Dec 07, 2020

First Female Wins USEA Rider of the Year Since 1981

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp is the 2020 USEA Rider of the Year. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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!"

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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!

To learn more about the history of the World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year award, click here. To view the World Equestrian Brands USEA Rider of the Year leaderboard, click here.

The USEA would like to thank World Equestrian Brands for sponsoring the USEA Rider of the Year leaderboard.

Feb 02, 2023 Eventing News

In Memoriam: James C. Wofford

The USEA is heartbroken to hear about the loss of James “Jimmy” C. Wofford. A lifelong lover and supporter of the sport, Wofford has had an astounding influence on where eventing is today and has tirelessly supported the goals of the United States Eventing Association. He served as president of the American Horse Show Association (now U.S. Equestrian (USEF)), was the first vice-president of the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET), and served as secretary of the USCTA (now USEA). He served two terms as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, including two years as vice chairman. In addition, he has served on numerous committees during his career.

Feb 02, 2023 Classic Series

Blast from the Past: Compete in a USEA Classic Series Event in 2023

Experience the thrill of traditional long format three-day eventing by competing in a USEA Classic Series event in 2023! The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that the 2023 Classic Series calendar is now available.

Feb 01, 2023 Profile

Rescue Horse Runaway Romeo Finds His Calling

Amanda Walker wasn’t sure what she’d gotten herself into when she went to try Runaway Romeo as a potential sales project in 2018. The gelding was a bit bigger than Walker was looking for and was quite pushy coming out of the stall. When she got on, it didn’t get much better.

Jan 31, 2023 Educational Activities

USEA's Tip Tuesday: Cross-Country Positions with Karen O'Connor

For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.

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