Lexington, KY - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is proud to announce the names of five equestrians who have been selected to receive the year's most coveted awards. Presented by the USEF, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Junior Equestrian of the Year, and the Pegasus Medals of Honor will be presented during the Pegasus Awards gala on Saturday, January 14, at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. Additionally, the Equestrian of the Year Award will be announced at the Pegasus Awards. More information about that is available here.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Virginia's James "Jim" Wofford, 67, is a legend in his sport of Eventing. A decorated athlete, Wofford has helped shape an industry as a trainer, clinician, author, and administrator. His lifelong involvement with equestrian sports and his incredible list of accomplishments have secured his place in history.
Following in his father's footsteps (Col. John W. Wofford was a founding member and first President of the U.S. Equestrian Team, and a member of the 1932 Olympic Show Jumping Team), Wofford served as President of the American Horse Shows Association; First Vice-President of the United States Equestrian Team, and Secretary of the United States Combined Training Associations (USCTA, now United States Eventing Association - USEA). His resume boasts several other administrative commitments and committee service.
But his influence as an athlete was also profound. Between 1959 and 1986, Wofford's successes included a berth on the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Teams aboard Kilkenny, winning a Team Silver medal both times. He was also named to the 1980 Olympic Team, and he won Individual Silver at the 'Alternate Olympics' that year. In 1970, aboard Kilkenny, the pair won Individual Bronze at the World Championships in Punchestown, Ireland. In 1978, he was part of the Bronze-medal winning team with Carawich at the World Championships in Kentucky. A five-time U.S. National Champion, Wofford won on five different horses. He also won Team Gold at the 1967 Winnipeg Pan American Games. Near the end of his competitive career, Wofford won two titles at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (with Carawich in 1981 and The Optimist in 1986 when he came out of retirement to compete the horse for his student and fellow Olympian Karen O'Connor). He has gone onto to become one of the most respected trainers in the sport and there are few riders competing today who have not been influenced by Wofford.
Junior Equestrian of the Year
Jacob Arnold has embraced the sport of combined driving with maturity beyond his years and has quickly become a young force with which to be reckoned. From the age of eight, Arnold immediately took to the sport - one that traditionally boasts an older demographic. Today, he is already producing top results and represents an exciting future for his sport.
He started his combined driving competition career driving the family's Morgan mare, Spring Hollow Dark Shadow, in the Training Level Single Horse division, when he was 14. He progressed through the ranks to the FEI level in February 2010, two weeks after turning 17. One year later, he won his first Single Horse CAI (International Combined Driving competition) two weeks after turning 18 at the CAI-B Little Everglades International CDE at in Dade City, FL. He has had a meteoric rise in a sport that takes decades to master.
Arnold spent part of the past summer in Europe gaining valuable experience while competing at the CAIO in Hungary and serving as groom at the World Pony Championships in Slovenia. Through the USEF/USET training sessions, he has been afforded instruction from some of the world's top drivers. His hard work and determination has earned him an invitation to compete at the Arctic Equestrian Games International Single Driving Challenge in Oslo, Norway, in February 2012. USEF Driving Coach Michael Freund described Arnold's Cones driving as "unbelievable," adding, "You won't hear me say that very often."
Continuing in his pursuit of excellence, Arnold is now working toward his goal of being a member of the U.S. Team for the FEI World Singles Driving Championship in 2012.
Pegasus Medals of Honor
The Pegasus Medal of Honor was created as an annual award to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport of Equestrian. These dedicated individuals have engaged more people in their passion for horses through their work in the industry. There are three special recipients of this year's honors.
Pennsylvania's Raymond Francis has left his mark on the hunter world as a trainer, judge, and exhibitor. As the owner of Offington Stables, not only has he coached top hunters and equitation riders, but he has produced some of the top hunter breeding horses over the last four decades. His successes have included many champions at the Devon Horse Show and in the USEF Horse of the Year Hunter Breeding divisions. Both an inductee of the Hunter Hall of Fame and recipient of the Pennsylvania Horse Show Association Lifetime Achievement Award, he also received the National Professional Horseman's Association's Frank Hawkings Lifetime Achievement Award.
With more than a quarter of a century as a trainer and breeder of the Andalusian/Lusitano breed, California's Nancy Nathanson has served as a highly respected multi-breed show secretary. Her resume includes serving in that capacity at driving competitions, Paso Fino, Andalusian, and Friesian shows (she was a show secretary nine times for the International Friesian Show Horse Association World Championships). Her most recent post has been as the Executive Director of the International Friesian Show Horse Association and she is an advisory member of the USEF Friesian Committee.
For six generations, horses have been an important part of Marvin McCabe's family. Marvin himself has been actively showing horses since age 12. Today, at 70, he shows little sign of slowing down as he continues to breed, train and show his beloved Shetland Ponies. It is through much of his work that the Shetland made its affiliation with the USEF. As the owner/trainer of American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC) Congress Champion ponies, he takes special pride in his road pony, Masters Jet Star, a Hall of Fame inductee and "Pony of the Year" for two years - a record. His work as a judge and show manager adds to his list of accomplishments, including his dedication to the importance of safety.
For more information regarding the 2012 USEF Annual Meeting visit http://www.usef.org/convention/.