The announcer listed many of Salvino’s competition successes that helped him earn the 2022 SmartPak/USEF International Horse of the Year title Saturday night. But his owner, Betsy Juliano, shared more behind-the-scenes tidbits of the 16-year-old Hanoverian stallion nicknamed “Vinny.”
“There’s a lot that you don’t know about him, primarily his mandatory 10 o’clock nap time,” Juliano said. “No matter where he is in the world, no matter what time zone he is in, I’ve received pictures and text messages of a lying-down horse in Denmark, Tokyo, Sweden—all over the world.”
The U.S. Equestrian Federation capped off its annual meeting (January 12-14, 2023) with the Horse of the Year awards. The association gave Salvino and five others “Horses of Honor” distinctions while other horses from around the country in various disciplines and levels were given their Horse of the Year awards.
Rider Adrienne Lyle and Salvino helped the U.S. dressage team earn a berth at the 2024 Paris Olympics. They did it with a sixth-place team finish at the 2022 FEI Dressage World Championship in Herning, Denmark, in August. They went on to earn sixth place in the Blue Hors FEI World Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle Championship.
“I did not expect dressage to win both Rider and Horse of the Year,” said Lyle. She was named 2022 USEF International Rider of Year two nights earlier. “What’s so special about this is that it’s voted on. So it just makes you realize how much support there is for our sport and for Salvino.”
Lyle said Vinny spent Saturday napping after winning FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle Friday night at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida. “By the time I got him home back in his bed, it was about midnight last night, and so he looked nice and relaxed in a stall when I left this morning to come up here,” she said.
Cannon Creek Named USEF National Horse of the Year
The USEF named the Wheeler Family’s Cannon Creek its National Horse of the Year. Ridden by Hunt Tosh, the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding earned the 2022 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. “On behalf of Ceil and Kenny and my uncle Douglas Wheeler, we are very honored for this amazing title,” said family member Sallie Mason-Wheeler.
Quiana: ‘That Trust Factor’
The USEF recognized four other “Horse of Honor” last night. Paralympian Kate Shoemaker’s Quiana was one of them. The duo helped the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team earn a team bronze at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark. They also won the individual silver medal in the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle.
“I was just in disbelief because I don’t even see myself among the riders and horses who are at this level and are being honored in such a way. So the whole experience has just been really special,” said Shoemaker. She earned the title Equestrian of Honor on Thursday. “It just encourages me to keep going and keep pushing and keep trying to be the best rider I can because, you know, it takes two lifetimes to learn to ride.”
Shoemaker said her partnership with the 9-year-old Rheinland mare has turned out to be amazing. “In Herning, she was quite nervous in the warmup arena. We were having a lot of trouble early on. When we went into the ring, I just patted her on the neck and said, ‘We can do this.’ And she stayed with me the whole time through the whole week. And that came down to our relationship and that trust factor.”
Orafina, Off The Record and Shezaffirecracker
Show jumper Kent Farrington’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Orafina, eventer Will Coleman’s Off The Record and driver Chris Bickford’s 16-year-old half-Arabian mare Shezaffirecracker also earned Horses of Honor titles.
Orafina and Farrington earned top honors in the $186,900 Longines Grand Prix CSIO5* as part of the NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team at Thunderbird Show Park in Canada. They also won the $215,000 RBC Grand Prix CSI5* in Ottawa and the $139,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* in Tryon, North Carolina.
Off The Record and Coleman helped the U.S. eventing team earn a silver medal at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy. “Off The Record has been an incredibly special horse to me, my family and his incredible group of owners for as long as we’ve had him, which is now going on 10 years,” Coleman said of the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. “He’s always been a horse that tries his absolute hardest, and I think from humble beginnings, he’s come a very long way. And I think I speak for everybody involved with him that we just couldn’t be prouder of what he has done, and we feel thankful that he is part of our lives.”
Shezaffirecracker earned two regional championships and five regional reserve championships in carriage pleasure driving. Her record also includes national and reserve champion titles and several top-10 finishes at Sport Horse Nationals. She was Reserve USEF Horse of the Year among all breeds in the Carriage Pleasure Driving—Single Horse division.