• Share:

US Equestrian Announces 2019 Equestrians of the Year Nominees, Voting Now Open

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Dec 18, 2019, 6:56 PM

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian is pleased to introduce the 2019 Equestrians of Honor. For the first time, an International Equestrian of the Year and a National Equestrian of the Year will be named for their achievements in 2019. Winners are determined based on the results of online voting, which is now open through Thursday, January 2, 2020, at midnight. The 2019 International and National Equestrians of the Year will be awarded on January 10, 2020, during the 2019 Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan® at the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla. US Equestrian’s Pegasus Awards honor some of the great men and women of equestrian sport.

Learn more about the ten 2019 Equestrians of Honor:

International Equestrians of Honor

Beezie Madden (Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Beezie Madden

Cazenovia, N.Y.


The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wis., Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden has been riding since the age of three and received her first pony as a Christmas gift at age four. Madden rode throughout her childhood and competitively for Southern Seminary Junior College, in addition to playing basketball and softball. However, riding was her true passion. She made her Grand Prix debut at the age of 22. For nearly three decades, Madden has represented the United States in the world’s most prestigious competitions, including four Olympic Games, three Pan American Games, and three FEI World Equestrian Games™.

In 2019, Madden represented the U.S. at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and helped anchor a team of rising U.S. jumping stars in their first major championship. There, Madden and teammates Lucy Deslauriers, Alex Granato, and Eve Jobs secured team bronze. She also went on to win individual bronze aboard Breitling LS in Lima.

Earlier in the year, Madden and Breitling LS placed in the top five at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg. She also became the first rider to win the $1 Million AIG HITS Grand Prix in all three locations offered following her win with Darry Lou at HITS Thermal.

In addition to competing, Madden runs a successful training and sales business with her husband John out of their Cazenovia, N.Y., and Wellington, Fla., bases.


Boyd Martin (Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Boyd Martin

Cochranville, Pa.


The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.

Boyd Martin had an excellent year of achievements in 2019, collecting 17 top-10 finishes with eight different horses in international competition. He started off the year with a CCI4*-S win with Tsetserleg at The Fork Horse Trials. Martin scored another CCI4*-S win, partnering with On Cue at the Fair Hill International April Horse Trials. Next, Martin and Tsetserleg finished second in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Mars Equestrian, thus winning the Land Rover USEF CCI5* Eventing National Championship as the highest-placed U.S. combination. Martin collected two wins at the Mars Equestrian Bromont CCI Three-Day Event: one in the CCI4*-L with Ray Price W and one in the CCI3*-S with Barry.

Martin and Tsetserleg were selected for the U.S. Eventing Team for the 2019 Pan American Games, and won their final preparation event at the Maryland International CCI3*-S before heading to Lima, Peru. The pair delivered a phenomenal performance, helping the U.S. Eventing Team claim the gold medal. Also, Martin earned his first individual medal of his career by taking home the gold. Upon returning to the U.S., Martin clinched the $60,000 Adequan® United States Eventing Association (USEA) Advanced Final and USEF Advanced Horse Trials National Championship with Long Island T at the USEA American Eventing Championships.


Cade McCutcheon
(Tom Hautmann – www.tom-hautmann.de)

Cade McCutcheon

Aubrey, Texas


The Becky Grand Hart Trophy is presented to international-level non-Olympic athletes.

Cade McCutcheon, the youngest athlete ever to represent the U.S. on an international senior reining team at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™, has continued with tremendous success following his team gold and individual bronze medal performances. In 2019, McCutcheon served as the anchor of the U.S. Reining Young Rider Team, which secured bronze at the 2019 SVAG FEI Reining World Championships for Young Riders & Juniors in Givrins, Switzerland. McCutcheon went on to top the podium with an individual gold aboard Smart Little Dunnit, earning a total score of 227.5.

Cade was selected as a Wild Card entry in the NRHA “Run for a Million” competition, aired on Paramount TV, where he finished as co-champion. He topped the 2019 NRHA Derby, as the youngest winner ever and captured reserve champion with his second competition mount. Cade was also the youngest to ever to win the NRHA Futurity in 2019. He took reserve champion at the 2019 NRBC Open Classic, and at just 19 years old, has amassed over $1,000,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings and been the only person ever to win $900,000 in one year. Cade has participated in the U.S. Reining Junior, Young Rider, and Senior Team programs and has solidified himself as a top contender for international success, similar to his father and grandfather who are staples within the U.S. reining community. Lauded for his impeccable horsemanship and ability to connect with teammates, Cade remains dedicated to the sport he loves and ensures U.S. Reining has a bright future to grow and succeed.


Cheryl Van Deusen
(Becky Pearman Photogrpahy)

Cheryl Van Deusen

New Smyrna Beach, Fla.


The Becky Grand Hart Trophy is presented to international-level non-Olympic athletes.

Cheryl Van Deusen has consistently been the top-ranked U.S. endurance athlete, and she collected numerous top placings. She partnered with four different horses to earn four first-place finishes in endurance rides in 2019. Van Deusen rode to the win in the Fun in the Sun CEI1* 80 kilometer ride with Spotless Summer Magic. Her next win came with LR April Breeze in the Indian Springs Endurance Ride CEI2* 120 kilometer division. The Biltmore Challenge was another successful ride for Van Deusen with a win in the CEI1* 80 kilometer aboard Snake Eyes Leroy. Her final win of 2019 was the inaugural USEF CEI1* Endurance National Championship at the Broxton Bridge Plantation ride aboard longtime partner Hoover the Mover.

Van Deusen tallied 13 other top-six finishes in rides across the U.S., ranging from 80 kilometers to 160 kilometers in length. She consistently ranked at or near the top of the FEI Endurance Open Rider World Ranking List in 2019. In addition to her riding accomplishments, she organizes endurance rides and serves on the Endurance Sport Committee.


National Equestrians of Honor

Liz Bentley (Howard Schatzberg)

Liz Bentley

Oronogo, Mo.


The Vaughan Smith Trophy is presented to the best rider of any horse or pony breed shown in hunter pleasure, show hack, hunter hack, dressage hack, costume, sidesaddle, or Western dressage.

Elizabeth “Liz” Bentley is a talented Arabian horse trainer in the Western, English, and hunter disciplines and she owns IIB Farms in Oronogo, Mo. With more than 30 years of experience, Bentley has helped produce a successful group of amateur riders who consistently place at both the regional and national level. In addition to her training business, Bentley holds a National/Regional Arabian Judging Card and has judged some of the largest shows that the Arabian Horse Association recognizes. 

Since 1996, Bentley has garnered six National Championship titles, four Reserve National Championship titles, and 27 National Top Ten awards from the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show and Canadian National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show in the hunter pleasure section. Bentley impressed at U.S. Nationals this year, winning the prestigious Arabian Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse National Championship against 50 other entries, and securing two Top Ten awards.


Chris Bickford (Avalon Photography)

Chris Bickford

Sherwood, Ore.


The Bill Robinson Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with horses or ponies across all the breeds in harness or for driving performance in non-international competitions.

After years of training and showing horses for clients, Chris and Sonya Bickford have chosen to compete their own horses in the carriage pleasure driving division, and that decision continued to pay sporting dividends in 2019. With Chris at the reins, the couple’s 12-year-old half-Arabian Shezaffirecracker swept through the Arabian world’s carriage pleasure driving division in 2019, winning half of their classes this past season. At the U.S. Arabian Sport Horse Nationals, where they won two carriage driving championship titles and were never out of the top three. They later also won five regional championship titles and a regional reserve championship title.

Results like these propelled Chris and Shezaffirecracker to their second USEF Horse of the Year Carriage Pleasure Driving Grand Championship.


Mike Goebig (Shane Shiflet)

Mike Goebig

Kutztown, Pa.


The C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing under saddle in a non-hunter and/or non-Western discipline.

When William “Mike” Goebig took a victory pass on the Morgan mare Carol Dawson CH in the Morgan Park Saddle World Championship at the 2019 Grand National & World Championship Horse Show®, he set a record. Showing Carol Dawson CH to win the Morgan Park Saddle World Championship, he made history by having won the prestigious title seven times, more than any other horseman over the event’s 46-year history.

Goebig is a horseman’s horseman, and his patience and tenacity, as well as his unique art as a saddle seat rider, have put him at the forefront of this discipline. In 2019, he also took a victory lap at the New England Regional Morgan Horse Show, the oldest competitive event for the Morgan breed, with Carol Dawson CH—his ninth career Morgan Park Saddle Championship. That record is beaten only by the legendary Johnny Lydon, the horseman Goebig frequently refers to as his mentor. Goebig himself has been a mentor to many, with expertise that is often imitated but rarely equaled.


Nick Haness (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Nick Haness

Temecula, Calif.


The Emerson Burr Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with any horse or pony breed shown in over-fences hunter classes.

Nick Haness, owner of Hunterbrook Farms in Temecula, Calif., has become a household name on the show hunter circuit, amassing an impressive record in 2019 and fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a successful, well-respected professional in the sport. He was talent-scouted at the age of 12 and went on to catch ride for top trainers in California in the pony hunter sections before a successful career as a junior in the equitation ranks. Early in his career, Haness won the 2006 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - West, and also secured a fourth at the 2006 ASPCA Maclay Final, before going out to his own to start a now thriving business.

Haness has had tremendous success aboard Technicolor in the high performance hunter section, as well as with Verdict, who finished second in the 2019 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship with a total score of 578.5. After capturing reserve champion in his USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship debut, Haness was the highest-placed rider of the Tier II combinations.


Kim Morgan (Howard Schatzberg)

Kim Morgan

Pilot Point, Texas


The Norman K. Dunn Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing at halter or in-hand.

Kim Morgan is the trainer, manager, and co-owner of Kim Morgan Arabians in Pilot Point, Texas. Morgan grew up with Arabian horses, and first competed at the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show at the age of 14. She has established a close-knit community of clients and trainers, many of whom have been with her for years, and she is the first to praise her ranch’s team of staff, managers, and other helpers in aiding in her success.

Morgan has accumulated a lengthy competition record, handling more than 11 National Champions, 16 Reserve National Champions, and 126 National Top Ten winners, since 1996. At U.S. Nationals this year, she placed in every class she competed in, earning a unanimous National Championship title with Kheeping the Faith, a Reserve National Championship title, and five National Top Ten awards. 


Stanley White III (Howard Schatzberg)

Stanley White III

Conroe, Texas


The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in a non-reining Western discipline.

Stanley White III comes from a long line of horsemen that have made their mark on the Arabian horse industry, but he didn’t feel the passion for riding and competing until he was 13 years old. With some help from his grandfather, White became a proficient horseman in his own right and chose to train horses professionally after high school. He first began working with the Arabian horse at Long Meadow Arabians and then set up his own operation, White Oak Farms, LLC, in Conroe, Texas.

White has received numerous regional and national honors in Western Pleasure.  Since 1997, he has earned 85 awards at the regional level and 58 at the national level. This year’s U.S National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Show was particularly rewarding for White. He won the Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Horse Championship unanimously and won both the Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity and Arabian Horse World AWPA $100,000 Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity, in addition to numerous Top Ten placings.

Find more information and for a full schedule of the 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting, visit www.usef.org/annual-meeting and follow US Equestrian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.