Lexington, Ky. – On a night dedicated to celebrating the horse, US Equestrian is pleased to share that HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and François Mathy, has been voted the 2017 International Horse of the Year and Cuba, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC, has been voted the 2017 National Horse of the Year.
International Horse of the Year
HH Azur (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sion van de Zuuthoeve/Sir Lui)
2006 Belgian Warmblood mare
Owners: Double H Farm and François Mathy
HH Azur’s raw athleticism and keen instinct for the sport was evident from the moment her hooves stepped into the show ring with her superstar rider McLain Ward at the reins. Known as “Annie” in the barn, her storybook year began with a win in the $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in February. Continuing to demonstrate her dependability and undeniable talent in a major championship, HH Azur delivered three perfect rounds to guide Ward to his first Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final title in April. Following the World Cup Finals, HH Azur returned to competition at Spruce Meadows in the prestigious $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup CSI5*. From there, she and Ward anchored the U.S. team to a silver-medal tie in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup™ at CHIO Aachen in July and a silver-medal finish in the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in September. It should be noted that HH Azur has not had a single fault in team competition in 2017.
National Horse of the Year
Cuba (Namelus R x Ups-A-Daisy/Mermus R)
2007 KWPN gelding
Owners: John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC
Cuba, John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding, had an impressive year in 2017. Having proven himself a successful hunter, Cuba started his campaign as a Derby horse just one year ago. With rider Victoria Colvin, the pair stood out at the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Championship in August, placing third in the Classic Round, winning the Handy Hunter Round, and finishing as the overall champion by a significant margin of 9.75 points. Cuba closed the competition year as the USHJA International Derby horse with most money won. Over the course of only five competitions, Cuba earned $55,853.
Lexington, Ky. – On a night dedicated to the horse, two special athletes were recognized for their excellence in 2015 during the USEF’s Year-End Awards Gala. In a year that witnessed equestrian athletes excel, PVF Peace of Mind and Brunello reached the pinnacle of their sports and for their achievements were named International and National Horse of the Year, respectively. Voting was open to the public through January and both horses, already fan favorites, were rewarded for their tremendous results throughout 2015 with support from voters.
International Horse of the Year
PVF Peace of Mind (Statesman Signature x JPR Have Mercy/Saddleback Sky Pilot)
2007 Morgan mare
Owner: Suzy Stafford
PVF Peace of Mind, the charismatic eight-year-old Morgan mare, reached unbelievable heights in 2015 and has proven to be unbeatable with owner Suzy Stafford. In the carriage, in an astonishing feat of competitive excellence, “Hunny” won in each of her three FEI combined driving events this year, including the CAI2* Hermitage Classic in Goshen, Ky., the prestigious CAI2* Kentucky Classic in Lexington, Ky., and a second consecutive win at the CAI2* Live Oak International in Ocala, Fla. Most importantly, Hunny’s dominating performance in all three phases of competition at Hermitage earned her and Stafford the 2015 USEF Single Horse Driving National Championship by an incredible 14-point margin over their closest rival. Hunny has been undefeated in the dressage arena this year with Stafford. Demonstrating her versatility under saddle, Hunny was undefeated at First Level ridden dressage and crowned First Level Show Champion at the popular Massachusetts Morgan Horse Show this summer.
Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd’s Brunello has been turning heads in the hunter ring with his signature style and consistent top placings for years. With Boyd in the tack, the pair has been a fixture in International Hunter Derby competitions since the program’s inception and scored their biggest victory in August when they won their third consecutive USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Ky. The pair won both the Classic Hunter Round and the Section A Handy Hunter Round on their way to securing this unprecedented victory.
Cortes ‘C’ – International Horse of the Year (SusanJStickle.com)
Lexington, Ky. – On a night dedicated to the horse, two special athletes were recognized for their excellence in 2014 during the USEF’s Year End Awards Gala. In a year that witnessed equestrian athletes excel, Cortes ‘C’ and Elis GV reached the pinnacle of their sports and for their achievements were named International and National Horse of the Year, respectively. Voting was open to the public through January and both horses, already fan favorites, were rewarded for their tremendous results throughout 2014 with support from voters.
International Horse of the Year
Cortes ‘C’ (Randel Z x Orchidee Van De Tombeele) 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding
Owner: Abigail Wexner
Cortes ‘C’ enjoyed a banner year in 2014, cruising to some of the most coveted titles in the sport of show jumping. Abigail Wexner’s scopey Belgian Warmblood gelding began his campaign by twice collecting victory in the Ruby et Violette WEF competition at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival with Beezie Madden. Then in August at CSIO5* Hickstead, Cortes ‘C’ jumped a double-clear to seal victory for the U.S. in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup, and two days later again produced two clears to seal a historic victory in The Longines King George V Gold Cup. Next on the docket was the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, where Cortes ‘C’ had a single rail in nine rounds to propel the U.S. to Team Bronze and Madden to Individual Bronze, and with four impressive clears in the Final Four, he earned the “Best Horse” title. The final victory of the season for Cortes ‘C’ came in the CP World Cup Qualifier at the National Horse Show, as he and Madden earned victory in a jump-off for the ages.
“He’s a horse I’ve believed in from the very beginning,” said Madden, “I’m so glad he got his year to shine.”
See the video honoring Cortes ‘C’ at the USEF Year End Awards Gala on USEF Network here.
National Horse of the Year
Elis GV (Mintse 384 x Berber Fan’t Nije Libben) 2009 Friesian gelding
Owner: Beth Kornegay
Elis GV is the first homebred for Jim and Beth Kornegay of Grandview Farm, and the Friesian gelding is already proving to be quite the competitor. With an exceptional temperament, Elis GV carried seven junior riders, an adult amateur driver, and his trainer, Bruce Griffin, into the winner’s circle a multitude of times in 2014. This season alone, Elis GV scored 11 IFSHA National and World Championships, eight IFSHA Reserve National and World Championships, two IFSHA National Top Fives, 24 Regional Championships in three Regions, seven Regional Reserve Championships, and six Regional Top Fives. His results were across a variety of disciplines, including carriage pleasure driving, dressage, dressage hack, drive & ride, driven dressage, English show hack, hunter pleasure, sport horse in hand, trail in hand, western dressage, western pleasure, and working trail. Although busy in the show ring, Elis GV continued to show his exemplary character by being a mount in a therapeutic riding program, further demonstrating his versatility.
“I just want to thank God, my husband, my wonderful trainers, my people at home that show, and all my Friesian family,” said Beth Kornegay while accepting the award for Elis GV.
“Elis is a great horse,” added Jim Kornegay, “but he wouldn’t be where he is without Bruce and Stacy [Griffin].”
See the video honoring Elis GV at the USEF Year End Awards Gala on USEF Network here.
To learn about all the six horses nominated for 2014 Horses of the Year, click here.
Lexington, Ky. – At the USEF Year End Awards Gala Saturday night, Abigail Wexner’s Simon and Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd’s Brunello were named International Horse of the Year and National Horse of the Year, respectively. Voting was open to the public in December and both horses, already fan favorites, were rewarded for their tremendous results throughout 2013 with support from voters.
International Horse of the Year Simon (Mr. Blue x Naline)
1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding
Owner: Abigail Wexner
With rider Beezie Madden, who was named 2013 USEF Equestrian of the Year on Friday, Simon’s year was one of top finishes in the U.S., and on the biggest international stages. Simon started the year in Wellington, Fla., where he secured a fourth-place finish in the Adequan Grand Prix at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, and jumped fault free as a member of the victorious U.S. team at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by G&C Farm.
Simon’s biggest win of the year, and of his career thus far, came in April at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. After winning the opening Speed Leg, Simon kept up his good form throughout the week. It came down to a jump-off, but under the steady hand of Madden, Simon kept composure well and beat out 2012 Olympic Champions Steve Guerdat and Nino Buissonnets to earn his, and Madden’s, first ever Rolex/FEI World Cup Final title. Their win in Gothenburg continued a run of American success at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final, and a USEF awards trend. Following in the footsteps of 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final winner’s Flexible and Rich Fellers, Simon and Madden won the Final, then went on to win the popular vote and take home the USEF International Horse of the Year and Equestrian of the Year titles.
Simon’s year didn’t end in April though, as he continued to jump well through the summer and fall. At Spruce Meadows Simon collected third place finishes in both the PwC Cup and the ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup. At the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Simon and Madden anchored the team and helped it earn the Consolation Round win.
“This is my favorite awards night of the year because it honors the horse,” said Madden while accepting the award for Simon,. “I think what makes Simon so special is his athletic ability and his desire. I have to thank his owner Abigail Wexner for all of her support.”
National Horse of the Year Brunello (Breeding Unknown)
1998 Hanoverian gelding
Owner: Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd
For years Brunello has been a star of the hunter ring. His signature style, consistent top finishes, and partnership with rider/co-owner Liza Boyd has made him a distinguished winner and fan favorite. They’ve been a fixture on the International Hunter Derby scene since the program’s inception, and they earned their biggest win to date in August.
Having won International Hunter Derby classes in each the previous four months, the Camden Spring International Hunter Derby in March, Atlanta Spring International Hunter Derby in May, the Summer International Hunter Derby in June, and the BRCHS International Hunter Derby in July, the pair went into Lexington at the top of their game. After the Classic Hunter round Brunello and Boyd found themselves in second place, but one good Handy Hunter round away from a shot at winning. Their round was excellent, and with it they earned the 2013 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.
Brunello kept up the success in the fall with second-place finishes at the Jacksonville Finale International Hunter Derby and the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
“He such a special horse,” said Boyd when hearing about Brunello’s win. “I’ve had him since 2007 and every, every day he comes out and tries his heart out for me… he’s the horse of a lifetime and he really, really deserves this award.”
The following four horses were honored in 2013 as USEF Horses of Honor.
A Ruf Gal (Lil Ruf Peppy x My Top Sail Gal)
2006 Quarter Horse mare
Owner: Pete Kyle
Pete Kyle’s A Ruf Gal entered 2013 as one of the top reining mares in the country and continued to earn top results in her best season to date. Her phenomenal 2013 campaign began in April with a fifth-place finish in the CRI3* and a Reserve World Championship Freestyle title at the Kentucky Reining Cup. Next she won the CRI3* and the USA Reining Open class at the NRHA Derby in June, before earning co-champion honors in the CRI3* and a top-10 finish in the Senior Reining division at the AQHA World Show.
WGC CHCallaway’s Annabel Allison
(CHCaramac x Callaway’s Love Lucy)
2004 American Saddlebred mare
Owner: Silver Brook Stables
WGC CHCallaway’s Annabel Allison entered the record books in 2013 as the first mare to win the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship title at the Kentucky State Fair in 14 years. In the lead-up to her historic win in Louisville, Silver Brook Stables’ impressive mare and rider Debbie Foley earned the Five-Gaited Championship at the Midwest Charity Horse Show. The talented duo completed its 2013 campaign with another Five-Gaited victory at the UPHA American Royal National Championship Show.
Sam (Manno x Kimberly)
2002 KWPN gelding
Owner: Misdee Wrigley-Miller
Sam stepped up his game when he was needed most in 2013. Always dependable in the coaching discipline, Sam was called upon to perform on the world stage in championship level combined driving over the summer. He met the challenge gamely was undeterred as he drove alongside an inexperienced youngster to help the U.S. earn its best finish ever, fourth, at CAI Riesenbeck then delivered the performance of a lifetime at the World Championships in Slovakia, helping the United States to finish again in fourth place, just five points away from the podium.
Bizkit (Bonte Bart x Holde Van Emden)
2001 Part-Bred Friesian stallion
Owner: Gwendolyn Schmidt
Bizkit has been a horse-of-a-lifetime for owner Gwendolyn Schmidt, and his phenomenal talent and temperament were rewarded in 2013. He claimed three World Grand Championships, one World Reserve Championship, and a World Championship Top Five, in addition to two National Grand Championships, five National Reserve Championships, 16 Regional Grand Championships, three Regional Reserve Championships and one Regional Top Five. At the Buckeye Baroque Summer Jubilee, Bizkit was named the High Point Part-Bred Friesian, and earned the High Point Award at the IFSHA World & National Championship Show.
Buffalo, NY – January 21, 2013 – In a fitting end to a spectacular year, SBS Farms is pleased to announce that their leading mount Jersey Boy was named the 2012 USEF National Horse of the Year. During the USEF Annual Meeting, Jersey Boy was presented with the prestigious award after earning the admiration of voters with big wins and sustained successes. The impressive 11-year-old gelding’s accomplishments in the hunter ring are unparalleled.
The discipline of hunters is deeply rooted in tradition, and there are names that are synonymous with the sport that bring about thoughts of admiration, tradition and horsemanship. Jersey Boy is one those names, a horse that has become renowned in the hunter world, and a gem to his hometown of Buffalo, New York.
He’s been described as the “quintessential Derby horse” and his record proves it – ranked as the Highest Grossing Horse for Lifetime Earnings with an astounding $196,640 in earnings in 2012, recognized as the winner of the George H. Morris Perpetual Trophy for three consecutive years and honored as the 2011 National Show Hunter Hall of Fame Horse of the Year, as decided by the most prestigious professionals of the equestrian sport.
Louisville, KY – At the USEF Annual Meeting on Friday horses Flexible and Jersey Boy were named 2012 USEF International Horse of the Year and USEF National Horse of the Year respectively. These two winners, determined by a vote that was open to the public, were superstars of their disciplines in 2012 and earned the admiration of voters with big wins and sustained successes.
Flexible (Cruising x Flex) 1996 Irish Sport Horse Stallion
Owners: Harry and Mollie Chapman
Discipline – Show Jumping
He’s a little horse that wins big and in 2012 he won the hearts of fans all over the U.S. Flexible’s victories at U.S. Olympic Team observation events in Del Mar (the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar) and at Spruce Meadows (the $35,000 Husky Energy Cup and $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix) never seemed in doubt and earned him a ticket to London where he and rider Rich Fellers led the U.S. Team. Their 8th place finish in the Olympic Individual Jumping competition made them the highest placing American pair, but it was a performance earlier in the year against Olympic Gold medalists Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Jumping Finals that was the highlight of their 2012 campaign.
Buffalo, NY – January 1, 2013 – SBS Farms, Inc. exemplified the meaning of victorious during the 2012 year. The team took home top honors at the most prestigious horse shows and events across the nation, with Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy rising to the pinnacle of their career with their win at the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals in Lexington, KY, in August. Trainer Susie Schoellkopf and professional rider Jennifer Alfano are now gearing up for the 2013 show season, where they will showcase their skills, and those of their students in the hunter and jumper venues.
Last year, Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy stole the spotlight during the final week of the Jacksonville Winter Series, held at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Green Cove Springs, FL. The pair rode to the top of the standings during the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Jacksonville Winter A to Z. They also took the reserve championship in the High Performance Hunters. Alfano also showed Sharon O’Neill’s Rose Hill to the Second Year Green Working Hunter Championship.
Buffalo, NY – December 27, 2012 – Time is running out to vote for the 2012 USEF Horse of the Year Award and the 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year Award. Voting will run through midnight (EAT) January 7, 2013, with the champions claiming their crowns on January 18 during the 2013 USEF Annual Meeting as part of the 2012 USEF Awards Celebration.
This is the first year that Alfano has received the coveted Emerson Burr Trophy, as well as had the honor to claim a place among the eight nominated athletes of the equestrian sport. As a two-time World Champion Hunter Rider in 1996 and 1997, Alfano has nabbed the coveted Leading Hunter Rider Award at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the National Horse Show and the Ocala HITS winter circuit. She was the Top Grossing Rider with over $400,000 in earnings in 2010, and currently sits second in the USHJA Lifetime Rider Standings with an astounding $299,650 earned in International Hunter Derby winnings, with $70,000 earned in the 2012 year alone. The National Show Hunter Hall of Fame voted Alfano 2009 and 2011 Hunter Rider of the Year.
Thousand Oaks, CA – December 22, 2012 – After topping the Paralympic equestrian ranks at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and earning the highest ranking among the United States Equestrian Olympic and Paralympic Team, Jonathan Wentz of Richardson, Texas was on top of the world. The duo of Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale were synonymous with dynamic duo. Wentz was a team player, a hard worker, and someone who always put his horse first. Tragedy would hit the equestrian community at the end of September 2012 when Wentz passed away due to unknown causes only two weeks after his Paralympic debut. Wentz was back at college at Southern Methodist University where he was in his senior undergraduate year. Just days before his death, Wentz gave a speech in front of his peers and spoke about what it meant to him to become a Paralympian. Wentz was a leader in and out of the classroom and took his role as a U.S. athlete seriously. The 21-year-old 6’5″ Texan was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth and didn’t let his diagnoses define him. He was the epitome of a champion, achieved the goals he set-forth, and truly loved his sport and his fellow teammates.
Jersey Boy Nominated for 2012 USEF Horse of the Year
Buffalo, NY – December 14, 2012 – Professional hunter rider Jennifer Alfano and the stunning Hanoverian gelding Jersey Boy have become household names in the hunter industry over the years. With their recent victory during the 2012 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals – a feat which had eluded the pair in their lengthy list of accolades – it is no wonder that the dynamic duo has been nominated for the 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year Award and the 2012 USEF Horse of the Year Award. Voting will run through midnight (EAT) January 7, 2013, with the champions claiming their crowns on January 18 during the 2013 USEF Annual Meeting as part of the 2012 USEF Awards Celebration.
This is the first year that Alfano has received the coveted Emerson Burr Trophy, as well as had the honor to claim a place among the eight nominated athletes of the equestrian sport. Alfano is no newcomer to the honor of awards in the hunter ring, consistently proving herself as the crème de la crème of the hunter industry.