“One of my favorite sayings is that when a rider stands on a podium, they never stand alone, and this couldn’t be more true,” said Olympic dressage rider Adrienne Lyle. Lyle made her remarks after USEF named her its International Equestrian of the Year at the 2022 USEF Pegasus Awards. “It is incredible how many people’s dreams are intertwined in this sport of ours, and just what a huge village it takes to help make these dreams come true.”
Additionally, the USEF named hunter rider Hunt Tosh the 2022 USEF National Equestrian of the Year. The USEF awarded the honors to the international and national equestrians whose ballots received the highest number of votes cast in year-end voting. They both received the Robert P. Strub Trophy as part of the honor.
These awards were two of 29 that the USEF gave equestrians during the 2023 USEF Annual Meeting. The group is holding its meeting in Lexington, Kentucky, April 12-14, 2023.
Lyle, who sent her thanks via video, earned a team silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She and Salvino also were the only American pair to compete in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark. There they helped the U.S. dressage team qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Tosh Thanks Team
Tosh also delivered a message via video. He thanked his “family, friends, vets, farriers, my groom, breeders, barn manager, and the owners. I learn something from these exceptional people every day. But we all owe the most to the horses. To be able to spend my life caring for these animals is a privilege.”
Tosh won the 2022 US Hunter Jumper Association Hunter Derby Championship in August riding Cannon Creek. The pair also won the High Performance Championships at the Devon Horse Show. The also won the those honors at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the National Horse Show.
Lyle, Coleman Receive William C. Steinkraus Trophy
Lyle, along with Olympic eventer Will Coleman also received the Equestrian of Honor William C. Steinkraus Trophy, which the USEF presents to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing or show jumping. Coleman thanked his family and grooms, vets, farriers and coaches, as well as his U.S. teammates, “who were with me at many of these competitions around the world and by whom I’m continually inspired to do better and aim higher,” he said. “It’s an incredible group of horsemen and horsewomen who decorate this trophy. I look forward to working as hard as I possibly can to justify my presence among them.”
Coleman and Off the Record helped the U.S. eventing team qualify for the 2024 Olympics. They did this by earning a team silver medal at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships in Italy. Among other accomplishments last year, he finished seventh in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*. He also finished sixth in the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill riding Dondante.
Shoemaker, Hand Honored
Paralympic individual silver medalist and team bronze medalist at the 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships Kate Shoemaker was awarded the Equestrian of Honor Becky Grand Hart Trophy. She won the individual World Championship title riding her own Quiana. The pair scored a personal best of 80.275% in the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle. The team performance qualified the U.S. for a berth at the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
“It’s a dream to be able to be here, and I’m just so thankful and a little bit in disbelief in this moment,” Shoemaker said. “But I just thank God every day for the opportunity to work with these horses.”
Shoemaker also thanked Hope Hand, a U.S. paralympic trailblazer who founded the U.S. Para-Equestrian Association and who was instrumental in transitioning para dressage into an FEI and USEF sport. The USEF awarded Hand the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and the Pegasus Awards.
“She never missed an opportunity to educate, recruit, or mentor participants from the grassroots to the elite,” said USEF President Tom O’Mara of Hand. She had competed at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia, finishing fifth in the overall standings. “A true lifelong friend of horses and equestrians, Hope passed away on June 12, 2022, leaving a great legacy in para-equestrian sport.”
“Hope was a strong competitive athlete, and she would tell you that the only disability is a bad attitude, and she had a great attitude,” recalled Christina Wentz, who worked with her to set up the U.S. Para-Equestrian Association.
Several other equestrians from various disciplines were honored with awards. For a complete list, see the photos below.