St. Louis, Mo.—Dec. 10— United States Eventing Association (USEA) members from all over the country gathered on Saturday night for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Year End Awards Ceremony. The evening’s ceremony was led by Master of Ceremonies Jim Wolf and recognized riders, horses, and game-changers in the sport of eventing with multiple awards and grants.
Wolf kicked off the evening with a tribute to the late Jimmy Wofford, who has been Wolf's co-host of the USEA Awards for many years now. The community definitely missed his presence this year.
The first awards presented were the USEA Classic Series awards, starting with the Training and Novice Three-Day divisions, which were sponsored by DG Stackhouse and Ellis Saddles. Each winner received a custom-fitted Stackhouse and Ellis Saddle.
David Stackhouse joined Wolf on stage, and they presented Marc Grandia with the Training Three-Day championship. Taylor Timmerman was the Novice Three-Day winner.
The Modified and Beginner Novice Three-Day divisions were sponsored by Bates Saddles. This year’s winners will receive a special prize pack of assorted riding accessories. Elizabeth Hoffman was the Beginner Novice Three-Day winner, and Kate Nolfi was the Modified Three-Day winner.
Next, Wolf recognized the 2023 USEA Leaderboard Champions, presented by Nunn Finer. Each winner received a trophy and ribbon. Winners of the horse divisions will also receive an original stall plaque, commissioned by Indian Creek Farm of Spring Branch, Texas.
The USEA is always honored to recognize the achievements of these hardworking riders and horses. Click here for the complete leaderboards.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the sport, and the USEA Volunteer of the Year award aims to honor the volunteer who tops the Volunteer Incentive Program Leaderboard by accumulating the most volunteer hours over the course of the competition year. The winner receives a cash prize of $1,000, a custom “USEA Volunteer of the Year” embroidered jacket, and a memorial trophy.
Jim Moyer provided almost 700 hours of volunteer service at USEA-recognized events in 2023 and achieved the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program silver medal for dedicating over 1000 hours of service to the sport.
Sponsored RevitaVet rider Sharon White joined Wolf on stage to present the RevitaVet USEA Young Rider of the Year award which was presented to Molly Duda. Duda received the Linda Moore Trophy, $1,000 dollars, a memorial trophy, and a RevitaVet System.
The Capital Square USEA Adult Amateur Rider of the Year was awarded to Katie Malensek. She was presented with the Col. Allen D. Smith Memorial Trophy $1,000, a memorial trophy, and a custom embroidered USEA Adult Amateur of the Year jacket.
After a remarkable year, including top-5 finishes at Bromont, the USEA $60,000 Adequan Advanced Final, and the Maryland 5 Star where he was also the highest-placed U.S. horse, Capitol H I M, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Con Air x O-Heraldika), was awarded the USEA Horse of the Year honors. Hannah Sue Hollberg and her husband Matthias Hollberg accepted The Caser Trophy, $1,000, and a Standlee Premium Products certificate.
The SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year was presented with the Windfall Trophy, $1,000, and a SmartPak Stallion of the Year embroidered blanket. Bethany Hutchins-Kristen’s Geluk HVF (Jazz x Bronte HVF), a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood, was the winner.
The SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year, Delilah's Boy was presented with the Theodore O’Connor Trophy, and his rider Kendal Fansler took home $1,000 and a SmartPak Pony of the Year embroidered blanket. Delilah’s Boy, a 13-year-old Connemara cross of unrecorded breeding, is owned by Hedgerow Farm.
Hannah Diebold from Bates Saddles joined Wolf on stage to present the Bates USEA Mare of the Year award to Karma, a 9-year-old Oldenburg mare (Escudo II x Travita) owned by Alliston Equestrian and ridden by James Alliston. He received the Frolicsome Trophy, $1,000, and a Bates Saddle.
Liz Halliday won the Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year award. She was presented with the Essie Perkins Trophy, along with $1,000 and a Bates Saddle. Halliday has amassed an impressive 13 top-3 FEI finishes this year, with nine of those finishes resulting in a win. She rode to a third-place finish at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and later won the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (Lexington, Kentucky). Halliday was selected to represent the U.S. at Aachen (Germany) as part of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Squad where her fifth-place result played an integral part in the team’s second-place finish. Later in the year, Halliday was invited to be a part of Team USA at the 2023 Pan American Games (Santiago, Chile) and contributed to the team’s silver-medal placing.
The final award given out was the World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year. Earning the Windy Acres Farm Trophy was Boyd Martin. It was his seventh time earning this title after a fantastic year of competition at home and abroad. Martin had a whopping 63 FEI outings in 2023, 15 top-3 FEI finishes, and five wins at the four-star level. He galloped out of the start box at the five-star level nine times this year in four different countries.
Martin received $1,000, a memorial trophy, and a World Equestrian Brands prize pack, including an Equilibrium Heatsense Massage Pad. He was unable to attend, but sent along a video message expressing his thanks.
Following the presentation of the leaderboard winners, Wolf shifted gears and began announcing the recipients of this year’s grants and scholarships.
First to be awarded was the USET Connaught Grant, which is designed for a horse competing at the CCI2* or CCI3* level who shows potential to one day be on the U.S. Team and is presented in memory of Bruce Duchossois. The USET Foundation awarded the 2023 Connaught Grant to Boyd Martin and Commando 3.
USEA Foundation Chair Hilary Miskoe took to the stage next to present the Foundation Grant Awards.
The Wilton Fair Fund is donated by David and Cheryl Lenaburg with the goal of supporting U.S. developing riders. The Fund allows grants to be given each year for a variety of educational opportunities for riders 29 and under who have not yet ridden for a senior team. This year’s Wilton Fair Grant recipients were presented to Jenny Caras and Cosby Green.
Established in memory of the late Roger and Ann Haller, the Haller Scholarships for the Education of Eventing Officials provide financial assistance to licensed officials working towards promotion to their large “R” and “S” licenses or their FEI licenses. This year, two $5,000 scholarships were provided. The first Haller Educational Scholarship recipient was Rumsey Keefe, and the second scholarship recipient was Katherine Cooper.
The Essex Horse Trials Grant was established in honor of the original event under the same name. It is presented to a developing rider aged 25 and under who is competing successfully at the CCI3* level or above and who is working towards representing the U.S. in international team competition. The 2023 recipient of the Essex Horse Trials Grant was Cosby Green.
The Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Grant was established by the family of Sonnad in honor of her dedication to the sport and the development of riders. Awarded to a Junior rider of 18 years or younger the 2023 Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Grant recipient was Carlin Keefe.
The Mike Huber Award was established by the friends of Mike to celebrate a young rider coach who best exemplifies Huber’s enthusiasm, sportsmanship, and dedication to the youth of the sport. The recipient of this award is able to identify a USEA Area Young Rider program to receive a $500 donation from the USEA Foundation. This year’s recipient was Rebecca Brown from Area 5.
Following the passing of popular Area II trainer and U.S. Eventing Team rider Patrick “Packy” McGaughan, the Packy Prize Grant was created to further the passionate work of its recipients. Max Corcoran received the 2023 Packy Prize Grant.
In memory of the late Richard Picken, the Richard Picken Memorial Grants were established to fund the intensive training of riders aged 25 years and younger competing at the CCI2* level or higher. In honor of its inaugural year, the review committee and Trustees agreed to award $5,000 grants to two recipients, Olivia Dutton and Caitlin O’Roark.
In honor of the late Kim Meier, a top-level eventing athlete who made it to the highest levels of the sport through her own grit and determination, the inaugural Kim Meier “Kick On” Memorial Grant was given to Dr. Kimberly Keeton. This grant is intended to assist riders struggling financially to compete with their own horse(s) at the upper levels and who have passed beyond the funding available for juniors and young adults.
Next, Wolf recognized USEA members who are passionate about moving their commitment to the sport forward with the Broussard Going Forward Grants, provided by the Broussard Family and the Broussard Charitable Foundation Trust.
For the USEA Eventing Coaches Program Certification Grant, Lauren Sumner from Area II, Alicia Swinton from Area VI, Dani Sussman from Area IX, Sarah Lawrence from Area III, and Natalia Neneman from Area III were awarded grants.
Rebecca Barber Tyler from Area III, Sarah Sullivan from Area VII, and Emma Hinke from Area II were presented with the Eventing Officials “r” Training Program Grant.
Jenny Powers from Area IX will participate in the Immersion Program with Sharon White.
The Broussard Family joined Wolf on stage next to present the Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant which awards $10,000 for the educational development of an international quality rider based on competition in eventing on the national stage. Ashley Adams was this year’s recipient.
The Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant awards $50,000 for the educational development of an international quality rider based on competition in eventing on the global stage. Andrew McConnon was this year’s recipient.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Alexis Efraimson came to the stage to present the 2023 USEF Owner Awards. Erik Markell, Chris Desino, Rob Desino, Debby Palmer, Sharon White, and Ava Chase were honored.
The USEF Julep Cup Recipients were; Gloria Callan, Eric Markell, Chris Desino, Rob Desino, Evie Dutton, and Ava Chase.
The Eventing Riders Association of North America had several awards to give out, starting with the Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award given to an event personnel member who devotes themselves behind the scenes and goes above and beyond for our sport. The following recipients were honored: Scott Weide, Dave Emmons, Christel and Cyra Carlson, John Wells, and Madison Packard
Next was the Amateur Impact Award, given to an amateur who embodies a dedication to the sport of eventing and shares outstanding sportsmanship. Dan Kreitl was the recipient.
The As You Like It Owner’s Award was given to Christa Schmidt, owner of Capitol H I M, a five-star horse ridden by Hannah Sue Hollberg.
The Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award was given to Christina Curiale, an integral part of five-star rider Will Faudree’s program for years.
USEA Appreciation Awards
The USEA Appreciation Awards were created as an opportunity for the eventing community to recognize and honor the people who have served the sport tirelessly both in a riding and non-riding capacity.
Mia Farley received the Courtney C. Reeves Memorial Trophy which is awarded to a young individual who exemplifies sportsmanship and the spirit of the sport and who gives back to the community.
The Vintage Cup recognizes members 60 years of age and over who are competing at any level in USEA-recognized competitions and who show great sportsmanship. There were three recipients: C’Dale Jore, Jackie Smith, and Jonathan Ketzler.
The Ironmaster Trophy is awarded to an individual in the sport that exemplifies fortitude and courage. This year, Karen Nyrop was the recipient. Nyrop, a veterinarian and eventer, has been on hand for FEI veterinary commissions as a delegate nationwide, including both U.S. five-stars, and currently serves on the USEA Equine Safety and Welfare Committee. She is a long-time active amateur eventer who competes up to the Intermediate level.
"In 2022, Karen received a liver transplant, and recovery was difficult," shared Wolf. "Earlier this year, it became evident Karen’s body was rejecting the liver. She is currently waiting patiently for another transplant, that could occur any day. Her bags are packed, waiting for the good news. Good thing she is an eventer, as that makes her extra tough!
The Cornerstone Instructor’s Award acknowledges the importance of the lower-level instructors for their dedication to the fundamentals of educating good horsemanship skills and the love of the sport to the next generation of eventers. This year, there were three recipients: Stephanie Goodman, Anne Jennings, and Karen Lorenzo.
The Sue Hershey Award, in honor of Sue Hershey for her time and dedicated efforts to the development of the USEA Eventing Coaches Program, recognizes an ECP coach who exemplifies the values and commitment of the program as well as inspiring students to achieve their goals. Shannon Lilley was announced as the winner.
Steve Teichman was the Wofford Cup recipient. When selecting the Wofford Cup recipient, the selectors identify those who have given so much to the sport that they rise to the very top. They dedicate their life to the betterment of eventing. The 2023 recipient was not only someone who fit that description, but defines that description. For almost five decades, a love of art and a passion for innovation made Teichman one of the most sought-after farriers in the business, becoming the farrier to the U.S. Eventing Team.
Teichman unfortunately couldn't be present for the awards banquet this evening, but Wolf called him earlier in the day to notify him and Teichman penned the following sentiment for Wolf to share with this year's attendees.
"In this industry whether as farriers or professional horseman, we seem to struggle with identity. What Is it to be 'somebody' or for that matter a 'nobody' in this business? I have spent fifty years as a practicing farrier largely shoeing three-day event horses. I have been fortunate to have participated in five Olympic games as well as several WEG's and Pan American games and traveled the world. I have become a 'somebody' of sorts in the small circle of my associates and clients. I have also felt a little 'sting' of what it is like to be the 'nobody' too. Life works best someplace in between.
"We live a bit upside down in this industry- a complex and busy outer life, like being in the barns or on the road in the early hours of the morning, and an ignored inner personal life. It takes a lot of inner drive to have balance. How about the powerful drive for meaning, and belonging, being helpful, kind, or courteous? All of these are present in this sport. We are so fortunate on so many levels to work with such amazing animals and the equally dedicated people this sport brings together. I remember clearly when Wofford, during his illness, took the time to reach out to me during my health crisis. This for me is being 'somebody.' Its not being famous, but its what I think our souls seeks. Whether we know it or not, I think this is why we all go to the barns in the morning."
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About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention
The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, on Dec. 7-10, 2023. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
The USEA would like to thank the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Sponsors: Adequan, Bates Saddles, Capital Square, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis, Kerrits, Horse & Country, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Parker Equine Insurance, Rebecca Farm, RevitaVet, SmartPak, Standlee, and World Equestrian Brands.
The USEA Emerging Athletes U21 (EA21) program was established in 2022 with the aim of creating a pipeline for potential U.S. team riders by identifying and developing young talent and pairing them up with influential educators within the sport of eventing to improve their skills both in and out of the saddle.
Macyn Wolpert and her pony 18-year-old Sport Pony Hallelujah were set to attend the Pine Top Intermediate Horse Trials (Thomson, Georgia) on Feb. 11 with cross-county day happily occurring on Wolpert’s 12th birthday.
There aren’t many riders who can say they competed at five of the world’s seven five-star events in 2023, but the 2023 World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year Boyd Martin can. With nine starts across the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials (Germany), Defender Burghley Horse Trials (England), MARS Maryland 5 Star, and Pau (France), Martin earned five top-5 finishes.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation has announced the combinations selected to compete in the 2024 USEF Futures Team Challenge at the Carolina International CCI and Horse Trials, from March 14-17 in Raeford, North Carolina. The Challenge is designed to replicate the experience of competing within a team environment and thus is a training opportunity embedded within an existing competition at the CCI3* and CCI4* levels.