The votes are in, and U.S. Equestrian Federation members chose Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, New York) as the 2019 International Equestrian of the Year and Nick Haness (Temecula, California) as the National Equestrian of the Year. Madden and Haness were presented with the Robert P. Strub Trophy at the Pegasus Awards during the U.S. Equestrian Federation Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 10.
In 2019, Madden represented the U.S. at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and helped anchor a team of rising U.S. jumping stars in their first major championship. There, Madden and teammates Lucy Deslauriers, Alex Granato and Eve Jobs secured team bronze. Madden also won individual bronze aboard Breitling LS.
Earlier in the year, Madden and Breitling LS placed in the top five at the Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. She also became the first rider to win the $1 Million AIG HITS Grand Prix in all three locations offered following her win with Darry Lou at HITS Thermal (California).
“I can’t reiterate enough what a fantastic team I have behind me,” said Madden. “One of my favorite moments [of 2019] was the Pan Am team medal. We had three rookies there in Eve Jobs, Lucy Deslauriers and Alex Granato, and we were there with teams trying to qualify for the Olympic Games with all their best riders. And we came away with the bronze. We had the gold in our sights at one point, and we let it slip away, but that night, with those kids, we celebrated with medals around our necks and toasted their first medal and first world championship. I thank them for that experience.”
Haness, owner of Hunterbrook Farms, has become a household name on the show hunter circuit, amassing an impressive record in 2019 and fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a successful, well-respected professional in the sport. Haness had tremendous success aboard Technicolor in the high performance hunter section, as well as with Verdict, who finished second in the 2019 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship with a total score of 578.5. After capturing the reserve championship in his USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship debut, Haness was the highest-placed rider of the Tier II combinations.
“Horses can be purchased, ribbons can be bought, [but] you cannot buy respect from your peers. 2019 was an incredible year, and I am forever grateful,” said Haness. “This is a complete dream come true. I never dreamed in a million years that this moment would be my moment. Thank you to the horses that have been instrumental to my entire life. I am so grateful. This award means more to me than you can imagine.”
Ten equestrians were recognized for their competitive achievements in 2019 and honored with the following trophies:
• Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy – Stanley White III
• Becky Grand Hart Trophy – Cade McCutcheon and Cheryl Van Deusen
• Bill Robinson Trophy – Chris Bickford
• C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy – Mike Goebig
• Emerson Burr Trophy – Nick Haness
• Norman K. Dunn Trophy – Kim Morgan
• Vaughan Smith Trophy – Liz Bentley
• William C. Steinkraus Trophy – Beezie Madden and Boyd Martin
Ellen Di Bella (Parker, Colorado) was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as the Western Dressage Association of America’s founding president, key to the rise of western dressage in the U.S. Di Bella has also been a stalwart supporter of Morgan horses, serving on the American Morgan Horse Association and the American Morgan Horse Institute boards and competing with the breed for many years. She has devoted her life to inspiring others, creating opportunities for equestrians and their horses, and working for every horse to be valued and cherished.
Julia Stone (Santa Barbara, California) was awarded the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2019 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Stone was a finalist in the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals, is a member of the U.S. Equestrian Lettering Program, and participated in Interscholastic Equestrian Association competitions throughout high school. She is a student at Georgetown University in Washington, District of Columbia, beginning her collegiate career with a $10,000 scholarship from the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association after winning their Horsemastership Scholarship Competition.
Other award recipients include:
• USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award – Georgina Bloomberg
• Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award – Sandra Ruiz
• Richard E. McDevitt Award of Merit – Jeanette Durant, Ann Haller, Alexandra Mooney and Bob Spence
• Pegasus Medal of Honor – Hope Hand, Bill Hughes, Michele Macfarlane and Judy Richter
• Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Award – Barbara Ellison and Cedar Ridge Farm
• Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy – Tim Dutta