Lexington, Kentucky, USA – December 20, 2022 – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the 2022 Horse of the Year and Equestrian of the Year nominees. The International and National Equestrians of the Year will be announced at the 2022 Pegasus Awards Dinner on Thursday, January 12, and the International and National Horses of the Year will be announced at the 2022 SmartPak/USEF Horse of the Year Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 14, at the 2023 US Equestrian Annual Meeting in Lexington, Ky.
Horses of Honor and Equestrians of Honor are nominated by their USEF affiliate organization or USEF breed or discipline committee, and the finalists are selected by the Awards Committee. The final Horses of the Year and Equestrians of the Year are determined by member voting.
Voting is open now through 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 29. Click here to vote now. Please note that you must be logged in to your USEF account to vote. After submitting your selections, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your vote. You must confirm your ballot in order for your votes to count!
Learn more about the 2022 Equestrians and Horses of Honor:
International Horses of Honor
Off The Record – (VDL Arkansas x Drumagoland Bay, Ard Ohio) 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding
Owner: Off The Record Syndicate
Off The Record, frequently called “Timmy,” began his international career with Olympian Will Coleman in 2015. Seven years into that partnership, the combination was as strong as ever in 2022. Off The Record and Coleman finished 12th at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian™ CCI5*-L and two months later placed sixth at CHIO Aachen as a member of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team.
A top-three finish at the Great Meadow CCI4*-S set up Off The Record for three days of key results at the Pratoni del Vivaro 2022 FEI World Eventing Championship. After a 26.4 dressage score, Off The Record and Coleman were trailblazers for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team on cross-country day, finishing just two seconds over time. On show jumping day with medals on the line, Off The Record and Coleman produced the only clear round for the team, managing the questions asked throughout the difficult track with poise, demonstrating the scopiness, rideability, and talent the 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding is known for.
The pair finished as the highest-placed individual U.S. combination in Pratoni del Vivaro, taking seventh place overall and helping the U.S. to a silver medal—its first eventing team medal at a World Championship since 2002.
Orafina – (For Fashion x Corofina, Canturo) – 2012 KPWN mare
Owner: Kent Farrington LLC
Orafina has been a member of Kent Farrington’s string for the past two years, developing through the levels to become a top international CSI5* horse. The pair started the 2022 season with several top placings in Wellington, Fla., at the Winter Equestrian Festival, including a win in the $75,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge CSI5* and a second-place finish that same week in the $406,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI5*. They also captured a win in the $140,000 Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix CSI3* just a few weeks later. Farrington then traveled to Thunderbird as part of the NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team where he and Orafina earned top honors in the $186,900 Longines Grand Prix CSIO5*.
With Orafina in top form, the pair secured several podium-topping performances at Spruce Meadows before continuing their Canadian tour success, notching another victory in the $215,000 RBC Grand Prix CSI5* in Ottawa to mark their ninth victory together in 2022. Farrington piloted Orafina to another international win in Tryon, taking the $139,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* with the pair closing out their season in California, earning a final win in the $74,200 CWD Jump-Off Challenge CSI5* and a second-place finish in the $450,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI5*.
Quiana – (Quaterstern x Rubina, Rubinstern Noir) – 2014 Rheinland mare
Owner: Kate Shoemaker
Quiana began her partnership with Paralympian Kate Shoemaker in January 2022, and the pair quickly became a winning combination. Quiana and Shoemaker won their first CPEDI3* together and helped the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team earn the silver medal at CHI Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar. They finished in the top three in the Grade IV classes at their next CPEDI3* in Randbøl, Denmark, including a personal-best 75.813% in the Individual Test.
The impressive results secured Quiana and Shoemaker a spot on the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark. The duo helped the U.S. earn a team bronze medal and qualify for a team berth at the Paris 2024 Paralympics. Quiana and Shoemaker closed out the World Championships by scoring a personal best 80.275% to win the silver medal in the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle and being the U.S. team’s highest-placing individual medalists.
Following their World Championships success, Quiana and Shoemaker finished their remarkable 2022 season by sweeping the Grade IV classes at the CPEDI3* in Riesenbeck, Germany. With Quiana’s help, it was the first time that Shoemaker topped the podium at an international competition in Europe.
Salvino – (Sandro Hit x Dynastie, Donnerhall) – 2007 Hanoverian stallion
Owner: Betsy Juliano LLC
Currently ranked 11th in the FEI Dressage World rankings with Olympian Adrienne Lyle, Salvino closed 2022 as one half of the top-ranked U.S. Dressage combinations in the world. And for good reason.
Success for Salvino, also known as “Vinny,” started at the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in February and March. At AGDF 7, he and Lyle placed first in the CDI5* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special. Then, at AGDF 11, another first-place finish, this time in the CDI4* Grand Prix.
Salvino added to a long list of career accomplishments during August’s Herning 2022 FEI Dressage World Championship where, with Lyle, he was a part of the only The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team combination to compete in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and Freestyle in Denmark. In the Freestyle, Salvino posted the second-highest score of his career with an 83.704% that put him and Lyle sixth in the extremely competitive Blue Hors FEI World Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle Championship.
A 2007 Hanoverian stallion owned by Besty Juliano LLC, Salvino notoriously loves showing off for a crowd, and Lyle felt the excitement and energy in Denmark. The pair have successfully completed three championships together. Lyle says that she’s grateful and cherishes everyday she gets to spend with Vinny as the pair has formed an incredibly close partnership over the past seven years.
International Equestrians of Honor
Will Coleman – Ocala, Florida. – Eventing
The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.
2022 World Championship silver medalist Will Coleman is a notable athlete and competitor for U.S. eventing. His decorated 2022 hit its pinnacle with helping the U.S. Eventing Team qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics with an incredible effort at the World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, highlighted by a clutch clear show jumping round with medals on the line, but they don’t end there. Coleman’s consistency placed him within the top 10 as an individual in every CCI5*-L competition he entered this year, finishing seventh at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian™ with Dondante, seventh at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Pratoni del Vivaro with Off The Record, and sixth at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill with Dondante.
Additionally, Coleman took home a win at the Carolina International CCI4*-S with Dondante, placed third at the Great Meadow International CCI4*-S with Off The Record, and was second at the Morven Park International CCI4*-L with Chin Tonic HS, as well as a pair of top 10 placings at CHIO Aachen on both Chin Tonic HS and Off The Record.
Coleman, who owns and operates Okonokos Farm in Ocala, Fla., a conditioning and training site utilized by U.S. Eventing, is living a “lifelong dream” that began when he was six years old in Charlottesville, Va., on a Shetland pony and continues today.
Adrienne Lyle – Wellington, Florida. – Dressage
The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.
Coming off a team silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just last summer, U.S. dressage athlete Adrienne Lyle has not slowed down.
In August, Lyle posted an 83.704% in the Blue Hors FEI World Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle Championship at Herning 2022 on Salvino—the second-highest score of her career and good for sixth place amongst a strong international field. The combination was the only American team partnership to compete in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and Freestyle at the World Championships, where they also played a key role in qualifying the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Ranked 11th in the FEI Dressage World Ranking at the time of her nomination, Lyle took home two national championships at the 2022 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, winning the Markel/USEF Young Horse Four-Year-Old Dressage National Championship with Fürst Dream and the Markel/USEF Young Horse Five-Year-Old Dressage National Championship with Valor, positioning herself for an exciting present and future with U.S. Dressage.
Kate Shoemaker – Wellington, Florida – Para Dressage
The Becky Grand Hart Trophy is presented to international-level non-Olympic athletes.
Kate Shoemaker, a member of the U.S. Para Dressage Team that won bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, enjoyed another banner year in 2022.
She shone on the international stage, most notably at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark, where she was the U.S. team’s highest-placing individual medalist. In Herning, riding her own mare Quiana, she scored a personal-best 80.275% to win the silver medal in the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle. The pair also contributed the highest score toward the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team’s team bronze effort, which qualified the U.S. for a team berth at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
Riding Quiana and Solitaer 40 during 2022 season, she also earned a team silver and individual overall CPEDI3* championship in Doha, Qatar, as well as top individual CPEDI3* results in Wellington, Fla., and a team victory and individual reserve honors in Tryon, N.C., among other notable achievements.
Shoemaker’s contributions to para dressage in 2022 went beyond her own competition performances. Through her mentorship and coaching, and through training and lending horses, she has made a lasting impact on the sport. In 2022, she helped put together four horse-and-rider partnerships, including helping her Herning teammate Roxanne Trunnell secure the ride on Fortunato H2O. In October, she also coached a pair of up-and-coming riders at the Perrigo CPEDI3* at Tryon: overall winner Fiona Howard and junior rider Genevieve Rohner, who achieved a personal best score.
National Equestrians of Honor
Janae Griffin – Gretna, Virginia – Friesian
The Norman K. Dunn Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing at halter or in-hand.
Janae Griffin plays an important role at her family’s breeding and training business, Griffin Sport Horses. She first entered the show ring as at the age of 7 handling the whip as a tailer for her father. A year later, she competed in her first International Friesian Show Horse Association class as a handler and won.
Griffin continued her winning ways in 2022, showing both Friesians and Arabians in hand. She earned Region 5 Reserve Champions honors in the Friesian Stallions 3 & Over with Hattan HMRF as well as top-two placings in three other Friesian and Part-bred Friesian In-Hand classes. Over the summer, Griffin collected over two dozen top-three placings showing horses in hand at the Summer Breeze Dressage, Raleigh Summer Dressage I and II, and Made in the Shade I and II shows. She found great success at the Eastern Arabian Horse Show & East Coast Championships, tallying eight top three in-hand placings. Griffin earned the Grand National Champion Part-Friesian Mares 3 & Over and National Champion Part-Friesian Mares All Ages titles with Oh Yes I Did as well as six other top-six placings for in-hand classes and the Nancy Nathanson Perpetual Trophy at the IFSHA Friesian World & Grand National Championships.
Griffin is a dedicated member of the IFSHA Youth Leaders, the 2022 IFSHA High Point Youth Member, and she is the third person in her family to receive Norman K. Dunn Trophy along with her father Bruce Griffin II and brother Bruce Griffin III.
James Hitt – Elizabeth, Colorado – Arabian
The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in a non-reining Western discipline.
James Hitt owns and operates Gambel Oaks Equestrian Center with his wife, Linda, and is a stalwart member of the Arabian community. A true equestrian Renaissance man, Hitt has experience and talent in numerous disciplines, but his fortes are Western Pleasure and Working Western, both as a rider and as a judge.
At the 2022 U.S. Nationals Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show, Hitt came away with six national championships, a reserve national championship, and 13 top-10 placings. He dominated the 24-horse field in the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Western Trail Championship, earning Champion, Reserve Champion, and another top-10 placing against top riders in the Arabian breed. He also took home the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Ranch Rail Championship, winning the 27-horse class in a deeply competitive field.
At the second annual Ranch Horse Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship, Hitt received 14 national championships in Arabian Ranch Trail, Half-Arabian Ranch Trail, and Half-Arabian Versatility Ranch Riding, among others. These victories were among many other 2022 successes across several divisions.
In addition to his accomplishments in the show ring, Hitt also has continued his strong support for equestrian education. He provides clinics locally to clubs, emphasizing the importance of the “ground up” concept, remembering that everyone at one time started as a novice beginner. As part of the Gambel Oaks philosophy puts it, “Teaching amateur/non-pro riders to become good horsemen and horsewomen is paramount.”
Wendy Potts – Arlington, Texas – Arabian
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.
Wendy Potts has been training Arabian and Half-Arabian horses for over 30 years. In 2022, Potts earned three National Championships in the Open Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Hunter Pleasure, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse 3 & 4 Years of Age, and the Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse 5 Years of Age. She won two Reserve National Championships in the Open Arabian Hunter Pleasure and the Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse 3 & 4 Years of Age at AHA Youth and Mid-Summer National Championship. She had impressive results at the U.S. National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show, highlighted by three National Championships in Open Arabian Hunter Pleasure, the Arabian Hunter Pleasure Association $75,000 Arabian Hunter Pleasure Futurity, and Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse, where she was the unanimous champion in the 40-horse class. Potts was also the Reserve Champion in Open Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Hunter Pleasure and placed Top Ten in Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse, Arabian Hunter Pleasure Futurity, and the AHPA $75,000 Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Hunter Pleasure Futurity at U.S. Nationals. She previously won the Vaughan Smith Trophy in 2012 and 2018, demonstrating her continued success in hunter pleasure classes.
Jim B. Robertson II – Shelbyville, Kentucky – Roadster
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.
When Jim Robertson drove away with the winning tricolor ribbon in the Roadster to Bike World’s Grand Championship at the 2022 Kentucky State Fair, it was a meaningful victory with Divide N Conquer, Karen Raque’s 2013 Standardbred gelding. Just three years earlier, Divide N Conquer was sold through an auction in Ohio before he landed in Robertson’s barn. The Grand Champion title was just one highlight of the 2022 season for Robertson, who also saw his students and clients achieve their goals in the Roadster classes at the World’s Championship Horse Show. Among them was Kayce Bell, who drove her own Chanteur PV to a second-place finish in the Ladies Roadster to Bike, and Sallie Mason Wheeler, who won the Youth Roadster Horse to Bike 15-21 with White Lie. The latter victory was especially notable as Robertson had trained Sallie’s father, Kenny Wheeler, to his first Roadster World’s Championship many years ago.
Robertson gives back to the show horse community by serving on the US Equestrian Roadster Committee, as Vice President of the American Road Horse & Pony Association, and the United Professional Horsemen’s Association.
Matt Siemon – New Carlisle, Ohio – Arabian
The C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing under saddle in a non-hunter and/or non-Western discipline.
Matt Siemon has been training and showing Arabian horses for his entire life, earning a reputation for producing top show horses out of his Siemon Stables in Ohio. The 2022 season brought another cascade of top titles to Siemon and his clients, including a win in the Arabian Country Pleasure Driving Championship at the AHA Youth and Mid-Summer National Championship with Evolutionist. The U.S. Nationals Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show brought top-three finishes for Siemon in Arabian English Pleasure with After Afire BF, Arabian Country Pleasure Driving with Evolutionist, Arabian Country English Pleasure with B Wheir KP, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian English Pleasure with Herecomestheboom LR, HA/AA Country English Pleasure Junior Horse with Sha My Guy, and Arabian Park with WP Incorporated.
Siemon’s most meaningful win at the 2022 U.S. Nationals came from the Open HA/AA Park with Bill Castro’s 2007 gelding, GSF Alejandro. This marked the pair’s eighth open park championship win at U.S. Nationals, reinforcing their place in the Arabian show circuit’s history books. Castro says that his horse and trainer have a special bond that shines through in the show ring, evidence of Siemon’s training ability and his loving care of this special horse.
Hunt Tosh – Alpharetta, Georgia – Hunter
The Emerson Burr Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with any horse or pony breed shown in over-fences hunter classes.
Hunt Tosh is among the busiest riders on the hunter circuit, and in 2022, he continued to show—and win—across divisions all season long. With the Wheeler family’s 2011 Holsteiner gelding, Cannon Creek, Tosh had numerous victories in the high performance hunters at Ocala, and capped off the winter season with a win in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. The pair went on to win High Performance Hunter Championships at the Devon Horse Show, Upperville Colt & Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and the National Horse Show.
Tosh had numerous wins in 2022 in green hunters, including the 3’6” championship at Ocala Winter Festival and a reserve championship at the National Horse Show with Redfield Farms’ 2012 Dutch Warmblood stallion, Corragio; and the 3’ championship at Ocala Winter Festival, Ocala Masters, Ocala Winter Finals, Aiken Charity II, and Aiken Fall Festival.
At the 2022 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in August, Tosh had the distinction of winning two of the top three spots: the champion title with Cannon Creek and third place with Ceil Wheeler’s 2013 warmblood gelding, Autograph.
National Horses of Honor
Cannon Creek (Cancara x Tiffany S, Caretino) 2011 Holsteiner gelding
Owner: The Wheeler Family
Since debuting on the hunter circuit in 2021, Cannon Creek has worked his way into the spotlight and throughout the 2022 season, became one of the most formidable horses in the high performance hunter division. In March, Cannon Creek and trainer Hunt Tosh won the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Ocala Championship. In the spring, they won the High Performance Hunter Championship at Aiken Charity Horse Show I, the Devon Horse Show, and Upperville Colt & Horse Show.
A highlight of Cannon’s Creek 2022 season was winning the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship at Blue Grass Festival after finishing in first place in both the classic and the handy phase. In the fall, Cannon Creek kicked off the indoors season with High Performance Hunter titles at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pa., and the National Horse Show in Lexington, Ky.
Shezaffirecracker (Afriendly Fire x Foxy Style, Fox’s Legacy) 2007 Half-Arabian mare
Owner: Chris Bickford
Shezaffirecracker made a splash in the carriage driving classes on the Arabian circuit throughout the 2022 season. The 2007 mare by the Arabian stallion Afriendly Fire out of Foxy Style, an American Saddlebred mare, competed successfully with owner Chris Bickford from their home region in the Pacific Northwest all the way to the U.S. Nationals Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show. Shezaffirecracker’s 2022 record includes two regional championships and five regional reserve championships in carriage pleasure driving along with national champion and reserve champion titles and several top-ten finishes at Sport Horse Nationals. She was Reserve USEF Horse of the Year among all breeds in the Carriage Pleasure Driving – Single Horse division.
Source: Press Release by US Equestrian Communications Department for US Equestrian / USEF – United States Equestrian Federation
Photo: © Sportfot