To cap off a record-setting year, dressage superstar Steffen Peters added one more record to his résumé on Saturday night at the United States Equestrian Federation’s Pegasus Awards dinner. He became the first person to score the USEF’s Equestrian of the Year title three times.
Peters (San Diego, CA) won the top honor in 2008 and 2009 based largely on his accomplishments with Akiko Yamazaki’s phenom Ravel – but in 2011, Ravel had some help. Peters capitalized on his first trip to the Pan American Games and scored Team and Individual Gold in a tremendous effort with Jen and Bruce Hlavacek’s Weltino’s Magic. From California to Aachen, Germany Peters was undefeated in 2011 with the now 9-year-old Westphalian gelding.
Both Ravel and ‘Magic’ scored at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, NJ in September sweeping the Grand Prix and Intermediaire I divisions respectively. Peters won all six classes in the effort and secured his Pan Am spot with Magic in the process.
The trip to Mexico proved worth the miles as Peters and Magic dominated at the Guadalajara Country Club. The competition was hard fought for Individual honors but Peters led an American sweep. Heather Blitz and Paragon won Silver while Marisa Festerling and Big Tyme secured Bronze. Peters also won the William C. Steinkraus Trophy , awarded to an equestrian in an Olympic discipline, for the third time. As a result, he was one of six equestrians in the running for the USEF’s top honor.
Listen to a portion of Steffen Peters acceptance: http://www.usefnetwork.com/blogs/189/steffen_peters_accepts_2011_equestr.aspx
The following awards were presented on January 14, 2012, at the Cincinnati Netherland Plaza:
The Becky Grand Hart Trophy was presented to Four-In-Hand Driver Chester Weber. The Becky Grand Hart Trophy is presented to international-level non-Olympic athletes. Weber had a banner year with his team, winning four CDEs in the in the United States. He took his team to Europe and won at CAIO Veces, CAI Altenfelden and CAIO Riesenbeck. He was the Reserve USEF National Four-in-Hand Driving Champion. Chester also spent a significant amount of time serving as a chef d’equipe. He commandeered a Bronze-medal winning performance at the 2011 FEI World Pony Team Championships and a 10th-place U.S. Team finish at the FEI World Pair Championship.
Karen Waldron (Shawsville, VA) was awarded the Bill Robinson Trophy for her diversity of success with Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Friesians. The Bill Robinson Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with horses or ponies across all the breeds in harness or for driving performance in non-international competitions. She won World Championships in two breeds – including titles in the Amateur Ladies Harness and Hackney Pony World Championships at the prestigious Kentucky State Fair’s World’s Championship Horse Show. She also scored with World and Grand National Championships in several divisions at the 2011 IFSHA Friesian World and Grand National Championships.
Scott Stewart (Flemington, NJ) picked up his fourth Emerson Burr Trophy for his success in the Hunter Ring. The Emerson Burr Trophy is presented to a rider in the hunter divisions in any breed over fences. He won Leading Hunter Rider titles at the Devon Horse Show and Alltech National Horse Show in 2011 and other top honors across the country. He consistently produces and trains the best horses in the country and is renowned for recognizing quality within his discipline.
For the first time, Debbie Foley’s name will be added to the list of equestrians to win the C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy. The C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy is presented to those excelling in under saddle show breeds. Foley’s name has been synonymous with the breed she loves for more than 30 years. Foley (Louisville, KY) trained and showed Callaway’s Annabel Allison to the Five-Gaited Mare World Champion title. Under Foley’s expertise, Callaway’s The Best and Brightest earned the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare World Championship and Just Plain George won the World’s Championship Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class – all in 2011.
The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy was awarded to Janice Giles (Pleasureville, KY). This trophy is presented to an equestrian showing in a non-reining Western discipline. She made huge strides for the Friesian breed in 2011 with Friesian Victor FC. He was crowned the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) National Champion Western Pleasure Open, National Champion Junior Western Pleasure, and World Champion Open Western Pleasure.
Steven Stiller (Elkhorn, WI) won the Norman K. Dunn Trophy, presented to an equestrian competing at halter or in-hand. A consistent showman, his results from the 2011 IFSHA World and Grand National Championship were record-setting. Over just two days he won five World Champion, two National Champion, six Reserve World Champion, two Reserve National Champion, and 10 Top Five Champion titles.
The Vaughn Smith Trophy was awarded to Danielle Barrasso (Chicopee, MA) for her success with Arabians and Friesians in 2011. The Vaughan Smith Trophy is presented to the best rider of any horse or pony breed shown in hunter pleasure, show hack, hunter hack, dressage hack, costume, side saddle, or Western dressage. Barrasso won impressively with Klaas fan Synadea, Steffen S, Renaissance and Hilbrand fan Fjildisah in 2011. She scored eight World Championship titles and a National championship.
It was a banner year for these eight equestrians across the USEF breeds and disciplines. The USEF membership, board of directors and designated equestrian media voted to decide the winner.
James C. Wofford (Upperville, VA) collected Lifetime Achievement accolades in front of legions of his fans. A lifelong servant and student of the sport he was a multiple medal-winning eventing rider, coach, trainer, author, AHSA president, administrator, broadcaster … and legend.
Learn more about Wofford by watching this video about his life: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/USEFAnnualMeeting2012
Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, NC) picked up his laurels for Junior Equestrian of the Year. One of the few young drivers in his sport, he has caught the attention of many in his discipline for his ability and poise.
Learn more about Jacob by watching this video: 2011 Junior Equestrian of the Year
Read more about Wofford and Arnold here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/7921/2011/12/16/usef_announces_wofford_arnold_to_r.aspx
The USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award was presented to Morgan enthusiast and competitor Sascha Mills for her style and contributions both in and out of the competition arena. She was nominated by the American Morgan Horse Association. More information about Mills is available here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/7895/2011/12/4/sascha_mills_wins_2011_usef_youth_s.aspx
Raymond Francis, Nancy Nathanson and Marvin McCabe received Pegasus Medals of Honor.
The McDevitt Award of Merit is awarded posthumously to people who have passed away during the preceding competition year. In 2011 Johann Senn, Cornelia Serpell and Art Gayan were honored.
Sportsmanship Award and Walter B Devereux Trophy was given to Georgine Winslett in 2011.
The Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy is given, at the discretion of USEF President David O’Connor, to honor distinguished service in equestrian sport. The winner of this award is known only to the president until it is presented and in 2011, O’Connor chose Howard Simpson.
USEF Equus Foundation Humanitarian Award was awarded to Molly Sweeney. Read more about her life and volunteer work here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/7931/2011/12/19/molly_sweeney_named_recipient_of_th.aspx
Charles Dennehy, Elizabeth Searle and Edward Teater were added to Honor Roll of Distinguished Officials for their service to equestrian competition.
Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy was awarded to Morgan Silver for her work with the Florida Horse Protection Association.
Joan Hamilton, an acclaimed Saddlebred breeder at Kalarama Farm, was honored with the Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Trophy.
Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award was bestowed to Dr. Margaret “Meg” Sleeper for topping the USEF Endurance Rider Ranking List in 2011.
The reception before the Pegasus Dinner was made possible by Publishers Press, and the Pegasus Dinner was sponsored by the USA Equestrian Trust. Makes sure to check out all of the Annual Meeting Sponsors here: http://www.usef.org/convention/2012/sponsors.aspx