Lexington, Kentucky, USA – December 16, 2020 – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the 2020 Horses of Year and Equestrian of the Year nominees, each recognized for their outstanding efforts during the 2020 competition season. Both the Horse of the Year and Equestrian of the Year award winners will be announced during the Pegasus Awards & Horse of the Year Awards virtual celebration on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. hosted by President-elect Tom O’Mara. The winners of both awards will be determined based on the results of member voting, which is now open through January, 2, 2021 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET.
Learn more about the 2020 Horses of Honor and Equestrians of Honor:
International Horse of the Year
2012 Hanoverian gelding by Danone I x Lady, Londonderry
Owner: Flintwoode Farms LLC
Discipline: Para Dressage
At just 8 years old, Dolton has become a superstar in the para dressage world with rider Roxanne Trunnell. The Hanoverian gelding, owned by Flintwoode Farms, LLC, started his international para dressage career in 2018, qualifying for the FEI World Equestrian Games with Trunnell in Grade 1, then going on to win individual bronze in the Freestyle Test and become the first U.S. horse-and-athlete pair to medal at a para dressage world championship.
Despite a limited 2020 competition season, Dolton and Trunnell continued to add to their remarkable record, scoring above 80% in all three tests at the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival I. In doing so, they became only the second para dressage pair in history to break the 80% mark in an FEI Para Dressage Team or Individual test, and the first to do so since 2012. They went on to have an undefeated 2020 season, winning five national and six international starts.
Dolton and Trunnell are currently ranked No. 1 in the world across all grades—the first American pair to top the ranking list. They have remained in the top spot for 10 consecutive months, and led the U.S. team to No. 1 in the FEI Para Dressage World Team Rankings.
2006 Belgian Warmblood mare Kashmir van Shuttershof x Diva ‘Ter Elsen’, Indoctro
Owners: Robin Parsky & Kent Farrington
Gazelle and Kent Farrington began their partnership in 2014, and since their debut, the pair has amassed an impressive record of wins and top finishes at many the most prestigious competitions in the world, including memorable and historic wins in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, the 2017 International Jumping Riders Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva, and the 2016 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows, alongside numerous other CSI5* wins. Gazelle, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Shuttershof x Diva ‘Ter Elsen’) owned by Robin Parsky and Kent Farrington, anchors Farrington’s talented string of quality horses.
In 2020, Farrington and Gazelle took home their biggest win of the year in the $213,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI4* hosted in Traverse City, Mich., where they outpaced 15 other combinations in the jump-off. The pair also finished on the podium in the $401,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5*, placing second, and added a top-five finish in the $73,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI5* in Wellington, Fla.
National Horses of Honor
2012 Oldenburg gelding by Quite Rubin x Stutbuch 1 Claire, Contendro I
Pritchard Hill, known as “Quinn” in the barn, was imported from Europe as a four-year-old and carefully produced by owners Carleton and Traci Brooks of Balmoral. As a six-year-old, Pritchard Hill competed in 1.0-meter jumping classes before finding his niche in the hunter ring. The Brookses’ gradual method of allowing the horse to develop, along with the help of John Bragg, paid off with top results in the show ring. Pritchard Hill’s athleticism, coupled with a quiet, intelligent, and willing attitude, make him a consistent performer.
In 2020, Pritchard Hill tallied numerous championship titles in the 3’9” Green Hunter and High Performance Conformation Hunter classes during five weeks at the Desert Circuit with Carleton Brooks and Leslie Steele in the irons. The Warmblood gelding also won the $1000 West Coast Green Hunter 3’6”/3’9” Stake and the $1000 USHJA Green Hunter 3’6”/3’9” Stake during Desert Circuit IV. He kicked off his summer with 3’9” Green Hunter Championship, Green/High Performance Conformation Hunter Championship, and 3’6” Small Junior Hunter Championship titles at Showpark Summer Festival. Pritchard Hill collected two more 3’9” Green Hunter Championship titles at Showpark Racing Festival and the National Sunshine Series II to close out his impressive year.
Vivaldi de Besilu
2010 Paso Fino stallion by Bribon de San Isidro x La Ley de Cuatro G, Mandato de La Luisa
Owners: Besilu Collection and Benjamin Leon, Jr.
Breed/Discipline: Paso Fino
Vivaldi de Besilu made Paso Fino history at the 2020 Paso Fino Horse Association’s Grand National Show when he was crowned Grand National Champion Fino Stallion for the fifth consecutive time, making him the winningiest Grand Champion in the competition’s history. This remarkable achievement broke the previous record of four consecutive wins in the division, held by Capuchino since 1987.
Earlier in the year, Vivaldi de Besilu was inducted into the Spectrum International Hall of Fame after his outstanding performance at the competition in Miami, Fla. He won the Spectrum International’s Fino Stallion 7+ Years class and was crowned Grand Champion Fino Colt/Stallion for the second year in a row.
Vivaldi de Besilu exhibits superior attitude, temperament, and more traits of an outstanding Paso Fino horse. His trainer describes him as a true showman. He thrives on the excitement of the arena and loves the attention that comes from a competition environment. Vivaldi de Besilu’s foals are only yearlings and weanlings, but they have shown promising natural movement and he is expected to be a strong sire for the Paso Fino breed.
International Equestrian of Honors
The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.
Kent Farrington is one of top jumping athletes in the world, consistently producing dominant results in the United States and abroad year after year. Farrington’s roots in equestrian sport were seeded in Chicago, Illinois, where he began riding at the age of eight. He quickly made his mark, ascending through the junior ranks before turning professional in 2000. He has since gone on to represent the United States at numerous international championships, including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and 2011 Guadalajara Pan American Games. In 2019, he became the first U.S. rider to win the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen and the International Jumping Riders Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva in the same year.
Farrington capitalized on limited opportunities during an unconventional 2020 season, bringing home numerous victories, including a top finish aboard Gazelle in the coveted $213,300 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI4*, besting a competitive jump-off of 15 combinations. With a strong start to the season at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., Farrington set the tone early with win in the $214,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Insurance Grand Prix CSI4* aboard longtime mount Creedance, before guiding Gazelle to a second-place finish in the $401,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5*. Most recently, Farrington has recorded several international wins aboard Kaprice, Creedance, and new mount, Orafina.
National Equestrians of Honor
Margy Cox (Morristown, Florida)
The Bill Robinson Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with horses or ponies across all the breeds in harness or for driving performance in non-international competitions.
Margy Cox has excelled at recognized competitions for many years, and the carriage pleasure driving discipline is her forte. She has consistently earned Top 10 results since her first Arabian and Half-Arabian Sport Horse National Championship Horse Show in 2013. Cox’s performance at the 2020 Sport Horse Nationals in Nampa, Idaho, resulted in two wins in the Arabian/Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Carriage Pleasure Driving Working National Championship and the Arabian/Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Carriage Pleasure Driving Pick Your Route National Championship.
Cox also secured two reserve national championships in the Arabian/Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Carriage Pleasure Driving Turnout and Gamblers Choice championship classes, as well as two Top 10 placings in reinsmanship and scurry obstacle classes.
Tracy Fenney (Flower Mound, Texas)
We congratulate Kent Farrington, the sole International Equestrian of the Honor nominee, as the automatic International Equestrian of the Year.
The Emerson Burr Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with any horse or pony breed shown in over-fences hunter classes.
Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas, might be known for her winning results in the jumper ring. But she’s had plenty of success in the hunter ring over the course of her career, including a notable win in 2017 at the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala with MTM Outbid. 2020 brought an impressive list of victories for Fenney, especially in the green hunter classes.
Fenney campaigned MTM Animated and MTM Dippin’ Dots throughout 2020 in the Green Hunter 3’ division, posting wins including those at Ocala January Classic, Equifest I and II, Texas Rose Sport Horse Cup, Final Chase, and the championship at Showplace Summertime II.
With MTM Personal Assistant in the Green Hunter 3’3” division, Fenney brought home wins at the Ocala Winter Celebration, Showplace Summertime II, Equifest I, and the Texas Rose Sport Horse Cup.
Fenney has successfully trained and shown hunters and jumpers for more than 35 years, and has a long track record of producing exceptional green horses. She is the co-owner, trainer, and rider at MTM Farm in Texas, where she imports and develops outstanding sport horses for the hunter and jumper rings.
Joel Gangi (Prairieville, Lousiana)
The C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing under saddle in a non-hunter and/or non-Western discipline.
Joel Gangi is an Arabian horse trainer and breeder who manages Boisvert Farm in West Baton Rouge Parish, La., with Amanda Purdin Standish and Rhein Standish. Gangi competed at the 2020 U.S Arabian and Half-Arabian National Championship Horse Show, earning one national championship in the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Country English Pleasure Open and one reserve championship in the Arabian Country English Pleasure Junior Horse. He also secured five Top 10 placings at the competition in the Arabian English Performance Association $50,000 Half-Arabian Saddle Seat Futurity, AEPA $100,000 Arabian Saddle Seat Futurity, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Park Open, Arabian Country English Pleasure Futurity, and the AEPA Saddle Seat Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Futurity.
Gangi also had standout performances at the 2020 Youth and Mid-Summer National Championship Horse Show, placing in every class he entered. He won two national championship titles, including unanimously winning the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Country English Pleasure Open, besting some of the top English pleasure trainers in the Arabian horse industry. He also earned a reserve championship in the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Country English Pleasure Junior Horse class.
Sandro Pinha (Scottsdale, Arizona)
The Norman K. Dunn Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing at halter or in-hand.
Sandro Pinha has owned and operated Arabians International in Scottsdale, Ariz., with partner Gil Valdez since 2010, producing numerous Arabian horse halter champions throughout the years for an array of loyal owners and supporters. Pinha, born and raised in Brazil, spent his youth learning from the best at Haras Capim Fino, one of the premier Arabian horse breeding and training centers in Brazil. Known for his world-class management and horsemanship skills, Pinha has become a household name in the U.S. after capturing his first national championship in 2010 with El Nabila B.
In 2020, Pinha took home national titles for the Arabian Senior Mare Breeding 6 & Over Championship with Pitonisa AS, the Arabian Junior Stallion Breeding 3-5 Championship with Preludio OSB, and the Arabian 2-Year-Old Filly Breeding Championship with CW La Stella at the U.S. Arabian and Half-Arabian National Championship in Tulsa, Okla., in late October. Pinha also collected top results throughout the year at the 2020 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, 2020 Youth and Mid-Summer Arabian and Half-Arabian National Championship, and 2020 Arabian National Breeder Finals.
Colby Powell (Scottsdale, Arizona)
The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in a non-reining Western discipline.
Colby Powell is just 26 years old, but he already has become a highly sought-after Arabian horse trainer, earning numerous national championships himself and for his clients. The 2020 U.S Arabian and Half-Arabian National Championship Horse Show was no exception. Powell earned four national championship titles in the Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Reined Cow Open, Arabian Ranch Horse Riding Junior Horse, and the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Ranch Horse Riding Junior Horse classes. His win in the Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity at U.S. Nationals was particularly impressive considering the stiff competition from top entries like Gordon Potts, Jody Strand, J. T. Keller, and his own mother, LaRae Fletcher Powell.
Powell was also Reserve Champion in both the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Western Pleasure Open and the Arabian Ranch Horse Riding Open. Finally, he earned two Top 10 placings in the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Working Cow Open and the Arabian Western Pleasure Association $50,000 Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity. Powell also won five of the eight classes he competed in at the 2020 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show in February.
Jonathan Ramsay (San Marcos, California)
The Vaughan Smith Trophy is presented to the best rider of any horse or pony breed shown in hunter pleasure, show hack, hunter hack, dressage hack, costume, sidesaddle, or Western dressage.
Jonathan Ramsay is an Arabian horse trainer at Stachowski Farms in San Marcos, Calif., specializing in training young horses and amateur and junior riders. He has garnered many accolades over the years, and 2020 was no different, with numerous top-10 results on the Arabian show circuit. Ramsay claimed three Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian championship titles in Country English Pleasure, Country Pleasure Driving, and English Pleasure at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. He found continued success at the Arabian Horse Association Region 2 Championships, earning top honors in the Arabian English Show Hack Championship, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian English Show Hack Championship, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian English Pleasure Junior Horse Championship, and Arabian Park Championship. Next, he took home the Arabian Country English Pleasure Junior Horse Championship at the Arabian & Half-Arabian Youth and Mid-Summer National Championship, plus three more championship titles at the Arabian Horse Association of Southern California Purebred & Half-Arabian Fall Show. Ramsay closed out 2020 by finishing in the top three in 16 different championship and futurity classes at the U.S Arabian and Half-Arabian National Championship Horse Show.
Source: Press release by US Equestrian Communications Department for USEF / US Equestrian – United States Equestrian Federation
Photo: © US Equestrian / USEF – United States Equestrian Federation