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Tue, 2018-01-30 08:05

Trophy Tales: A History of U.S. Eventing Awards - Amateur of the Year

Frankie Thieriot Stutes, three-time recipient of the Col. Allen D. Smith Memorial Trophy. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

When Col. Allen D. Smith passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack in 2000 at the age of 64, Area V wanted to figure out a way to honor his legacy and decided to start an award for the Adult Amateur of the Year. Smith was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, but after being commissioned into the Army Corps of Engineers he attended Texas A&M University and earned his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering. After marrying his wife, Christine, in 1966 Smith was introduced to horses and began a lifelong tradition of competing in eventing and fox hunting. Smith was the Chair of Area V from 1991 to 1993 and in 1996 was elected to the USEA Board of Governors and was in the middle of his second term when he passed away.

Vicky Koss was the inaugural recipient of the Col. Allen D. Smith Memorial Trophy. Based out of Idaho, Koss competed all over the country aboard two horses to earn her place at the top of the Adult Amateur standings in 2000. She won the Advanced divisions at the Trojan Horse Horse Trials and the Galway Downs Horse Trials aboard Goldmill and capped off her season with a fifth place in the Fair Hill International CCI3*. Koss also earned points from competing Courting Danger at the CCI2* level – earning a third place finish at the Galway Downs CCI2* that fall.


Vicky Koss and Goldmill. Shannon Brinkman Photo.

Corinne Ashton became the first two-time winner when she clinched the title in 2004 and then repeated it again in 2007. Most all of Ashton’s points were earned riding Dobbin, a Thoroughbred gelding who should bought as an unbroken 3-year-old out of a field in Massachusetts. Ashton brought Dobbin (Lyphelius x Deal Debbie Deal) up through the levels and the pair ended up competing for over a decade together at 90 events including the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Fair Hill CCI3*, the USEA American Eventing Championships and many more. At the age of 19, Dobbin made his debut at the Grand Prix level of pure dressage. Ashton worked for Dover Saddlery while competing as an amateur rider.


Corinne Ashton and Dobbin. USEA Archives Photo.

Women dominated the Amateur of the Year for the first seven years of its existence, but in 2008 Ronald Zabala-Goetschel became the first male Amateur of the Year. A native of Ecuador, Zabala-Goetschel competed both in the U.S. and South America, and in 2008 he finished third at the Rio de Janeiro CCI3* with Wise Equestrian's Mr. Wiseguy (Jolie x Noblesse) earning quite a few points towards his standings. Mr. Wiseguy would go on to finish second in the Stuart CIC2* and at the Poplar Place Farm CIC3* – securing Zabala-Goetschel’s place on top of the amateur leaderboard. Mr. Wiseguy meant so much to Zabala-Goetschel, that he would end up cloning him and those three colts are currently 7-year-olds. While Zabala-Goetschel was competing at the highest levels, he was also busy investing and running several companies with a diversified portfolio that includes life insurance, real estate, electric power generation, engineered diamonds and a saddle and riding boot company among others.

Kevin Keane, DVM, always had to work hard to balance his full-time career as a vet to some of the top riders in the sport including Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin, but he didn’t let that stop him from being the first to take back-to-back Amateur of the Year titles in 2011 and 2012. All of his points those years came from riding his longtime partner, Fernhill Flutter, who he would go on to compete at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*. The pair finished sixth at the Bromont CCI2* and 14th at the Fair Hill CCI2* in 2011 and moved up a level the following year to finish third at the Fair Hill CIC3* and third at the Bromont CCI3*.


Dr. Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter. RedBayStock.com Photo.

When Frankie Thieriot Stutes won the Adult Amateur of the Year in 2017, she became the first three-time winner of the award, having also earned the title in 2013 and 2016. Thieriot Stutes works full time running her company, Athletux, and competed just six times in 2017, but never finished outside of the top five.

Past winners of the Col. Allen D. Smith Memorial Trophy Donated by Area V:

2017 – Frankie Thieriot Stutes

2016 – Frankie Thieriot Stutes

2015 – Arden Wildasin

2014 – Bonner Carpenter

2013 – Bonner Carpenter/Frankie Thieriot

2012 – Kevin Keane

2011 – Kevin Keane

2010 – Nate Chambers

2009 – Kelly Sult

2008 – Ronald Zabala-Goetschel

2007 – Corinne Ashton

2006 – Fanny Lee

2005 – Julia Steinberg

2004 – Corinne Ashton

2003 – Amy Smith

2002 – Jessica Moore

2001 – Julie Anne Boyer

2000 – Vicky Koss

Did you miss any of the Trophy Tales? You can catch up on the Rider of the YearLady Rider of the YearHorse of the YearMare of the Year, and Young Rider of the Year.

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