Category Archives: USEF

Verdades and Cobra Win at 2018 Horse of the Year Gala

West Palm Beach, Fla. – US Equestrian is pleased to share that Verdades, owned by Laura Graves and Curt Maes, has been voted the 2018 International Horse of the Year, and Cobra, owned by Marsha Hartford-Sapp, has been voted the 2018 National Horse of the Year.

Verdades (Florett AS x Liwilarda/Goya), a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, affectionately known as Diddy, began his journey to international success in 2014 after garnering attention from his reserve-champion finish at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Since his launch into the spotlight with his life-long rider and trainer Graves, Verdades’s achievements and continued success are profound. In 2018, Verdades again proved why he is one of the best horses to grace the international dressage ring as he won the Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in Paris and helped the U.S. team earn a silver medal in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Germany. He and Graves then rode for silver medal-winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018.

Since being rounded up in the mountains of Nevada at the age of six, Cobra’s trainer and owner Marsha Hartford-Sapp has been devoted to the 14-year-old mustang gelding and proceeded training him with caution and respect for his instincts, creating a deep bond. Their mutual trust has seen them through competitions in both classical and Western dressage, where Cobra’s versatility and talent for each has been apparent. As one of the founding horses of USEF Western dressage competition, Cobra was one of the first recipients of the 2015 Horse of the Year awards in that discipline and has continued to collect numerous accolades ever since.

“It wasn’t even about that moment when the Olympic medal was placed around my neck. It was about the joy. Despite hardships, heartbreaks, and massive, massive life failures, always overwhelming joy… [and] the fact that this great horse brings so much joy to so many people.” – Laura Graves on her 2018 International Horse of the Year

“Several years ago, I stood in the middle of a round pen with a horse that was six years old, rounded up by a helicopter, and never touched by human hands.” – Marsha Hartford-Sapp

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation

US Equestrian to Recognize Georgie Green and Isabela De Sousa at Pegasus Awards

Isabela De Sousa (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, Ky. –US Equestrian is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award to be acknowledged at the 2019 US Equestrian Annual Meeting at the Hilton West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla. Georgie Green is the winner of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, while Isabela De Sousa is the 2018 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Both Green and De Sousa will be recognized at the Pegasus Awards on Thursday, January 10, 2019, along with other prestigious award winners.

Green (Morgan Mill, Texas) has been a dedicated leader for the Morgan breed. For more than 40 years, Green and her husband, John, have owned and operated Roadshow Morgans, the largest Morgan breeding operation in Texas and one of the largest amateur operations in the country. They purchased their first Morgan horse, Funquest Paddy, in 1972 and their first breeding stallion, Showcase, in 1973, which has led to more than 100 horses with the Roadshow prefix. These top-quality horses have become world and national champions, local winners, and beloved family pets. Green’s dedication to this American horse is exemplified by her work to foster interest for pedigreed livestock in younger generations.

Green joined the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Board of Directors in 1980. Five years later, she was named AMHA’s Woman of the Year, as well as the organization’s first female president. She served as AMHA president from 1985 to 1988 and again from 1993 to 1996. For nearly 30 years, Green served on its Board of Directors and chaired several committees, including the all-important Registry Committee. Outside of AMHA, Green served on the show committee for the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® for many years, serving as show chair three times. She also served on the USEF Board of Directors as the Morgan breed representative and currently sits on the USEF Morgan Sport Committee.

Green was honored with the National Pedigreed Livestock Council’s 2007 Distinguished Service Award for those whose dedication to their chosen breed is exhibited through extensive altruistic endeavors. Now, Green is the recipient of the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award for her undying commitment to the Morgan breed, which has elevated the sport’s excellence.

As Junior Equestrian of the Year, De Sousa (Lexington, Ky.) will be presented with the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy. At the age of 17, De Sousa is already an exemplary ambassador for equestrian sport, in particular for the Thoroughbred horse. She has been riding all her life and has been retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds for the last few years. De Sousa has found much success in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, winning the show jumping division from 2015 to 2017. She displays her maturity as a consummate horsewoman by treating the Makeover as icing on the cake versus a hard-fought goal for the Thoroughbreds she retrains. Her ultimate goal is to provide the horses with a solid foundation and start them on a second career path that they can enjoy in their new homes.

In 2018, she retrained Cozmic One, the first foal of famed racehorse Zenyatta, and finished fifth in the Makeover show jumping division. In addition to her strong placing, De Sousa used her social media influence on the de Sousa Stables Facebook page throughout Cozmic One’s retraining process to educate fans about how Thoroughbreds can be retrained after their careers on the racetrack and the positive side of racing and the Thoroughbred industry.

De Sousa also secured top results in the show ring throughout 2018, including competing in her first equitation finals in the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final, the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final, and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.

To learn more about US Equestrian’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit usef.org/annual-meeting.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian and United States Dressage Federation Publish 2019 Dressage Tests

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) announced today that the co-branded 2019 USEF/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Dressage Tests are now available and published online through USDF.

Effective December 1, 2018, through November 30, 2022, the 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests are newly co-branded with the USDF as the two organizations work together to continue to proliferate and promote the sport of dressage in the United States. The 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests continue to serve as a measure of the horse and rider’s schooling and training, while each level builds upon the preceding level’s principles.

USDF’s “On the Levels” will continue to provide examples of the new Introductory through Fourth Level dressage tests.  “On the Levels” features engaging videos to help athletes understand the requirements for tests within each level, with commentary from top U.S. trainers and judges and segments geared toward improving difficult movements at each level.  Keep an eye out for the launch of this product in the coming months.

Additional test products will include a new test app containing both the USEF and USDF tests and, once produced, a test booklet, which can be purchased through the USDF online store at store.usdf.org.

Click here to view the 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests. For information on licensing the new tests, contact USDF at copyright@usdf.org.  For questions or additional information, contact Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage National Programs, at hniebielski@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Deaf Horse Dazzles at Western Dressage World Show

With his pure white coat with just a black “sun visor” for a marking, Smokin White Gun, known as “Danny,” has become one of the best-recognized horses at the Western Dressage World Show.

But Danny is unique for another reason: He is deaf.

Deafness can be associated with lack of skin pigmentation, says his rider, Joanne Haughan from Pennsylvania. Joanne, who is a veterinarian, explains that the cells governing a horse’s pigment and its hearing have a similar origin in the embryo and genes responsible for skin pigmentation are associated with deafness in some Paint horses.

Working with a deaf horse does pose some unusual challenges, Joanne says. “He doesn’t spook at things ordinary horses spook at,” she says. At their farm, while the other horses will flee from the lawnmower, Danny will follow it around, hoping for treats.

But he will spook at things that suddenly appear in his field of vision. He hasn’t heard them coming, so they startle him. Joanne says she has learned to be his ears, listening for anything she can hear coming that’s likely to bother him, recognizing when it’s likely to appear for him and then distracting him or keeping him turned away from it.

Where he lives at Bally Vae Farm, near Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, his handlers have all learned that he may have issues with things over his head, or with sudden contrasts between light and dark.

“It has been a learning curve for both of us,” Joanne says.

But for all that, she wouldn’t trade him for the world.

He started life as a reining horse and came to a barn where Joanne was learning reining. Having been born in England and grown up in Austria, she’d ridden a number of horses there, but as soon as she met Danny, she knew he was special.

That was three years ago.

“The minute I sat on him, I thought, ‘This is the horse for me’,” she said. She rode him for about two weeks, under the tutelage of her trainer, Lauren Annett, then bought him.

She started riding him as a reining horse, but after a while, “I think both of us were getting a little bit burned out with that.”

Joanne in particular was having a particularly hectic year. She was working full time, trying to finish work for her Ph.D. in veterinary medicine (her subject of study is analysis of the relationship between osteoarthritis and periodontal disease in horses), working full time, and trying to ride and show, as well.

She ended up moving Danny to Bally Vae Farm, which is much closer to her home, and gradually switched to Western Dressage.

“It has really done him a world of good,” she says, noting how much his gaits have improved. “But I think he chose it more than I did.” He made it clear that this was work he liked, and “he does have a great work ethic.”

But still, she laughs, “I think his dream job would be to be in a petting zoo… he’d love to stand around being petted all day and being given treats.”

By Barb McLintock
Western Dressage Association of America

© 2018 US Equestrian Federation

US Olympic Committee Announces Best of September Finalists for Team USA Awards

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Colorado Springs, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee announced finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of September, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month. Fans are invited to vote for their favorite athletes and teams at Awards.TeamUSA.org through midnight Monday, Oct. 8.

A total of eight sports – including basketball, equestrian, Para-equestrian, paratriathlon, shooting, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling – are represented among the 13 finalists across men’s, women’s and team categories. The finalists’ collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes year-round.

In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by Dick’s Sporting Goods and USG.

SEPTEMBER FINALISTS

Male Athlete of the Month

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, New York), Indoor Volleyball
Named best opposite at the FIVB World Championship, finishing as the second-leading scorer and second-leading attacker and helping lead Team USA to its first world championship medal – a bronze – in 24 years.

Mark Barr (Davis, California), Paratriathlon
Capped his undefeated season with a gold medal in the men’s PTS2 at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.

G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Wrestling
Earned the gold medal in the 97 kg. division of the Pytlasinski Memorial International after pinning 2016 Olympic champion and three-time world champion Artur Aleksanyan in the semifinal in 27 seconds.

Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia), Shooting
Won his fourth world championship title in skeet shooting at the ISSF World Championships, tying the world record in qualification by shooting a perfect 125-125 targets, and tying the finals world record by missing only one target.

McLain Ward (Brewster, New York), Equestrian
Aboard Clinta, anchored the U.S. Jumping Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games, helping Team USA win the gold medal in a jump-off to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Female Athlete of the Month

Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), Shooting
Won her first career international gold medal in skeet shooting at the ISSF World Championships, edging six-time Olympic medalist and U.S. teammate Kim Rhode in the final, 57-56.

Laura Graves (Geneva, Florida), Equestrian
Aboard Verdades, claimed the grand prix special individual silver medal and the team silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games, becoming the first U.S. dressage combination to lead the FEI Dressage World Rankings.

Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Florida), Para-equestrian
Earned the bronze medal in the individual test and silver in freestyle at the FEI World Equestrian Games, marking the first-ever WEG medals won by a Team USA para-equestrian individual rider.

Allysa Seely (Glendale, Arizona), Paratriathlon
Earned the gold medal in the women’s PTS2 division at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, completing her season sweep of the ITU World Paratriathlon Series.

Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Maryland), Triathlon
Finished third at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, capturing the ITU World Triathlon Series overall silver medal.

Team of the Month

USA Women’s World Cup Team, Basketball
With just two practices with its complete, 12-member team, won its third straight world cup title – and 10th overall – at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, becoming the second women’s basketball team to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

U.S. Jumping Team, Equestrian
Won a historic gold medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games in a thrilling jump-off against Sweden – marking the first world title for the U.S. since 1986 – and secured a national team quota spot for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

U.S. Men’s World Championship Team, Indoor Volleyball
Earned a historic bronze medal at the FIVB World Championship, marking the first world championship medal for the U.S. in 24 years.

SELECTION PROCESS
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male, and one team per sport discipline. An internal nominating committee selects finalists to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via Awards.TeamUSA.org.

From the United States Olympic Committee Communications Department

Letter from US Equestrian President and CEO Regarding Safe Sport

US Equestrian believes the safety and welfare of our members, especially our children, is of paramount importance and that all members must be kept safe from abuse of all kinds. Abuse has no place in our sport or in our lives. We are the guardians of our sport and it is our collective responsibility to raise awareness and educate each other on the behaviors associated with abuse, both sexual and non-sexual. This year, top equestrian athlete Anne Kursinski shared her powerful personal story of abuse by a person she trusted. To help ensure this abuse doesn’t happen to others, Anne has partnered with US Equestrian to raise awareness of the reporting, support and training resources available through US Equestrian and the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Please click here to view an important video message from Anne.

US Equestrian embarked on building a robust Safe Sport Program starting in 2013, years before Safe Sport became a household term in equestrian sport. During the process of expanding our program, the leadership and Board have been called upon many times to take the lead in creating awareness, reporting methods, education, survivor support, training and other resources. You will be proud to know that, recently, the Board once again took the reins and approved a requirement that, starting January 1, 2019, all adult members (18 years of age and older) who have a USEF Competing Membership must complete the Safe Sport training. This is a major milestone in our efforts to unite our equestrian community in preventing abuse. The core training consists of three modules which take approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Safe Sport education for all members and parents of our junior members is essential to protecting each other, understanding when and how to report, and recognizing the signs in order to prevent abuse before it occurs. US Equestrian provides numerous resources to further your education and participation in the Safe Sport movement. Here are some of the resources available to you at www.usef.org/safesport:

  • Safe Sport training – FREE to all US Equestrian members. Three modules take just under 90 minutes to complete initially, with a 30-minute refresher training annually;
  • A suspended and banned list that identifies the person by name and the reason for their suspension or ban;
  • The U.S. Center for SafeSport has partnered with RAINN to provide a 24-hour victim services hotline, reached at 1.866.200.0796;
  • The new USEF Safe Sport Directory is a searchable database to help individuals, parents, athletes, and others in our sport find the people within our industry who have completed the Safe Sport training and/or a criminal background check;
  • Safe Sport FAQs and Safe Sport training FAQs on our Safe Sport webpage;
  • Town Halls and Affiliate meetings to raise awareness, educate and field questions;
  • Expanding our recently launched #YouAreNotAlone campaign, including providing campaign materials to competition organizers to utilize at competitions;
  • Developing Learning Center educational video content and PSAs for use by USEF, Affiliates and competitions;
  • Expanding the monitoring of USEF and Affiliate Safe Sport compliance; and
  • Hiring additional support staff as needed for the Safe Sport Program.

Additionally, many of our members spend their weekends at competitions, and to make certain that we are providing you with the resources you need when you are attending shows, we have just launched the #YouAreNotAlone campaign. US Equestrian will be providing competition organizers with a Safe Sport Toolkit that includes posters with reporting resources, public address announcements, video PSAs and competitor information. Working with our competition organizers, US Equestrian will bring reporting, education and support resources directly to you at the competition. We want you to know that you are not alone, and we are here to help.

Clear communication on all things related to Safe Sport is important to achieving our mission to raise awareness, assist you with reporting, increase education and provide support. Recently, we sent a hard copy letter accompanied by our USEF Safe Sport Handbook to the parents of our junior members. We strongly believe parents are an integral part of our efforts to prevent abuse. While the U. S. Center for SafeSport’s parental awareness training is available at no cost, we encourage you to join US Equestrian by using the code Parents18 to become a free Fan Member. By providing us with your unique email address, you allow us to more efficiently communicate with you, and through your Fan Membership, you can gain access to all the Safe Sport resources, as well as numerous member benefits and discounts.

In addition to the resources offered by US Equestrian and the Center, it is extremely important that you are aware of this legislation: Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. It requires amateur sports organizations and their members to report sex-abuse allegations involving minors to local or federal law enforcement, or to a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department, within 24 hours. Failure to do so is a crime.

Not only is reporting the right thing to do, it is critical to creating a safe environment for athletes and members. Sexual and non-sexual misconduct have two distinct reporting processes:

  1. All sexual misconduct should be reported directly to the U.S. Center for SafeSport by phone 720-524-5640 or online at safesport.org.
  2. All non-sexual misconduct or violations of the Safe Sport Policy should be reported directly to US Equestrian. Reports through US Equestrian can be submitted using the USEF Incident Report Form, or by email or phone to Teresa Roper, Safe Sport Program Coordinator, troper@usef.org, 859-225-6915, Sonja Keating, General Counsel, skeating@usef.org, 859-225-2045, or Emily Pratt, epratt@usef.org, 859-225-6956.

Both the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Equestrian will accept anonymous reports, but please note that it can be very difficult to investigate anonymous complaints.

The safety of our members and the future of our sport are dependent on how all of us act. Together, we will make a difference and we will make our sport a place where safety is the norm and abuse finds no home. We hope you will embrace this call to action and join us in our efforts to eradicate abuse in our sport.

Please contact our legal department, which handles all Safe Sport inquiries, at skeating@usef.org, should you have any questions or need assistance.

Sincerely,

Murray S. Kessler
President

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Safe Sport Ban and Temporary Suspension Communication Policy Update

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian recently updated our notification process for Safe Sport temporary suspensions and lifetime bans.  US Equestrian continually evaluates our communication strategy to ensure we provide our members with meaningful information in a timely manner.

Currently, we post the temporary suspensions and banned individuals list online which is available to the public. We suggest members and the media check this list on a regular basis to stay informed.

We also notify competition management regarding temporary suspensions and bans to ensure show management has the information they need to make certain these individuals do not participate in competitions and are not on the grounds.  Notifications go out directly to all competition managers and secretaries from our IT database to ensure 100% reach.  Additionally, we inform key USEF staff, the affiliate, and the FEI based on the individual’s specific breed or discipline.  US Equestrian has been directly reaching out to individuals who have received bans or temporary suspensions with phone calls to supplement the e-mail notification they receive from The U.S. Center for SafeSport.

For members, US Equestrian will feature a special Safe Sport section in the Equestrian Weekly member newsletter with a link to the current banned and temporary suspension list, as well as important Safe Sport news and updates.  US Equestrian will consider broader communication to press and members when deemed appropriate to ensure enforcement and awareness to effectively implement a ban including removing their name from past accolades and preventing future recognition.

Lastly, we have posted Safe Sport Frequently Asked Questions on our website and will continue to update this reference material on an ongoing basis.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Safe Sport Updates from USEF President and CEO

Safe sport has been a topic of national conversation recently and we take this issue very seriously. USEF has been proactive for several years under the leadership of our General Counsel Sonja Keating to develop and implement safe sport programs and we want to share additional steps we are taking to ensure our children and young athletes are safe while practicing and competing in the sport they love.

Expanding Mandatory Requirements for Safe Sport Training

Currently, Safe Sport training is required for designated individuals including persons that the USEF formally authorizes, approves or appoints to a position of authority over athletes or have frequent contact with athletes. At the June meeting, the US Equestrian Board of Directors will consider expanding this rule to require mandatory Safe Sport training for all participants at USEF licensed competitions. Safe Sport training is done online with the initial course taking approximately 90 minutes and the refresher course required annually taking approximately 30 minutes. This would be a personal responsibility rule and compliance would be done by US Equestrian and not by competitions.

Newly Created Safe Sport USEF Staff Position

US Equestrian has recently hired a staff member dedicated to all elements of our Safe Sport program including education, communication and compliance.

New Training Resources for Parents and Participants

It is essential that all members educate themselves regarding Safe Sport. Not only to understand when and how to report, but also to recognize the signs in order to prevent abuse before it occurs. To further your education and participation in this movement, US Equestrian provides numerous Safe Sport Initiative resources on our website at www.usef.org including the following:

  • Safe Sport Training – FREE to members! Three modules that take just under ninety minutes to complete initially, with refresher training (currently voluntary);
  • New resources developed by the Center and designed specifically for parents of equestrian athletes of all ages are available on our website. The training video is free. Parent toolkits are available too for parents of preschool age children, middle school age children, school age children, and high school aged adolescents.
  • A banned list that identifies the person by name and reason for their ban; and
  • The U.S. Center for Safe Sport has partnered with RAINN to provide a 24-hour victim services hotline, reached at 1.866.200.0796.

Know the New Federal Legislation Reporting Requirements –they impact you

In addition to the resources offered by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Equestrian, it is extremely important you are aware of legislation that passed on February 14, 2018, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.  It requires amateur sports organizations and its members to report sex-abuse allegations to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and to local or federal law enforcement, within 24 hours of such knowledge. Failure to do so is a crime.

Bully, Harassment and Unsportsmanlike Behavior

Not all misconduct is sexual. Bullying, harassment and unsportsmanlike behavior are also violations of our Safe Sport policy and unacceptable. All reports will be properly investigated and appropriate measures taken should those investigations result in a finding of a violation.

Under the Safe Sport policy, bullying and harassment are defined as follows:

  • Bullying – Repeated and/or severe (a) aggressive behavior (b) among Minors, (c) that is intended or likely to hurt, control, or diminish another person emotionally, physically, or sexually. Such misconduct between adults does not constitute bullying; the conduct must be directed toward someone under 18 years of age to be actionable as bullying under the Center’s Code or our Safe Sport Policy.
  • Harassment – Repeated and/or severe conduct that (a) causes fear, humiliation or annoyance; (b) offends or degrades; (c) creates a hostile environment; or (d) reflects discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on age, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, national origin, or mental or physical disability; or (e) any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law. Whether conduct is harassing depends on the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the behavior.

Reporting

Sexual and non-sexual misconduct have two distinct reporting processes:

  • All sexual misconduct should be reported directly to the U.S. Center for SafeSport by phone at 720-524-5640 or online at safesport.org.
  • All non-sexual misconduct or violations of the Safe Sport Policy should be reported directly to US Equestrian. Reports through US Equestrian can be submitted using the USEF Incident Report Form, or by email or phone to Sonja Keating, General Counsel, skeating@usef.org, 859-225-2045, Sarah Gilbert, sgilbert@usef.org, 859-225-2022, or Emily Pratt, epratt@usef.org, 859-225-6956.

Both the U.S. Center for SafeSport and US Equestrian will accept anonymous reports, but please note that it can be very difficult to investigate anonymous complaints.

US Equestrian is dedicated to bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible and part of that joy is making sure you have the resources available to assist you in making safe choices for our children.  In the same way that our members look to US Equestrian, US Equestrian looks to the Center for the answers to our questions so that we do all we can to make your experience safe and fulfill our responsibilities as an NGB.

Please contact Sonja Keating in our legal department for all Safe Sport inquiries. She can be reached at skeating@usef.org.

Murray S. Kessler
President

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

US Equestrian Federation
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511
P. 859 258 2472 , F. 859 231 6662

Hamilton and Makari Design Defend Their Title at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship came to a conclusion on Sunday with the cones phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). The athlete-and-horse combinations had to face Barry Hunter’s tough cones course to determine the ultimate winner. Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design kept their cool in the final phase to win back-to-back national champion titles.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design began the national championship by winning the dressage and marathon phases with scores of 48.09 penalties and 81.92 penalties, respectively. They drove a great cones round to add 2.96 time penalties to their score and win the final phase. Hamilton and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton claimed their second national champion title after finishing on an overall score of 132.97 penalties.

“The cones course drove very well, but it was pretty technical and tough to make the time on,” Hamilton explained. “It was great because it is the kind of course that will make you better.”

Commenting on how Makari Design performed throughout the competition, Hamilton said, “He is definitely more connected than he has ever been, which allows me to ask for more. With more work and work on getting him stronger, he is going to be even better in a few years.”

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco earned the reserve national champion title due to their strong performances. They were in third place after Friday’s dressage phase with a score of 52.89 penalties and then moved up to second place after tallying 82.53 penalties in Saturday’s marathon phase. Arnold piloted Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding around the cones course to have one ball down for 3.00 penalties. In their first year competing together, Arnold and Uminco garnered an impressive finish on an overall score of 138.42 penalties.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Meara Beval were third in the national championship with an overall score of 149.25 penalties.  Chapman and her 14-year-old American Warmblood mare scored 53.96 penalties in the dressage phase to sit in fourth before rising to third place following the marathon phase that added 88.34 penalties to their score. They closed out the national championship with two balls down and time penalties for 6.95 penalties in the cones phase.

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Olympians Claim Longines FEI Awards for Best Jumping Rider and Best Horse

Left to right: FEI President Ingmar De Vos, McLain Ward (USA), Kent Farrington (USA) winner of the Longines FEI Best Rider Award, Claudia Mathy, François Mathy and Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing (Longines/Pierre Costabadie)

Paris, France – World number one Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) has claimed the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider and HH Azur, the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Double H Farm and François Mathy, was declared the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse at a special presentation in the Paris City Hall.

Olympic silver-medalist Farrington took over the number one slot in the Longines World Rankings in May 2017 and refused to allow anyone to break his winning streak, remaining at the top of the elite list for the rest of the year. The 37-year-old, who is well on the road to recovery after breaking his right leg in a fall in mid-February, received the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider after finishing the year on 3,313 points.

HH Azur, whom McLain Ward rode to victory at last year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha (USA), added another major accolade to her collection when being named the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse. Affectionately known as “Annie,” the Olympic mare is owned by Double H Farms and Francois Mathy (BEL), who collected the award accompanied by his wife Claudia Mathy and McLain Ward.

“We are delighted to present the Longines FEI best rider and best horse here tonight in Paris in this beautiful setting of the Mairie de Paris, a fitting prelude to the FEI World Cup Finals,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said.

“We are all inspired by how these athletes – both human and equine – ignite the passion in our sport and show us what it takes to succeed on the world stage. In addition, the successful partnership we have established with Longines, demonstrating the synergies between the brand and our sport, not only give extra recognition to our athletes, but the creation of these awards has given additional value to the Longines rankings and provides a further incentive to our athletes worldwide.”

“The Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards ceremony has enabled us to once again celebrate the common passion for equestrian sports we share with our Top Partner, the FEI,” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said. “As we have seen here tonight, through these awards, we are increasing the visibility of jumping and bringing together the heroes of the discipline on a global level. We are delighted to crown the 2017 best jumping athletes in the context of these prestigious FEI World Cup Finals.”

Farrington, and HH Azur’s co-owner François Mathy, were each presented with an elegant Longines watch from the Longines Saint-Imier Collection as well as a replica trophy of the magnificent crystal winged hourglass representing the brand’s emblem at the inaugural ceremony in Paris, alongside the FEI World Cup Finals 2018 draws for Jumping and Dressage.

To see more on the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider, click here.

To see more on the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse, click here.

Edited Press Release from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)