The U.S Eventing Association held its year-end awards ceremony virtually on Jan. 8 to honor national award winners, present grants and announce other appreciation awards.
The night’s top honor, the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Jacqueline B. Mars.
Mars has supported the careers of Karen and David O’Connor, Hannah Sue Burnett, Lauren Nicholson and Kimmy Cecere. She’s a supporter of land conservation for horses, horse sport, animals and the environment and has allowed the use of her farms in Middleburg, Virginia, and Ocala, Florida, for USEA Instructor Certification Program workshops and high performance training sessions. In addition, she’s sponsored major events such as the MARS Equestrian Great Meadow International (Virginia) and the MARS Equestrian Tryon International (North Carolina).
Mars has supported riders through millions of dollars in grants, most recently the Jacqueline B. Mars national and international grants, and she has recently become involved with the Virginia Tech helmet study to create better certification for helmets. She was inducted into the USEA Hall Of Fame in 2015.
“Ms. Mars’ biggest achievement is her everlasting support—her support of her time and knowledge, her support as a patron and philanthropist, and her emotional support,” said USEA President Max Corcoran. “Ms. Mars has bred horses for the sport of eventing for almost 20 years, with many making it to the top international level. Her involvement with the Young Event Horse and Future Event Horse committees has been instrumental to these programs. She has served on the USET Foundation board and currently chairs the board of the National Sporting Library and Museum; she is president of the Orange County Hounds, and is on the board of the Washington National Opera. Ms. Mars has created opportunities for people that they would not be able to afford. These possibilities are not always on the back of a horse either.
“She is compassionate and encouraging,” Corcoran continued. “It is not just her own horses she celebrates, but the victories of all competitors. She is a true supporter of the sport at every level, and we are so lucky to have her presence. She is willing to share her wisdom gained from years of experience being around horses and always stays on the forefront of wanting more for the sport, for both horses and riders.”
The following special awards were also presented. Several awards have been postponed until 2021, including the Rebecca Broussard National and International Developing Rider Travel Grants, the Seema Sonnad Junior Rider Grant, the Essex Grant and the Worth The Trust Adult Amateur Rider Grant.
$60,000 Wilton Fair Grant
Cornerstone Instructor’s Awards
Sue Hershey Award
Andrew H. Popiel Award
Jean and James Moyer
Dr. Mark Hart