West Palm Beach, Fla. – Jan. 11, 2019 – Laura Graves has been awarded the Robert P. Strub Trophy as the 2018 USEF Equestrian of the Year at the Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan® during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting. Graves has been a valuable member of The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team for many years and her numerous contributions to the sport of dressage on the international stage and at home in the U.S. make her an impressive force in the sport of dressage.
2018 was a record-breaking year for Graves and her and Curt Maes’s now 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Verdades (Florett AS – Liwilarda, Goya). Not only did the combination contribute to The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team’s silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 but also made history in the Grand Prix Special as the first American combination to earn an individual silver medal at a world championship. Their success at the WEG boosted Graves and Verdades to the number-one spot on the FEI Dressage World Ranking List in October, marking the first time a U.S. dressage combination has been ranked as world number one.
“I come from a family of athletes, and it wasn’t until I settled into equestrian sport that I really became comfortable with myself. If it weren’t for the family I found in equestrian sport, I would be just an uncoordinated awkward girl without very many friends, so thank you all for being my friends,” said Graves. “There are so many people who make this world turn for me, many who are here tonight: I have my amazing family, Betsy Juliano, Debbie McDonald, my amazing teammates, my vets and farriers. But it’s honestly a bigger community than my little world that turns. It’s all of you who are members, all of you who support equestrian sport, whether it be dressage, jumping, or whatever your sport is, our connection to the horse unites us all.”
Graves long-time coach and the new U.S. technical advisor of the dressage team Debbie McDonald was awarded one of four Pegasus Medal of Honors. The award was created as an annual award to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport through their dedication. These individuals have excelled in attracting people to the sport and contributing to horse sport by advancing its popularity. Janine Malone, a lifelong equestrian, R judge and FEI 3* steward, was another recipient of the award. Throughout her service to the sport of dressage Malone has served as Region 1 director, USDF Executive Board Secretary and In 2014, she received the USDF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Additionally, the Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Equestrian Team Awards were presented to seven teams that demonstrated their excellence in USEF-affiliated collegiate and scholastic organizations in 2018. The IDA National Championship Team was Intermont Equestrian at Emory and Henry.
Eight other equestrians were recognized for their competitive achievements in 2018 and honored with the following trophies:
Norman K. Dunn Trophy – Bruce Griffin III
C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy – Victoria Gillenwater
Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy – Jody Strand
Bill Robinson Trophy – Eugene Sweeney
Vaughan Smith Trophy – Wendy Potts
William C. Steinkraus Trophy – Laura Graves and McLain Ward
Emerson Burr Trophy – Victoria Colvin
Other awards presented at the USEF Awards Banquet:
Georgie Green was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her undying commitment to the Morgan breed and elevating excellence in breeding, governance, and sport. Green made history as the American Morgan Horse Association’s first female president and her dedication to this American horse is exemplified by her work to foster interest for pedigreed livestock in younger generations. Visit USEF Network to see the video honoring Green at the Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan.
Isabela de Sousa was awarded the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2018 Junior Equestrian of the Year for her passionate work retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds. This three-time Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover show jumping champion sets out to provide the horses with a solid foundation to start them on a second career path so that they can enjoy in their new homes.
Clea Cloutier was the recipient of the 2018 USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award, which recognizes outstanding youth members for their achievements and identifies potential future leaders in the equine industry.
The following prestigious awards are bestowed annually to equestrians for their service to the sport. This year’s recipients are as follows:
USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award – Steuart Pittman
Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award – Anne Gribbons
Richard E. McDevitt Award of Merit – Harry Chapman, Yum Kee Fu, E. Hunter Harrison, Michael Rheinhemier, and J. Richard Wilkinson
Pegasus Medal of Honor – Ellen DiBella, Janine Malone, Debbie McDonald, and Robert Ridland
Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Award – Allyn McCracken
Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy – Anne Kursinski