those super results, and it's no surprise that Shanroe Cooley was awarded two USEA leaderboard titles for the second year in a row— 2022 Intermediate Horse of the Year and 2022 USEA 7-Year-Old Intermediate Horse of the Year.
If you saw 2022 RevitaVet USEA Young Rider of the Year recipient Cassie Sanger walking down the hallways of her high school, you probably wouldn’t identify her as the token ‘horse girl.’ The 18-year-old student prioritizes separating her eventing life from her social life to allow herself a bit of balance and normalcy amidst the highly-structured schedule she follows to fit school, training, and a social life into her everyday routine. But don’t let that fool you, this young rider has made great strides in her eventing career over the past few years, so much so that she ended the 2022 season on a personal high: placing third at her goal event and first-ever CCI3*-L at the 2022 Maryland 5 Star, ultimately pushing her to the top of the leaderboard to claim the Young Rider of the Year title.
From his first outing at the Novice level in 2020 to his last outing of the 2021 season at the Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event at the CCI2*-L level, Ocala Horse Properties’ 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse Gelding Shanroe Cooley (Dallas x Shanroe Sapphire) amassed 15 wins, never placed out of the top three, and continues to boast a spotless cross-country jumping record. With Liz Halliday-Sharp in the tack, the young gelding’s consistency was rewarded by being named the 2021 USEA Preliminary Horse of the Year and the USEA 6-Year-Old Preliminary Horse of the Year.