Officials from the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association announced on Feb. 11, that Lafitte de Muze was named the 2019 WCHR Hunter of the Year, which will be presented to owner Cheryl Olsten during the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular held at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, on Feb. 15.
“I am over the moon, and I feel so honored,” said Olsten. “I have owned many horses in my lifetime, none like Lafitte. If there was a horse that looks like he wants to talk to you, it’s Lafitte. He’s inspired me to write a children’s book, and more importantly donate the lion share of his prize monies to the EQUUS Foundation. I know if Lafitte knew his prize monies were going to help horses in need, he would feel proud too. Thank you to the committee for such an honor.”
Since October 2011, the USHJA has honored the life and legacy of a well-known and respected horseman by recognizing a current equine athlete that exemplifies the qualities of a top class show hunter. This prestigious title is awarded each year to the WCHR Hunter of the Year and its signature trophy, the Peter Wetherill Cup is presented in tribute to its namesake.
A highly accomplished horseman, Wetherill is known for his many victories aboard iconic horses such as Junior League, Desert Storm and Hudson. Wetherill, who passed away in February 2010, is also fondly remembered as an exemplary owner and an equestrian community advocate who supported the WCHR’s philanthropic endeavors from the start.
Known around the barn as Lafitte, the imported Belgian Warmblood gelding debuted in the hunters in 2018 and went on to win the $500,000 Diamond Mill Hunter Prix at HITS Saugerties (New York), the $50,000 WCHR Professional Challenge (Maryland), and championship honors in the 3’6” green hunters at the National Horse Show (New York), all with rider Amanda Steege. Their success continued in 2019 when the pair won the $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic, placed second in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, and was third in the 3’6″/3’9″ Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship (Kentucky).