The USEA Rider of the Year award was presented for the first time in 1960. In the 60 years since, the Windy Acres Trophy has been awarded to only five women - Suzanne Cove in 1962, Lee Troup in 1964, Mary Ann Tauskey in 1978, Torrance Watkins in 1980, and Karen Stives in 1981. Now, 39 years later, a sixth female rider is joining their ranks. After a vastly successful season including nine international wins - more than any other rider in 2020 - and an additional 16 national wins, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp has been named the 2020 World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year.
Over the course of the 2020 season, Halliday-Sharp amassed 590.5 leaderboard points to clinch the Rider of the Year title. She rode 13 different horses including Deniro Z, Fernhill By Night, Cooley Quicksilver, Shanroe Cooley, Cooley Seeking Fortune, Cooley Be Cool, Cooley Stormwater, Cooley Black Hawk, Flash Cooley, Cooley Moonshine, Cooley Starship, Maryville Sir Henry, and Cooley HHS Calmaria, at 22 different events including Grand Oaks, Rocking Horse, Pine Top, Three Lakes, Red Hills, Ocala, Stable View, Maryland Horse Trials, Champagne Run, Virginia Horse Trials, River Glen, Fair Hill, Great Meadow International, Chattahoochee Hills, Blue Ride Mountain Horse Trials, Plantation Field, Hagyard Midsouth, Galway Downs, and Tryon International. Including her 25 national and international wins, she finished in the top five a whopping 67 times.
It's fitting too, that Halliday-Sharp has seen so much success this year, as this is the first year she has spent fully in the United States in the last 20 years. "Quite often I've done well in the winter and then left [for the UK] so I've never really been up there on the leaderboard," she reflected. "It was fun to have our first year back go right. "We've got a lot of great horses in the barn and I've got an awesome team and a great group of owners. It's nice for all of them too that we've come out on top after a really good season."
Halliday-Sharp now has facilities in Lexington, Kentucky at Blue Fox Farm and Ocala, Florida at Horsepower Equestrian. "We love our place in Kentucky and have just come back to Florida," she said. "It's been a wild year - more than just COVID - with us being at a new farm, trying to find our feet and our way around, and managing all the travel. It's been crazy but we've managed to make it work and hopefully it will just keep getting better!"
This Saturday, December 12, Halliday-Sharp will be joined by Piggy March as one of the two keynote speakers for the 2020 USEA Virtual Annual Meeting. Moderated by Nicole Brown, Halliday-Sharp and March will speak about their respective successes and what it has taken to reach them. Learn more about our keynote speakers here.
To access the Annual Meeting, you will need to be a current 2021 USEA member. Members who have renewed for 2021 will receive an email invitation to the Annual Meeting via Zoom on Thursday, December 10. If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2021 and would like to participate in the Annual Meeting, please join or renew your membership by Wednesday, December 9. For more information about registration for the Annual Meeting, click here.
If you will be attending the Annual Meeting, please remember to vote via online ballot before Friday, December 11. If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting, please log in to Online Services and vote by proxy.
In the week leading up to the Virtual Annual Meeting, the USEA will be offering educational content and interactive webinars via Zoom. Check out the schedule of live webinars here.
The Virtual Year-End Awards Ceremony celebrating all of the 2020 USEA Leaderboard winners from Beginner Novice to Advanced as well as our overall and special award winners will take place on Friday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time via Zoom. Stay tuned for details on how to watch the Year-End Awards Ceremony coming soon!
The USEA would like to thank World Equestrian Brands for sponsoring the USEA Rider of the Year leaderboard.
After several continuous days of rain, the skies cleared over Leesburg, Virginia today as the Morven Park Fall International CCI4*-L got under way with the first horse inspection. Warm weather, bright sunshine, and fall decorations set the stage for 25 horses to present before the ground jury. All 25 horses passed on first inspection. The ground jury consisted of Wayne Quarles (USA), Robert Stevenson (USA), and Sue Baxter (GBR).
While a total of 95 4- and 5-year-old horses will be vying for top-finishes in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships next weekend, a select group of YEH graduates are entered in the CCI5*-L division at the second annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory. The USEA YEH program has run successfully for over 15 years, and many graduates of the program have gone onto compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the FEI 5-Star level of eventing, including the four horses entered in the 2022 Maryland 5 Star.
Founded in 2019, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program was initially created to assist up-and-coming riders under the age of 25 in North America who had not yet competed in a destination event, such as the program’s namesake the MARS Bromont CCI in Lac Brume, Quebec, Canada, or been recognized by the USEF programs intended for emerging athletes.. Spearheaded by the late Steve Blauner and Sue Ockendon, the program sought to give back to the sport by helping the next generation of riders get more experience under their belt with the help of the financial assistance provided by the program, and the two days of included instruction from leading coaches around the world.
Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is excited to kick off a two-year anniversary celebration, happening all throughout the month of October in the form of “SEE Month”. SEE’s goal during October is to raise awareness about our mission of opening doors for equestrians from diverse backgrounds while also fundraising to continue our work and future projects.