The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has announced the nine finalists for the 2015 USEF Equestrian of the Year Award. The nine Equestrians of Honor represent the best of equestrian sport, with representatives from multiple disciplines included on the nomination ballot. Each finalist recently received a unique, competitive trophy to commemorate their achievements within their discipline.
The William C. Steinkraus Trophy, awarded to equestrians competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping, has two recipients this year. Laura Graves, of Geneva, Fl, will receive the award for her success as in dressage, and McLain Ward, of Brewster, NY, will receive the award for the second time, recognizing his talents in show jumping.
The Bill Robinson Trophy for equestrians competing with horses or ponies in harness divisions was presented to driving legend Misdee Wrigley Miller, of Lakewood Ranch, Fl.
Liza Boyd, of Camden, SC, is one of the top hunter professionals in the industry, and will receive the Emerson Burr Trophy for riders competing in hunter over fences.
The American Saddlebred breed will present the C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy to Elisabeth Goth, of Lebanon, KY, after a standout year competing with an incredible string of horses.
Three of this year’s finalists come from the Arabian industry, representing the breed’s versatility and diversity. The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy, presented to an equestrian in a non-reining western division, will go to Michael Damianos, of Oak View, California, for his success in the Arabian western division, and Martha Rattner, of Georgetown, Ky, will be presented with the Norman K. Dunn Trophy for success in halter or in-hand divisions. The Becky Grand Hart Trophy, presented to international-level non-Olympic athletes, will round out the awards from the Arabian industry, going to acclaimed endurance rider Cheryl Van Deusen, of New Smyrna Beach, Fl.
Bill Deeney, of Ventura, California, is the last of the finalists. Deeney received the Vaughan Smith Trophy, presented to an equestrian competing in hunter pleasure, hunter on the flat, show hack, hunter hack, dressage hack, costume, side saddle, or western dressage, for his success in the Andalusian/Lusitano industry.
The final champion will be decided through a public vote, which will run online through midnight ET January 4, 2016. A valid email address is required to participate in the voting. The USEF Equestrian of the Year will be announced on January 15, 2016 during the 2015 USEF Pegasus Awards Gala.
More information on the finalists, as well as voting ballots, may be found here