December 20, 2007 — Over 500 members of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) made their way to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the 2007 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention, presented by Nutrena, held December 6-9 at The Broadmoor.
Over the weekend the association honored the recipients of its 2007 Year-End awards at the Saturday evening dinner and dance, sponsored by Maui Jim Sunglasses.
USEA Horse of the Year honors went to Theodore O’Connor (“Teddy”), the 12-year-old, 14.2-hand Thoroughbred/Arab/Shetland gelding (Witty Boy-Chelsea’s Melody) owned by The Theodore O’Connor Syndicate, LLC. With three-time Olympian Karen O’Connor in the irons, the talented pony tallied several wins this year, including individual and team gold medal at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
The USEA presented a new perpetual trophy this year in honor of the achievements of gifted eventing ponies at all levels of competition. The Theodore O’Connor USEA Pony of the Year trophy will be given each year to the highest pointed pony at any level. While Teddy earned the award for 2007, as the trophy’s namesake he will not be eligible to win the trophy in the future.
The USEA Rider of the Year for the eighth straight year was Phillip Dutton, who resides in West Grove, Pa. Dutton rode internationally for his home country, Australia, for many years until he became an American citizen last year and changed his competitive nationality so that he would be eligible to represent the United States. Dutton represented the U.S. for the first time at the Pan American Games in July where teaming with Annie Jones’ and Susan Stimson’s Tru Luck he was a member of the gold medal winning team and also brought home an individual silver medal. His many accomplishments gave him a total of 946 points.
Karen O’Connor of The Plains, Va., had one of the best years of her career, earning for a record 10th time the USEA Lady Rider of the Year title. Her successes this year included impressive performances at every star level, including the Pan Am individual and team gold medals with USEA Horse and Pony of the Year Theodore O’Connor (who she also teamed with to win The Fork CIC***).
Corinne Ashton of Princeton, Mass., received this year’s USEA Adult Amateur of the Year honors as well as a $1,000 purse sponsored by Stackhouse Saddles. Ashton had a stellar year with her 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Dobbin winning the Advanced division at the Wellpride American Eventing Championships, the Advanced division at Millbrook, the Advanced/Intermediate division of Morven Park, and the Advanced division at Southern Pines, with high placings at other prestigious events as well.
The USEA Young Rider of the Year trophy was presented to 19-year-old Tiana Coudray of Ojai, Calif. Coudray worked with primarily two mounts this year, both at the intermediate and advanced levels. She and King Street were fourth at Ram Tap in Advanced, won the Galway Downs CIC***-W, and was second in Advanced at Twin Rivers. With Ringwood Magister she won the CCI* at Galway Downs in November and won the CCI* at Twin Rivers in May.
Jam, owned and ridden by Bruce Davidson of Unionville, Pa., earned USEA Mare of the Year honor for the third year in a row. This 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare, sired by Shar, started the year off winning the Advanced division at Poplar Place Horse Trials, then placed third at Maui Jim CIC*** in July, and this fall traveled across the Atlantic to place tenth at the Burghley CCI****, all with owner Bruce Davidson in the irons.
For more information on the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention, including other award winners, visit www.useventing.com.