Balou du Reventon was named the USEF 2021 International Horse of the Year, and Big Shot was named the 2021 National Horse of the Year at the SmartPak/USEF Horse of the Year Awards Dinner Celebration on Jan. 15. The winners were selected by a vote of USEF members.
Balou du Reventon, ridden by Brian Moggre and owned by Ann Thompson, had one of the most successful years of his jumping career in 2021, representing the United States in multiple international competitions and being short-listed to the U.S. Jumping Team for the Tokyo Olympics. The 15-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Cornet Obolensky—Georgia, Continue) has had successful results with several international riders, but no success has come faster than with Moggre in the irons.
After Moggre took over the ride in 2020, the duo was selected to represent the U.S. Jumping Team at the Wellington CSIO4* (Florida), where the team took their first win of the 2021 season. The pair then represented the U.S. in FEI Jumping Nations Cup Poland CSIO5*, where the team finished seventh, before securing an impressive victory in the Longines 1.60-meter Grand Prix CSIO5*. The pair finished in ninth at the Rolex 1.60-meter Grand Prix at the Royal Windsor CSI5* (England) before being named as a reserve to the Tokyo Olympic Team.
Moggre and Balou du Reventon were then selected to represent the U.S. at the prestigious CHIO Aachen (Germany) in September, where they lifted the U.S. Jumping Team to their first gold-medal finish at the event since 2005 in the Mercedes Benz Aachen Nations Cup with their double-clear effort. To conclude their remarkable year, the pair capped the weekend with a thrilling second-place finish in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, one of the most difficult classes in the world. In total, the pair were clear in five consecutive 5* grand prix classes in 2021.
Balou du Reventon was voted international horse of the year over fellow nominees Dolton, owned by Karin Flint and Flintwoode Farm LLC, who earned team bronze and two gold medals under rider Roxanne Trunnell at the Tokyo Paralympic Games; and Suppenkasper, owned by Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm, Steffen Peter’s partner who helped the U.S. Dressage Team win silver at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the National Horse of the Year category, Big Shot’s honor is just part of his comeback story. The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Lordanos—Ulana, Corrado) owned by Dulcie Lou Morris and ridden by Jenny Karazissis returned to the show ring in 2021 after a serious metabolic disorder kept him out of competition in 2020. The partnership between “Dude,” Karazissis and Morris has helped position him for recognition.
With Karazissis in the irons, Big Shot earned the title of champion or reserve champion in six out of the seven performance and high-performance hunter competitions they entered in 2021. Karazissis and Big Shot had several notable wins last year, including the $100,000 World Championship Hunter Rider West Coast Spectacular and four USHJA International Hunter Derby qualifiers.
Big Shot was the leading horse of the 2021 USHJA International Hunter Derby Qualifying Series and is currently listed in the top 50 for the USHJA International Hunter Derby—Horse Money Won lifetime standings.
Big Shot also competed with Morris in the amateur-owner divisions while Karazissis competed him in the bigger divisions and derbies.
He was voted as national horse of the year over fellow nominees HS Daydream’s Heads Up, an American Saddlebred gelding who won the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship at the 2021 World’s Championship Horse Show, and Friesian driving mare Sjaantje who won multiple single horse driving championships in 2021.
Coverage of the 2021 SmartPak/USEF Horse of the Year Awards Dinner Celebration can be viewed on demand on USEF Network.