Tag Archives: Misdee Miller

Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, Laura Lee Brown Continue USET Foundation Gift-Matching Initiative

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one driving athlete who has seen the benefits of the Developing Athlete Program. Photo by Pics of You.

Gladstone, NJ – Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, and Laura Lee Brown initiated the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation Driving Challenge in 2017 with a goal of raising $1,200,000 for the U.S. Equestrian High Performance Driving program, and today, the loyal supporters and active drivers remain committed to closing in on that goal.

Through the Driving Challenge, multi-year gift commitments of $20,000 or more are matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000, by the Millers, Wilson, and Brown, who encourage fellow drivers, owners, and enthusiasts to help create a legacy for the High Performance Driving program by rising to the Driving Challenge.

“We created the Challenge because driving, historically, is such a small discipline, and it hasn’t been able to be very well-funded,” said Misdee Miller. “Early on, we recognized that we not only needed to raise funds for our athletes traveling abroad, but most importantly, fund programs and drivers at home.”

The Driving Challenge created a source of funding that can be drawn upon each year and has provided increased support for the Developing Athlete Program (DAP), which has been instrumental in the careers of up-and-coming drivers. A large percentage of the funds are allocated to hiring coaches running educational clinics across the country. There are also plans to develop an international working student program so that drivers can gain valuable first-hand experience competing in Europe.

“So far, the program has thrived and blossomed and has helped a lot of drivers,” continued Misdee Miller. “We’ve taken them from Preliminary all the way to becoming national champions. That’s the best way to recognize if a program has been successful or not.”

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one such athlete who has seen the benefits of the program first-hand, after coming up through ranks from the Preliminary level all the way to being named the 2019 USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Champion.

“I look back to where my horse and I were and to where we are now, and I just think, ‘Wow, we’ve come a long way!’ I have to attribute the vast majority of my success to the opportunities I’ve gotten through the DAP,” said Thompson, who works as a full-time equine veterinarian in Wisconsin. “I’m so thankful to those who have contributed to this program because it has helped me get to where I am today.”

Nifty Hamilton, who was the highest placed U.S. Combined Driver at 2018 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles, also credits the program with her success.

“The High Performance Program has been the cornerstone to my development as a driver and the training of [my horse] Makari Design up through the levels,” said Hamilton. “The quality and variety of the clinicians, in both training and lectures, that the USEF has offered, continue to move me forward toward my goals.”

“We’re really hoping we can get people excited about funding new drivers,” concluded Misdee Miller. “It’s training and developing and supporting drivers on their pathways from the grassroots all the way to ‘pre-podium.’ If we realize our goals, we would raise over a million dollars for driving. That would be quite historic.”

Learn more about being a part of history and making a donation to the Driving Challenge by contacting Bonnie B. Jenkins at bjenkins@uset.org or by phone at 908-234-1251.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Miller, Swope and Rudder Score Emphatic Win in American Saddlebred Division at Alltech National Horse Show

David Rudder and Phind the Treasure.

Lexington, KY – November 1, 2013 – The American Saddlebred Division, presented by James & Misdee Miller and Elisabeth Goth & Richard Shadwick, captivated the Alltech National Horse Show crowd on Friday night at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The electric atmosphere in the Alltech Arena spurred the horses on to perform their best as the division concluded with big wins for David Rudder, Misdee Miller and Susan Swope.

“With the exception of Louisville, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a crowd that loud and that enthusiastic,” said Swope, who rode her own Miss Can’t Be Wrong to claim the Three-Gaited Amateur/Juvenile Championship. “The hunter/jumper people had a lot to do with that, and we appreciate it. My horse loved the audience. She was very bright.”

Miss Can’t Be Wrong, a striking black 4-year-old mare, stood out from the rest in her division. “She’s very refined,” Swope, of Simpsonville, KY, said. “I think her chiseled head and neck are her best assets. She’s got a lot of motion too, and a good attitude, so she’s a pretty special mare.”

David Rudder, who scored two wins on the night, seconded Swope’s assessment of the audience.

“I thought the atmosphere was fantastic tonight,” he said. “It adds so much more excitement when we’re competing to have a crowd that’s enthusiastic. When you’re in the ring and the crowd’s cheering, it energizes you, and the horses can tell too. It’s really a lot of fun.”

Rudder and Phind the Treasure, owned by Joan Hamilton of Springfield, KY, won the ASB Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Juvenile/Adult Stake. Rudder later paired with Candalight, owned by Crabtree Farms Inc. of Simpsonville, KY, to take the title in the Five-Gaited Amateur/Juvenile Championship.

“They’re both similar in the fact that they both love to compete,” Rudder said of the two winning mares. “You can feel that they get excited and love to go in the show ring. They have great expression, and you can just feel them change as soon as they’re at the horse show. That’s always a sign of a good horse – they rise to the occasion.”

Joining Rudder in taking home two titles on Friday evening was Misdee Wrigley Miller. She began with a first place finish in the Fine Harness Amateur Stake with H.S. Baby Steps, owned by Hillcroft Farm of Paris, KY.

Misdee W. Miller and H.S. Baby Steps
Misdee W. Miller and H.S. Baby Steps

“This is the first time I’ve showed this mare,” she said of H.S. Baby Steps. “So I was a little nervous – I’ve never had her in the ring before. But she was fantastic. She was such a thrill to drive, she really was.”

Miller returned later in the night to claim the Road Horse to Bike Championship, sponsored by Sylvia Covino, with Hillcroft Farm’s Live Action. Miller and Live Action blazed their way around the ring, drawing cheers from an enthusiastic crowd as they showcased their speed and style.

Miller stepped up to support the American Saddlebred division this year at the Alltech National Horse Show in order to bring the excitement of the show to other competitors.

“American Saddlebreds were always such a great part of the National Horse Show,” she explained. “I remember showing when it was still at Madison Square Garden, and that was such a thrill. They have transformed the arena and done such a good job making you feel like you’re back in the Garden. I just wanted the opportunity for other people to have that same thrill of showing at such a prestigious show.”

“And it worked, because so many people have come up to me now and said, ‘We’ve had so much fun, and it’s like being at the Garden!'” she added. “I know that’s what Mason [Phelps, Jr., President of the Alltech National Horse Show] wanted to accomplish. He’s done a fabulous job.”

While the American Saddlebred and Hackney Divisions at the 130th Alltech National Horse Show have concluded, hunter, jumper and equitation classes, including the $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix and the ASPCA Maclay Finals, continue through Sunday.

For more information or to view the competition live, please visit www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com. Coverage is provided by Shownet.biz, iHigh, HRTV, and USEF Network.

Mary Adelaide Brakenridge for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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