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.”
“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.
It has been 35 years since a female rider last earned the title of USEA Rider of the Year – a fact that was the topic of discussion for the panel of Karen O’Connor, Nina Gardner, Lynn Symansky, Jonathan Holling, and Sam Watson at the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.
A life filled with horses, racing motocross, competitive rowing, and volunteering, Vicki Reynolds has stayed on the go. Reynolds was able to clock in 330 volunteer hours and 35 minutes to secure the 2018 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Each year, the USEA runs a report of the highest scoring event horses of all time. For about eight years, Winsome Adante has sat on the top of the list with a whopping 1,355 points. Currently only one horse that is still competing at the upper levels is in the top 10: Ballynoe Castle RM has a lifetime 1181 points.