USEF Announces Nominees for 2015 USEF Horses of the Year

December 21, 2015–The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the six horses are up for the 2015 USEF Horses of Year honors.

National Horses of Honor

Brunello (Breeding Unknown)
1998 Hanoverian gelding
Owners: Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd

Brunello | Photo Copyright Shawn McMillen Photography

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.

Dash Rip Rock (Time x Femke Fan Ferwalde/Oege)
2003 Friesian stallion
Owner: Laurie Statam

Dash Rip Rock | Photo Copyright Howard Schatzberg

Dash Rip Rock, a 12-yearold Friesian stallion, is owned, trained, and ridden by true amateur Laurie Statam and her daughter, Robynn. While “Dash” has been Friesian Saddle Seat Horse of the Year for three consecutive years, his performance in 2015 has been dominating, going undefeated in English Pleasure and Park. 

At the Bonnie Blue National Horse Show in Lexington, Va., Dash won all English Pleasure, Show Pleasure Driving and High Point awards. At the Buckeye Baroque Regional Championship in Columbus, Ohio, he floated down victory lane five times in seven performances. At the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show in Asheville, N.C., Dash won six out of seven classes, and earned 12-year-old Robynn her first Walk Trot Championship, epitomizing this charismatic stallion’s kindness and ability.

Mid-summer took Dash to New York at the Baroque Horse Region 2 Championships, where he saw a repeat of English Pleasure and Show Pleasure Driving superiority. At the Region 1 Championships, he won the English Pleasure and Show Pleasure Driving classes. To wrap up an amazing year, Dash traveled across country to the IFSHA Friesian World and Grand National Championships in Burbank, Calif., where he earned 10 World Championship titles and six Reserve Champion titles in Carriage, Show Pleasure Driving, Park, Ride-n-Drive, and Liberty in Open, Amateur, and Junior divisions. 

Glynhafan Hermione (Glynhafan Red Hawk x Glynmagi Lorelei)
2003 Welsh Pony mare
Owners: Katilin and Elizabeth Hofer

Glynhafan Hermione | Photo Copyright Elizabeth Hofer

In 2015, Glynhafan Hermione showed why she is one of the top Welsh ponies in the country. Ridden by her junior rider, Kaitlin Hofer, and her trainer, Elizabeth Hofer, she showed her versatility by competing in Breed, Hunters, English Pleasure, and Western Pleasure divisions, and earning top honors in all of them. She repeated her 2014 USEF Horse of the Year wins, once again claiming Grand Champion Welsh (for the fifth time), and three HOTY National and Region 1 Championships for Welsh Hunter Section A&B, Welsh Pleasure Section A&B, and Welsh Pleasure Adult Section A&B. She is the National Champion in three divisions of the Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America, including English Pleasure 12.2-14.2, Hunter 12.2-14.2, and Western Pleasure. “Hermione” gives her all, whether at a show or at home, where she is a saint for lead-line and therapeutic lessons.

International Horses of Honor

PVF Peace of Mind (Statesman Signature x JPR Have Mercy/Saddleback Sky Pilot)
2007 Morgan mare
Owner: Suzy Stafford

PVF Peace of Mind | Photo Copyright Jennifer Manderscheid

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. PVF Peace of Mind holds the current FEI high score dressage record in the CAI 3* B HP1 Dressage test in the United States and all of Europe. 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.

Rothchild (Artos x Pitchounette du Bosquetiau/Elegant de L’ile)
2001 Warmblood gelding
Owner: Sagamore Farms

Rothchild | Photo Copyright

2015 was a stand-out year for Sagamore Farm’s 14-year-old Warmblood gelding, Rothchild. He started the year with second place honors in the $127,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Round 7, the $1 Million AIG Grand Prix, the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, and the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake. He went on to win the CP Grand Prix during the CSI5* ‘Continental’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows. His greatest showing of the year was at the Pan American Games, where he helped the U.S. Team to a Bronze medal and claimed Individual Gold. In his final competition of the season, he earned the win in the $100,000 Coachella Valley Classic.

Verdades (Florett As x Liwilarda/Goya)
2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding
Owner: Laura Graves

Verdades | Photo Copyright

In 2015, Verdades showed that he is a consistent and true contender for the United States. Laura Graves’ 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding moved up to the highest level of dressage competition only last year but swept many CDI competitions early this year. He posted six wins in CDI competition this spring at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), including a sweep of the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and Grand Prix Freestyle during CDIO3* Wellington, ensuring a U.S. Team Gold medal and collecting Individual Gold.

Verdades wowed the crowds in Las Vegas at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final, placing fifth in the Grand Prix and fourth in the Grand Prix Freestyle as the highest-placed U.S. participant. Over the summer, Verdades traveled to Toronto, where he was a member of the U.S. Gold medal-winning team at the Pan American Games, placing second in the Grand Prix and first in the Grand Prix Special and. He also placed second in the Grand Prix Freestyle, securing the Individual Silver medal. and. Verdades is currently ranked 15th on the FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings, moving up seven places from this time last year. To many, Verdades encompasses the heart of the sport in America. He showcases the dream of a horse and rider, working together from their youth, to prove their strength and partnership in the international ring.

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