The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association announced the 2020 USHJA Annual Awards recipients on Dec. 1.
Mary Babick, USHJA president, and Mike Lowry, master of ceremonies, will present awards during the Evening of Equestrians virtual celebration, to be broadcast on Dec. 5.
The USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award honors members whose lifelong involvement in the sport has benefited the industry. Recipients have dedicated their lives to furthering the disciplines of hunters and jumpers on a national platform. This year’s recipients are Susan Ashe of Wellington, Florida; Walter “Jimmy” Lee, of Keswick, Virginia; and Susie Schoellkopf, of Buffalo, New York.
Ashe is a trainer and judge. As a junior, her riding skills earned her the AHSA Medal Finals win and third place in the Maclay Finals. She has made numerous contributions to equestrian sport by developing young riders, serving in governance roles, and advocating for sport growth and development.
Lee is a highly regarded hunter judge, trainer, owner and breeder. He has officiated at prestigious horse shows in the United States and Canada. Lee has trained many champion horses across breeds and disciplines, and he has given his time to serve on various committees and boards in the sport.
Schoellkopf has excelled as a rider, trainer, owner and judge. According to her peers, she is a tireless promoter of the sport, which has positively influenced many. She has built a premiere show stable in SBS Farms, and in addition to her professional work, has served on many committees.
Dr. Brad Wolf, of Memphis, Tennessee, is the recipient of the Amateur Sportsmanship Award this year. The award recognizes an amateur-owner or adult amateur exhibitor who displays excellence and integrity by supporting the sport, fellow competitors and volunteering his/her time.
Wolf has ridden and competed in the amateur hunters for many years while working full time as a cardiac surgeon. His love for his horses and reliable support of the sport is always on display to his fellow competitors. Wolf was critical to saving the life of a young woman involved in an accident at a competition. His prompt intervention, skill and composure deserve commendation.
The Mrs. A.C. Randolph Owners Legacy Award recognizes past or current owners who have been loyal patrons of the industry creating a legacy of giving back to the sport through dedication and support. For 2020, the award deservingly goes to Barbara Ellison, of Wilsonville, Oregon.
Ellison owns Wild Turkey Farm, where she breeds sport horses and offers retirement facilities. She has competed in the sport as an amateur, and then found a love for breeding and finding the best homes for her horses. In addition to advocating for breeding in the United States, Ellison helps support various professionals by providing homebred horses for high-level jumper competition. Ellison also unselfishly offered shelter for horses displaced during the West Coast fires of late.
Nancy Jones, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Betsy Morret, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and Kathy Steege, of Stow, Massachusetts are this year’s recipients of the Jane Marshall Dillon Award. This award recognizes equestrians who have devoted their lives to teaching and mentoring riders beginning their education in the hunter/jumper discipline and following in the traditions of Jane Marshall Dillion.
Jones, also known as “Jonesie,” bought her first pair of boots and a saddle from money she saved mucking stalls before and after school when she was young. From her base at Hilltop Stable, she has profoundly impacted numerous students’ lives. Jones lives by the saying “the horse should always come first” and has encouraged many riders to live by the same motto.
Morret is an instructor and manager at Hollyhurst Farm. She exemplifies all the qualities of a great trainer, according to students and friends. She has taught hundreds of students of all ages the principles of horsemanship, to act with integrity, have empathy for the horse and demonstrate a strong work ethic.
Steege has more than 50 years of experience in equestrian sports. Her hands-on approach combined with her horsemanship and sportsmanship skills have made her a standout in the equestrian world. She leads by example when it comes to her students, educating them on how to properly take care of their horses and showing them what it means to have a strong work ethic. Her work ethic continues, as demonstrated by her children’s success in this sport.
The Vital Horse Show Staff Award honors the sport’s support staff, whose role is essential to hunter/jumper competitions’ success. This year’s East Coast and West Coast awards will go to Michele Markward and Jan Murphy, respectively.
Markward, of Williston, Florida, has excelled at various jobs, from show secretary to paddock master to hospitality coordinator. Her peers call her the MVP for any task she takes on, as she is an asset to any event she attends. Markward has been a fixture at competitions such as the Capital Challenge Horse Show (Maryland), the Devon Horse Show (Pennsylvania), and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, to name a few.
Murphy, Agoura Hills, California, who recently relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, got involved in the sport when her daughter began riding. She began working in the horse show office and used her skills from having been a flight attendant to bring charisma and efficiency to the job. She has worked for several organizers, predominantly on the West Coast.
Ian McFarlin, 16, of Tallahassee, Florida, is this year’s USHJA award winner for the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award. McFarlin was last year’s USHJA Youth Leadership Award Recipient. Eager to learn, he has participated in numerous USHJA programs, including the Emerging Athletes Program and the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals, where he scored exceptionally high on the written test. It is no surprise that McFarlin is a stellar student, maintaining a 4.46 GPA.
Campbell Hudkins, 13, of Farmington, Connecticut, is this year’s USHJA Youth Leadership Award recipient. Hudkins has enjoyed success in the Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation, including winning the 2020 EMO Insurance/USHJA Jumping Seat Medal Final—East (Ohio). She is involved in the day-to-day care and management of her horses on her family farm. She has also raised more than $3,000 for the USHJA Feed Aid Program.
New this year, the USHJA is honoring licensed officials in the sport with the Licensed Official Emeritus Honorary Distinction. Philip A. DeVita, Sr.; Brian Flynn; Raymond Francis; Larry Langer; Diane Morgan-Stasiak; Michael Page; and Ronald Rhodes receive the distinction this year.
The USHJA congratulates this year’s Annual Award recipients. In addition to these nomination-based awards, other awards, including the President’s Distinguished Service Award and Volunteer of the Year Award, will be announced during the Evening of Equestrians.
Recipients of all of the awards will be honored during the virtual USHJA Annual Meeting, presented by Equicore. You can tune in to the Evening of Equestrians for free on Saturday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Visit ushja.org/annualmeeting for more information.