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USEF Will Recognize Outstanding Equestrian Achievement at the Pegasus Awards Gala January 12th


(Lexington, KY) – Heroes for horses, stellar athletes and horsemen, and those who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of equestrian sport, will be honored next Friday evening, January 12th at the USEF Pegasus Awards gala at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville, Kentucky.  The festivities begin with a reception at 6:30 and dinner and the awards ceremony at 7:30.


Highlighting the evening will be the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to George H. Morris of Wellington, Florida.  The current Chef d’Equipe of the United States Show Jumping Team, Morris is considered one of the most influential riders and trainers in equestrian sport.  Since becoming the Chef d’Equipe in 2005 he has guided the US Team to the gold medal in the 2005 Samsung Super League, the most prestigious annual league in show jumping; the team silver medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games; and the 2006 silver medal in the Samsung Super League.  United States team rider Beezie Madden won the individual silver medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games.


Morris’ career began as a precocious junior rider winning both the AHSA Hunter Seat Medal Final and the ASPCA Maclay Final at the tender age of 14, the youngest rider ever to do so.  In international competition, he represented the United States on the Gold medal-winning Pan American Games team in 1959 and on the Silver medal-winning team at the 1960 Rome Olympics.  Between 1958 and 1960, he rode on eight winning Nations Cup teams and in later years served as Chef d’Equipe for numerous Nations Cup teams including as Co-Chef d’Equipe at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, where the U.S. won both the team and individual Silver medals.  Morris also served as a Director of the former USET, and as a member of its Executive and Show Jumping Committees. 


Morris’ training successes include a “Who’s Who” of the United States’ top show jumping riders figuring prominently in U.S. Olympic history.  At the 1984 Olympics, the Gold medal-winning team included three former Morris students, Conrad Homfeld, Leslie Burr-Howard and Melanie Smith Taylor.  The 1992 team included students Lisa Jacquin, Anne Kursinski and Norman Dello Joio.  In 1996, Morris was assistant Chef d’Equipe of the silver medal Olympic team, which included former students Burr-Howard, Kursinski and Peter Leone.  At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, former student Chris Kappler won the individual Silver medal and was a member of the Gold medal-winning team. 


Morris is also a well-known author of equestrian books and videos.  He currently serves on several USEF committees, including the National Jumper Committee, as well as on the United States Hunter Jumper Association Hunter Seat Equitation Task Force, and the USHJA Jumper Zone II and Trainers Certification Committees. He holds a Registered Judge’s License in the Jumper, Hunter and Hunter Seat Equitation divisions.  Additionally, Morris is President of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.


In addition to Mr. Morris the following individuals will be recognized:


USEF Youth Sportsman’s Charter Award:  Caitlin Novotny, Oklahoma City, OK, Morgans

Presented to a junior under the age of 17 who demonstrates an ongoing commitment and dedication to the USEF and their recognized affiliate through the promotion of the horse; serving as a positive role model for their peers; and have earned awards for accomplishments in horsemanship at the local, state or national levels of competition.


USEF Grand Prix Show Jumping Course Designer of the Year

Mr. and Mrs. William C. Cox Memorial Trophy: Conrad Homfeld, Wellington, FL


For excellence in grand prix show jumping course design requiring skill, dedication and commitment.


Honor Roll of Distinguished Officials:  Mary Anne Grimmell, Elk River, MN


Mary Anne Grimmell has had a career as a steward spanning five decades.  Additionally, since 1974 she has held Judges cards in both Pintos and Arabians.  She is a former President of the International Arabian Horse Association.


Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeder’s Award: Mr. John Scheidt and Mr. Don Spear, Stonecroft Farm, Simpsonville, KY


Mr. Scheidt and Mr. Spear have built Stonecroft Farm into one of the nation’s premier breeding farms in not just one but two breeds, Morgans and American Saddlebreds.  They have bred World Champions in both breeds.  Their list of champions reads like a “Who’s Who”  . . . Saddlebred champions include CH Boucheron, CH Revival, and CH I’m First. In Morgans they were the first in history to breed a yearling filly that became World Champion Mare.


Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Trophy: Ms. Georgie Green, Allen, TX


Georgie Green exemplifies the ideal of good sportsmanship through commitment, dedication, fairness and service to the USEF and her beloved Morgan Horse community.  With her husband John, she owns Windswept Place in Allen, Texas and has spent much of her life devoted to raising and promoting Morgan horses and the American Morgan Horse Association.  She is always generous in sharing her knowledge and has served on a very long list of AMHA, USEF and horse show committees.  In 1985 she was named AMHA Woman of the Year, and in 1988 she was inducted into the AMHA Hall of Fame.


Heroes for Horses:  Saddlebred Rescue, Inc.  Pat Johnson and Nealia McCracken


This award is presented to an individual(s) or organization(s) that have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the protection and welfare of horses and/or have saved equines through an act of courage and resolve during a crisis situation.


Saddlebred Rescue, Inc is a non-profit organization devoted to saving and “re-homing” American Saddlebreds, and other horses, that would otherwise be headed for their death. Many are purchased at last-stop auctions and through the efforts of Pat Johnson of Blairstown, New Jersey, Nealia McCracken of Hardwick, New Jersey, Christy Parker of Brunswick, GA, and their supporters, over 100 horses have been saved. Many Saddlebred horses, as well as Hackneys, harness ponies, draft horses, Standardbreds and Morgans, have found loving new homes across the country and now have a future with a job teaching someone to ride, or serving as therapy horses. 


The Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy for Distinguished Service


The recipient will be announced by USEF President David O’Connor on Friday evening.


Pegasus Medals of Honor


In recognition of individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport, and who, through their dedication, have attracted people to the sport and contributed to horse sport by advancing its popularity.


W. Gary Baker, Middleburg, VA


A consummate horseman with a variety of equestrian interests, W. Gary Baker owns, breeds, trains and sells Welsh and cross-bred ponies and Thoroughbreds. He also serves as a competition manager, holds several USEF judge licenses, and devotedly serves on a long list of committees for the USEF, USHJA, Virginia Horse Shows Association, and Maryland Horse Show Association.  Mr. Barker also has a passion for steeplechasing, foxhunting, and flat racing.  For his unwavering commitment to the betterment of equestrian sport he will be presented with the Pegasus Medal of Honor.


Jean McLean Davis, Harrodsburg, KY


Jean McLean Davis is one of the most successful exhibitors and breeders of American Saddlebreds in the history of the breed.  Showing since childhood, she won her first World Grand Championship when a young teenager in 1943.  In 1982 she was still at it, winning another World Championships with her CH Hometown Hero.  As owner of Oak Hill Farm, Mrs. Davis has won some 65 World Grand Championships and the farm has posted a staggering 845 championship titles.  She is a true legend in the annals of all equestrian competition regardless of breed or discipline.


Donna Moore


A founding member of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association in 1968; winning 36 World Championships in one year; and selling an American Saddlebred at auction for the world record price of $1.2 million, are just a few of the accomplishments of Donna Moore, one of the great stars in the history of the American Saddlebred.  Her talent for all aspects of horsemanship - breeding, training and exhibiting - has been recognized by her induction into the UPHA Hall of Fame and the Kentucky State Fair Hall of Fame.  She has also given back to the show world as a highly respected Judge.


The Richard E. McDevitt Award of Merit


Named for the past president of the American Horse Show Association, this honor is presented posthumously for meritorious service to equestrian sport.


Joseph E.  Stopher, Louisville, KY


Joe Stopher devoted decades of work and passion to the Kentucky State Fair World Championship Horse Show and the American Saddlebred Horse Association.  He served on both the ASHA and AHSA Board of Directors, also serving as legal counsel for the ASHA, as well as the American Saddlebred Museum.  A member of the Kentucky State Fair Board, Joe was the guiding spirit in charge of the World’s Championship Horse Show and became one of the most beloved personalities in the Saddlebred community.  He was honored with induction into the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show Hall of Fame; the ASHA C.J Cronan Sportsmanship Award; and the UPHA Distinguished Service Award.  The famous chute leading to the show ring at the Kentucky State Fair leading to the World Championship ring has been officially named, “The Stopher Walk.”


Dr. Joseph C. Odea, Geneseo, NY


Not only did Dr. Odea serve for fifty years as official veterinarian at the National Horse Show, he was also the team veterinarian for the United States Equestrian Team at a host of Olympic Games and events across the globe.  He was also a skilled breeder of Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds at his farm in the Genesee Valley of New York State.  He generously donated his time and skill to multiple equine organization including as past-president of the Genesee Valley Breeders Association; the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and was a member of the FEI Veterinarian Commission. In 1997, The Chronicle of the Horse named him as ‘Horseman of the Year.’


Junior Equestrian of the Year


To qualify for the Junior Equestrian of the Year award, a junior equestrian must have competed at USEF-recognized shows over the past year and extol all the virtues of good sportsmanship and integrity while serving as someone who has not only excelled exceptionally, but shown a willingness and record of giving back to their sport.


Brianne Goutal, New York, NY


Brianne Goutal, age 18, has generated incredible buzz over the past year and rewritten the junior hunter/jumper history books with her incredible sweep of every major youth championship in the hunter/jumper world to date. In 2004, she won the USEF Talent Search Finals, the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Finals and was on the North American Young Rider Championships (NAYRC) Gold medal show jumping team. The following year, she won the USEF Medal Finals, the ASPCA Maclay Finals, and the Individual Gold medal at the NAYRC, where she was once again a member of the Gold medal team. For all her achievements, she was honored by the USET Foundation with the Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Award, recognizing her as a young rider who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship and horsemanship.

Will Harris,
Arrington, TN


Will Harris, age 18, has also created a name for himself, one that has stretched past his long dedication and participation in the world of Saddlebreds. In 2005, Harris and his mare, She’s Bedazzled ADW, were crowned World’s Champion in the highly competitive Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Riders 16-17 division. The pair refused to rest on their laurels, and in 2006, they captured the Reserve World’s Champion title for their division and placed third in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 Championship. This added to three Reserve World’s Champion titles he has received since 2001. The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) honored Harris, who also serves on several AHSA committees, with the Frank Ogletree Youth Award as an outstanding role model for his peers.


USEF Equestrians of Honor


Megan Benjamin, Saratoga, CA
Becky Grand Hart Trophy (tie)

Megan Benjamin vaulted into history by being the first female vaulter to bring an Individual Gold medal back to the
U.S. from the 2006 FEI World Equestrian games in Aachen. She astonished the crowds and world with her grace and agility, not only during her individual performance, but also as a member of the U.S. Silver-medal team. She was the only member of the U.S. vaulting contingency to compete in both team and individual events and the first ever to bring home two medals. As a result of her Gold-medal effort, Benjamin was named the United States Olympic Committee Athlete of the Week – only the second time an equestrian has received that honor. Benjamin also put in brilliant performances at the United States Equestrian Federation® (USEF)/American Vaulting Association (AVA) National Vaulting Championships, maintaining her reign as the Women’s Gold National Champion, a member of the USEF/AVA National Championship "A" Team, and the AVA National Gold High-Point Women's Champion. She has held each of these titles for three straight years. The USEF #1 ranked female vaulter this year, Benjamin won all four WEG selection trials in which she competed this year. Benjamin has become an ambassador with a real presence for the United States and is certainly a star for the future, not only for vaulting, but for equestrian sport as a whole.

John French,
Redwood City, CA
Emerson Burr Trophy

The generally composed and reserved John French wowed the hunter scene this past October when he won the 2006 Monarch International Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider Finals, which took place during the Capital Challenge Horse Show. French is an outstanding representative for the West Coast in the East Coast dominated hunter world. French was uncharacteristically giddy winning what is possibly the highest honor for a hunter rider for the second time in 2006. This win came along after he amassed a string of wins from across the country and even at the U.S. Arabian Sport Horse Nationals. His ability to remain calm and avoid rushing or overreacting under even the tensest circumstances makes French a model hunter rider, even though he also rides jumpers and was a second alternate for the Athens Olympics. His ability to be precise and maintain gentleness throughout the ride is what makes French the hunter rider to emulate.


Rick Gault, Archdale, NC
Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy

Rick Gault won the Purebred Western Futurity, Champion Purebred Western Pleasure Junior Horse Championship, and Champion Purebred Western Pleasure Open at the 2006 U.S. Arabian and Half-Arabian Nationals – an unbelievable accomplishment that has never before been done by one individual. A phenomenal rider, Gault works the horses beautifully in and out of the arena. He brings out the best in every horse he rides into the ring with a patience to be admired, never raising his voice or getting after the horse. As an extraordinary trainer, Gault works hard to develop each individual horse, honing the horse's talents and abilities to the level of a champion. However, with all his successes, he remains one of the humblest horse trainers ever met, giving all the praise and honor to the horses he loves.


Judy Whitney Harris, Cox’s Creek, KY
Bill Robinson Trophy

Judy Whitney Harris truly changed the Morgan show world, standing it on its end and showing what horses under her care could become. She combines grace, exquisite horsemanship, kind spirit, dedication, and her love for horses, making her a model equestrian. She is considered by many to be the most amazing Morgan horse trainer of her time. Just stating that a horse was trained by her adds volumes to its resume. Early in 2006, Harris was inducted in the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) Tom Moore Hall of Fame, acknowledging that her feet are firmly planted in both the Morgan and Saddlebred worlds. Then, the remarkable driver won the World Championship Park Harness at the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show, amazing the carriage driving world. But this is nothing new to Harris, who has been setting records throughout her career.

Bruce Howard, Santa Ynez, CA
Norman K. Dunn Trophy

Bruce Howard has been a legend in the in-hand show world for decades. He began his career showing Arabians, and was known for his national winners in multiple divisions. He was a mentor for many young trainers, including two past winners of the Norman K. Dunn Trophy—Greg Gallun and Gareth Selwood. When Howard switched his focus to Andalusians almost 20 years ago, he has had the same impact on their show ring. Since 1985, Howard Howard has shown over 70 Andalusian horses to national or reserve champion titles and hundreds more to U.S. National Top Five honors. 2006 was no exception, as at
Fort Worth in October, Howard once again won the coveted National Grand Champion Senior Stallion Championship with Bolero TRF and the National Grand Champion Senior Half-Andalusian Championship with Scherherazade DPR. His quiet strength and inimitable sense of style coupled with his intuitive relationship with horses makes him the man to beat at halter. Perhaps, what is most amazing of all, is that Howard turns 70-years-young in 2007 and is still the man to beat.


Beezie Madden, Cazenovia, NY
William C. Steinkraus Trophy
Show Jumping

Beezie Madden’s list of wins is beyond compare. In 2006, at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, she brought back both the Team and Individual Silver medals; in 2005, she anchored the winning U.S. team for the 2005 Samsung Super League; also in 2005, she won the million dollar CN International at Spruce Meadows in Canada on Judgement, and won the $200,000 American Invitational in Tampa, FL, on Authentic. In 2004, she breezed through the Olympic Selection Trials, finishing in first place on Authentic, and with her contribution of double-clear rounds in the Athens Olympic Games, she helped the
U.S. team win the Gold medal. What adjectives can be used to describe a career like this… amazing, remarkable, incredible just don’t seem to convey the magnitude of what Madden has achieved. She was the United States Equestrian Federation’s Equestrian of the Year for 2005, and the American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Rider of the Year for 2004. With accomplishments like these, her name will certainly be added to the list of show jumping legends.

Barbara Goodman Manilow,
Chicago, IL
C.J. “June” Cronan, Jr. Trophy

Barbara Goodman Manilow continued to win an unprecedented string of championship titles in 2006. Showing as an amateur, she once again took home numerous titles from the Kentucky State Fair World Championship Horse Show and the United Professional Horsemen's Association (UPHA)/American Royal National Championship. With her statuesque form atop American Saddlebreds such as CH Callaway’s Sugarplum and Boo!, it’s no surprise that Manilow has captured these honors, along with wins from many of the top shows throughout the country. Manilow rides with such control, bringing an energy and strength from the horse that is unparalleled. In 2005, Manilow made World's Championship Horse Show history, leading all riders, drivers and handlers in first place finishes. Never has there been an amateur to win so many championships at the World Championship Show.

Tim McQuay, Tioga, TX

Becky Grand Hart Trophy (tie)

At the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in
Aachen, Tim McQuay turned out a breathtaking and stunning performance. For his second round, vying for the individual medal, McQuay rode an almost perfect round. Before the score was announced, McQuay dismounted in the show ring and celebrated the exceptional go by performing a jig, to the pleasure of the packed arena. When the score of 230.0 was announced, it proved this celebration was not unwarranted. He added the Individual Silver medal to the Team Gold he had received earlier in the week after an exciting run-off with Duane Latimer, which had the spectators holding their breath with anticipation. These feats only added to an already stunning show record, as McQuay was the first reiner in history to reach the two-million dollar mark in earnings. He has won every reining futurity in existence and holds the respect of not only American reining enthusiasts, but reining competitors and fans all over the world. McQuay is passionate and a trendsetter, as well as a celebrity of the reining world.

USEF Equestrian of the Year

Determined by vote of the USEF membership, equestrian media and USEF Board of Directors.


The recipient will be announced by USEF President David O’Connor on Friday evening.

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