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USA Equestrian
2002 USA Equestrians Of Honor Named

The 2002 USA Equestrians of Honor, finalists for the overall USA Equestrian of the Year, have been selected by the USA Equestrian Honors Committee. For the second year several divisional trophies will be awarded prior to the voting which selects the overall Equestrian of the Year.

David O'Connor, of the Plains, VA, and Peter Wylde, based in The Netherlands, are co-recipients of the William C. Steinkraus Trophy awarded to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and show jumping. O'Connor was a member of the Gold medal-winning team at the World Equestrian Games and finished first at Radnor CCI** and Fair Hill CCI***. Wylde won the Bronze medal in show jumping at the World Equestrian Games, leading the U.S. team to a 6th place finish. In the final round of the individual competition, Wylde's horse, Fein Cera, topped the competition by ending the day with only three faults. The pair also competed as members of the 5th place team at the Nation's Cup Final.

The Becky Grand Hart Trophy, given to an equestrian competing in international driving, endurance, reining or vaulting competitions, will go to Fred Merriam of Newfane, VT, the USA National Combined Driving Singles Champion and Bronze medal winner in the World Singles Championship in Conty, France. Merriam finished in 5th place overall on the 2002 FEI Top Driver Award for Singles Drivers.

Mary Gaylord McClean of Simpsonville, KY, will be awarded the Bill Robinson Trophy, given to an equestrian competing in harness or for driving performance in non-international competitions. Among her many accomplishments in 2002 are: 1st Roadster Pony Open, Roadster Pony Championship, Harness Pony Ladies at the American Royal, 1st Roadster Pony Championship at the Lexington Jr. League Horse Show, 1st Roadster Pony Kentucky Country Fair Championship and 1st Roadster Pony Grand Championship at the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show as well as 1st at the $10,000 Hackney Pony UPHA Classic Grand Championship held at the American Royal.

The Emerson Burr Trophy for an equestrian competing in hunter classes over fences will go to Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, the 2002 Chronicle of the Horse Professional Rider of the Year. He was also Champion in the First and Second-year Green Hunter division at Blowing Rock Charity, Champion Green Hunter at HITS Tahoe III and Champion of the First Year Greens at the Kentucky Spring Show.

Robin Ratliff of Lamont, FL, topped the list in the performance in pleasure under saddle division and will receive the C.J. "June" Cronan, Jr. Trophy. Included in her many accomplishments are four National Championships, two Reserve Grand National Championships and two Reserve National Championships at the Paso Fino Grand National Championship Show. She trained 16 horses to be exhibited with 14 of them placing and won five National High Point Class Awards.

The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy, awarded to an equestrian showing in a non-reining western discipline, will go to Eitan Beth-Halachamy of Grass Valley, CA. Among many other accomplishments Beth-Halachamy was the unanimous winner in World Champion Morgan Western Pleasure as well as the Champion in Senior National Champion Western Pleasure, Four-Year-Old and Three-Year-Old Western Pleasure.

Kenneth Wheeler of Keswick, VA, will be the recipient of the Norman K. Dunn Trophy, a new award for 2002, awarded to those competing in-hand or at halter. Wheeler was the handler of the Best Young Horse at Devon, Best Young Horse at the Middleburg Classic and Handler of the Best Young Horse and Handler of the Day at the Sallie B. Wheeler/USA National Hunter Breeding Championship.

The 2002 Equestrians of Honor, O'Connor, Wylde, Merriam, McClean, Pletcher, Ratliff, Beth-Halachamy and Wheeler are now finalists in the voting for Equestrian of the Year, to be announced and awarded at the Pegasus Awards Dinner during the USA Equestrian Annual Meeting being held January 15-19, at the Marriott Griffin Gate in Lexington, KY. For information on attending the awards dinner, contact Deborah Martin, USA Equestrian Travel and Events Manager at 859-225-6961 or via e-mail at


USA Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As
the country's largest multi-breed organization, the Federation has over 80,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.
The vision of USA Equestrian is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Olympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national equestrian federation in the world.


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