Oct 20, 2017

Trophy Tales: A History of U.S. Eventing Awards - Young Rider of the Year

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
Buck Davidson won the individual bronze medal at the 1997 NAJYRC and went on to be named Young Rider of the Year. USEA Archives Photos.

In November of 1979 it was announced in the USCTA News (now Eventing USA) that a new high score award trophy would be presented annually to the leading Junior rider in the country in memory of Linda Moore. The trophy itself is a bronze sculpture by artist, Patricia Dunn Bowen, of Woodbury, Connecticut. The sculpture entitled 'Miss You' is of a free -moving horse that captures the expression of concern shown by a horse for his missing master. The bronze was commissioned by Moore’s friends, Judy Danneman and Sue Maynard. A few years later the award would be given to the top Young Rider of the year based of the USEA leaderboard standings.

Linda Moore and Ad-O-War gallop on to the finish during the April Middletown Pony Club Trials in the Pre-Training Division. Alix Coleman Photo.

Moore first evented as a Pony Clubber and, while still a junior, started sharing her love for horses and eventing by teaching other young riders. Later Moore continued to compete successfully on the east coast and to work with young riders. “Because of her involvement as a junior, and with juniors, her friends felt that establishing this trophy in Moore’s name would be a special way of remembering her and the dedication, energy and enthusiasm she brought to eventing. These qualities, plus the striving for consistency and the seeking to be the best one could be, would then be recognized each year in an outstanding young rider,” explained an article in the March 1980 issue of USCTA News.

Karen Ehmann riding Go Between. USEA Archives Photo.

The first recipient of the Linda Moore Trophy for Junior Rider of the Year was 16-year-old, Karen Ehmann from Oregon. Ehmann began eventing at the age of 11 along with showing and Pony Clubbing. She won the award riding her 15.1 hand Thoroughbred, Go Between. According to the USCTA News, “ Go Between was intended as a "go-between" to carry Ehmann between the time she outgrew her first event horse, until her new young mount was ready to compete. A grand success from the offset, Go Between has the athletic and cat-like ability of a small horse, combined with the stride and ability to run and jump like a big horse. He is clever at sizing up difficult situations on cross-country. He tends to pout and go off his feed when not in work, so he is ridden year round to keep him happy.”

Tiana Coudray is the only rider to win the award more than two times. She was named Young Rider of the Year in 2005, 2007 and 2009. The California native was just 17 the first year she earned the honor and she garnered all of her points riding King Street. That year they were seventh at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships and second in the Galway Downs CCI2*. By 2007 Coudray had added Ringwood Magister to her string and had moved King Street up to Advanced earning many valuable points by winning the Galway Downs CIC3*. In her final year of Young Rider eligibility, Coudray rode three different horses to accumulate enough points to finish on top of the standings.

Tiana Coudray riding at the 2012 Olympics. RedBayStock.com Photo.

Following her Young Rider career – but not too much later – Coudray would go on to ride at the 2012 Olympic Games where she was joined on the U.S. Team by 2004 Young Rider of the Year, William Coleman, III. Nina Ligon also rode at the same Olympic Games, representing Thailand. Ligon was back-to-back Young Rider Leaderboard winner in 2010 and 2011.

Molly Bliss was the first double winner, taking home the trophy in 1985 and 1988. Bliss had a unique Young Rider career as she became the first American rider to ever compete in the European Young Rider Championships. In 1989, Bliss rode Hey Charlie to second place out of 50 of the best European Young Riders. Many other Linda Moore Trophy winners would go on to be top professionals, Olympians and World Equestrian Games medalists.

Cornelia Dorr is currently leading the RevitaVet Young Rider of the Year standings with 212 points. Curious how a rider earns the points towards winning Young Rider of the Year? Check out the point system and follow along with the leaderboard to see who will be getting their name inscribed on the Linda Moore Trophy in 2017.

Past Young Riders of the Year:

2016 – Jenny Caras

2015 – Nicole Doolittle

2014 – Caroline Martin

2013 – Caroline Martin

2012 – Connor Husain

2011 – Nina Ligon

2010 – Nina Ligon

2009 – Tiana Coudray

2008 – Jennie Brannigan

2007 – Tiana Coudray

2006 – Emilee Libby

2005 – Tiana Coudray

2004 – William Coleman, III

2003 – Kristin Schmolze

2002 – Will Faudree

2001 – J. Michael Pollard

2000 – Sara Kozumplik

1999 – Maren Foster

1998 – Chad Geeter

1997 – Buck Davidson

1996 – Buck Davidson

1995 – Linden Wiesman

1994 – Deanna Hines

1993 – Virginia Jenkins

1992 – Mark Combs

1991 – Abigail Lufkin

1990 – Ashley MacVaugh

1989 – Abigail Lufkin

1988 – Molly Bliss

1987 – Bridget Strang

1986 – Chris Chenault

1985 – Molly Bliss

1984 – Holly Mitten

1983 – Karl R. Rohrer, Jr.

1982 – Cynthia Miller

1981 – Marie Davidson

1980 – Nancy Bliss

1979 – Karen Ehmann

Did you miss any of the Trophy Tales? You can catch up on the Rider of the Year, Lady Rider of the Year, Horse of the Year and Mare of the Year.

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