Skip to content

The Stars are Shining: Athlete Panel Announced for Inaugural Youth Council Convention

by Joyce Hamblin

Lexington, Ky. – The Youth Council is pleased to announce the completed panel of Star Power athletes for the Inaugural Youth Council Convention to be held January 18, 2008 in Louisville, KY. These representatives of the USEF recognized breeds and disciplines have been high profile successful competitors for many years.

Karen O’Connor will represent the Eventing discipline. Her most recent successes have been astride the notable Theodore O’Connor, a pony who has accomplished feats that have challenged his larger counterparts. Karen and ‘Teddy’ most recently competed at the Pan American games and brought home Team and Individual Gold medals. This incredible pair also finished third at the prestigious Rolex Event.

George Williams will represent the Dressage discipline. Williams is best known for his great success competing with the Wesphalian mare, Rocher. His most recent accomplishments this year include placing first at the CDI*** Cincinnati GP Special2, and 3rd at the CDI-W Wellingotn GP Kur 3 aboard Marnix, a Dutch Warmblood.

Representing the Arabians and National Show Horses, is Joel Kiesner, a well-known trainer of multiple winning English Pleasure and Park Horses at both Regional and National-level Competitions. IXL Noble Express and Nabasken Afire are only two of the recent outstanding horses he has been competing.

Misdee Wrigley will represent several breeds of which she has been a successful amateur competitor. These include the Friesians, Hackneys and American Saddlebreds, with successes both under saddle and in harness. Most recently she won the Best Team class (4-in-Hand) and Reserve Coaching Champion at the Walnut Hill Driving Competition, and she was unanimously awarded Champion for the Fine Harness Amateur Championship Class with Castledream at the World’s Grand Championship American Saddlebred Show in Louisville.

From the Reining world the representative will be the ever-successful Tom McCutcheon. Tom has been a WEG Gold Medalist and a USET Gold Medalist and made the Open Finals at the 2007 NRHA Derby aboard Starbucks Finest. He is also a million dollar rider.

Valerie Kanavy will represent the Endurance discipline. A veteran of the sport, she bested the competition at the CEI*** Morrison on Saagre Gold in March.

The Hunters and Jumpers will have Louise Serio as their spokesperson. Louise has had multiple successes winning hunter championships at such prestigious competitions such as Devon, Harrisburg, and Washington. She also won the Zone 2 HOTY Reserve Championship and Chronicle of the Horse Show Champion of the Year with Grey Slipper.

The schedule of the day’s events will include such topics as competition management, equine opportunities in college, careers in the equine field, nutrition and feed and information technology.

For further information and a complete schedule of sessions for the Convention, please go to the USEF Youth Council link. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hamblin, Director of National Affiliates and Program Manager for the Youth Council at or call (859) 225-6939.


More Stories