USEF Equestrian & Horse of Year Voting Announced–No Dressage Nominee

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2010 Equestrian of Year nominee McLain Ward riding Sapphire at World Equestrian Games. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
2010 Equestrian of Year nominee McLain Ward riding Sapphire at World Equestrian Games. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Dec. 21–The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced the nominees for 2010 Horse and Equestrian of the Year for voting by the membership with the results announced at the USEF annual meeting on Jan. 21.

No dressage horse or rider was among the nominees despite the historic World Equestrian Games individual double bronze medal performance by Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, on Ravel.

2010 Equestrian of the Year (To vote, click here)

McLain Ward of Brewster, New York–Show Jumping

The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is for an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing or show jumping. McLain Ward and his superstar partner, Sapphire, dazzled the show jumping world in 2010 with grand prix victories around the world. From the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix repeat win to the $1 million prize at the Pfizer Grand Prix in Saugerties, New York, the duo continues to dominate the U.S. show jumping world. After rebounding from heartbreak at the 2010 Rolex FEI World Cup Final, they went on to win on the world stage from Rome to La Baule. Ward also scored a major victory in Dublin with Antares F.

Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas–Reining

The Becky Grand Hart Trophy for an FEI international-level non-Olympic athlete. The only American WEG double-gold medalist (aboard Gunners Special Nite) and NRHA $1 Million Rider, Kentucky Cup Champion and Adequan/USEF Open Reining Championships reserve champion.

Nadine Tilley of Los Angeles–Andalusian/Driving

The Bill Robinson Trophy for an equestrian competing with horses or ponies across all the breeds in harness or for driving performance in non-international competitions. For four decades, Nadine Tilley has been competing in open driving shows, combined driving events and traditional carriage driving, including International Andalusian/Lusitano Horse Association driving classes. 2010 honors include four National Champion titles earned at the IALHA Nationals – Pleasure Driving Open, Pleasure Carriage Driving Amateur, Show Pleasure Driving Junior Horse and Half-Andalusian Driving Amateur.

Hunt Tosh of Alpharetta, Georgia–Hunter

The Emerson Burr Trophy for a rider in the hunter divisions in any breed over fences. In 2010, Hunt Tosh dominated the Working Hunter and Green Conformation classes spanning the East Coast, including multiple Overall Circuit Champion titles and Champion at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals aboard Lone Star.

Merrill Murray of Versailles, Kentucky–American Saddlebred

The C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy for excelling in under saddle show breeds. One of only five riders ever to win the American Saddlebred’s Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship aboard three different horses, Merrill Murray was the rider and trainer of the 2010 Champion, Courageous Lord. Murray rode two different horses to the Champion Five-Gaited title at the Indianapolis Charity, Rock Creek, Lexington Junior League, Shelbyville Horse Show, All American Horse Show and the Kentucky State Fair.

Daryl Hopson of Walla Walla, Washington–Morgan

The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy for an equestrian showing in a non-reining Western discipline. Daryl Hopson’s dominance was felt from the Key Classic in Washington to regional championships in California and New England. He was Grand National and World Championship in Oklahoma City where he guided four separate horses to Grand National and World Championship titles.

Michael Byatt of New Ulm, Texas–Arabian

The Norman K. Dunn Trophy for an equestrian competing at halter or in-hand. In a career spanning several decades, Michael Byatt has won titles worldwide. In 2010, some of the finest Arabian horses garnered multiple top titles at all the majors, including Scottsdale, Egyptian Event, U.S. Arabian & Half-Arabian National Championships, as well as international wins at Aachen, Menton, Sharjah and Paris.

Lauren La Vine of Burbank, California–Friesian

The Vaughan Smith Trophy for 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. She won the 2010 International Friesian Show Horse Association World and Grand Nationals Horse Show. Her work culminated at the World and Grand Nationals where she was undefeated in every class in which she entered, taking home eight World and six National Championships, plus two high-point awards.

2010 Horse of the Year (To vote, click here)

Afires Heir, eight-year-old Arabian stallion. Owner: Shirley and William Reilich

With the 2010 Arabian English Pleasure U.S. National Championship win, Afires Heir accomplished what no other Arabian had done in the history of the breed. He garnered his fourth consecutive unanimous U.S. National Championship in four years (one as a junior horse and three in the open division). His titles in the Open English division at the U.S. National Championships have written a new page in the Arabian horse show books and set the new record for the breed.

Gunners Special Nite, six-year-old Quarter Horse stallion. Owner: Sarah B. Willeman

Gunners Special Nite won two gold medals at the World Equestrian Games, ridden by Tom McCutcheon. Representing the U.S. for the first time, Gunners Special Nite secured team gold medal for the U.S., the third consecutive team gold for America. Two days later, the stallion won the individual final.

Heza JackRabbit, six-year-old Shetland/Roadster stallion. Owner: Michelle LeGrotte Barcus

The 46-inch (117mm) tall pony known for his athleticism and showmanship ended his last year in the ring with four championships. Heza JackRabbit, owned by amateur owner and driver Michelle LeGrotte Barcus, was the Modern Shetland Roadster Champion at the Kentucky Spring Premier, the United Professional Horsemen’s Association Chapter V, the Modern Amateur Roadster Reserve Champion at the ASPC Congress and the Roadster Reserve Champion at the Missouri State Fair.

Lone Star, 10-year-old Warmblood gelding. Owner: Dr. Betsee Parker

Lone Star with Hunt Tosh posted wins at the Ocala, Florida, winter circuit in February and jumped to victory in several states on his way to dominating the $100,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA Hunter Derby Finals. Lone Star became the first horse to win the Grand Working Hunter Champion at the Pennsylvania National for the second consecutive year.

CHSprinkles, 14-year-old American Saddlebred mare. Owner: Dr. Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes

CHSprinkles won seven of the eight classes in which she competed in 2010. This Juvenile Five-Gaited mare and her petite 12-year-old rider, Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes, won the Lexington Junior League Horse Show and the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show and ended the year with a win in their age division and the Juvenile Five-Gaited Championship at the American Royal Horse Show. CHSprinkles has shown 131 times for 109 wins in her career.