Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award to be acknowledged at the 2020 US Equestrian Annual Meeting at the Hilton West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla. Ellen Di Bella is the winner of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award, while Julia Stone is the 2019 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Both Di Bella and Stone will be recognized at the Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan® on Friday, January 10, 2020, along with other prestigious award winners.
Ellen Di Bella (Parker, Colo.), the Western Dressage Association of America’s founding President and now its Director Emeritus, has been key to the rise of Western dressage in the U.S. She has devoted her life to inspiring others, creating opportunities for equestrians and their horses, and working for every horse to be valued and cherished. She also served on the US Equestrian board for a decade and currently is on five US Equestrian committees.
In addition to her work for the Western Dressage Association of America, Di Bella has been a stalwart supporter of Morgan horses, serving on the boards of both the American Morgan Horse Association and the American Morgan Horse Institute. She’s a lifelong competitor, too, and showed her Morgan horses in Western pleasure for 38 years before discovering Western dressage.
She has worked on show committees at all levels, including every year for the Western Dressage Association of America World Championship Show and seven years for the Morgan Grand National and World Championship Show, and she served on the board of the Colorado Horse Park. Apart from her work for horses and equestrians, she helped found the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center Foundation, which provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families in meeting living expenses while fighting cancer.
Seventeen-year-old Julia Stone (Santa Barbara, Calif.) has ridden hunter, jumper, and equitation horses throughout her life. Trained by Jim Hagman at Elvenstar Farm in Huntington Beach, Calif., Stone has spent the last two years focused on the big equitation classes and year-end finals. She developed a special relationship with the equitation horse she has been riding, Let’s Go, and the combination won several key awards throughout the season, such as winning the ASPCA Maclay Region 8 Final. In 2019, Stone and Let’s Go showed at prestigious competitions across the country, including the Winter Equestrian Festival, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and the Del Mar International Horse Show.
Stone was finalist in the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals, a member of the US Equestrian Lettering Program, and participated in Interscholastic Equestrian Association competitions throughout high school. A well-rounded young horsewoman, Stone also enjoys competing in Western events, such as cutting and barrel racing, and participates in weekend backpacking trips on horseback.
Stone is described as gracious, well-spoken, and extremely intelligent. She is now a freshman at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., majoring in International Political Economy. Stone started her career at Georgetown with a $10,000 scholarship from Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association after winning their Horse Mastership Scholarship Competition.
To learn more about US Equestrian’s 2020 Annual Meeting and registration, how to purchase tickets to the 2019 Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan®, as well access to a full schedule, visit usef.org/annual-meeting.
Members of media and the press should contact Kathleen Landwehr at [email protected] for information on applying for a press credential.