Liza Boyd and Brunello were once again crowned the elite of the equestrian world! They have both been nominated for the United States Equestrian Federation's highest honors: the 2015 Equestrian of the Year and Horse of the Year!
For the third consecutive year, Liza received the Emerson Burr Trophy, which is presented to a rider in the hunter divisions in any breed over fences.
"It’s a huge honor to receive this trophy," said Liza. " Emerson was someone I looked up to and respected when I was a kid. It's very humbling, and I'm honored to have my name on that trophy."
Liza is one of nine Equestrians of Honor from the various breeds and disciplines under the USEF umbrella, and your votes are an integral part in deciding which of the nation's leading equestrians will be named the USEF's 2015 Equestrian of the Year.
Liza has long been regarded as one of the top hunter professionals in the industry, having won 30 USHJA International Hunter Derbies, including consecutive wins in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships.
In 2015, Liza took home the title at the Atlanta Spring Classic International Hunter Derby, and placed third overall at the Devon Horse Show International Hunter Derby. She also finished the year first in the Southeast Region and eighth nationally in the World Championship Hunter Professional Riders standings.
Brunello, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Janet Peterson and Liza, was nominated for the 2015 USEF Horse of the Year honors for the National divisions, an honor he also received in 2013.
Brunello has been turning heads in the hunter ring with his signature style and consistent top placings for years. With Boyd in the tack, "Ike" has been a fixture in International Hunter Derby competitions since the program's inception. They won their third consecutive USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, this year with an amazing performance that many said was the epitome of what a true show hunter and derby horse should be.
“This year was surreal and better than any other year,” said Liza. “The Handy Hunter round at the Derby Championships was simply magical. I was so nervous before I went in the ring, and then got in there and just relaxed and enjoyed every moment. It was one of those rounds you always strive for with a hunter, that feeling of perfection and smoothness.
“The Handy that night was really the result of years of hard work,” she continued. “All of the work we do on the flat and the many hours my father has put into that horse, training, strengthening and improving his self-carriage, and it all carried over. That’s why Ike was so brilliant and so square with his front end and landed on both leads. He was fit and in perfect balance. It takes a long, long time to have a horse physically and mentally that fit. It was Ike’s time to shine, and he was up to the challenge even with all of that pressure. To win a third consecutive Derby Championship takes a seasoned horse, and the bond we’ve had over so many years culminated in that performance. We both trust and believe in each other, and it showed that night.”
Voting will run through midnight ET January 4, 2016. The USEF Equestrian of the Year will be announced on January 15, 2016 during the 2015 USEF Pegasus Awards Gala. This is the third consecutive year Boyd has been awarded the Emerson Burr Trophy and in the running for the USEF Equestrian of the Year award. Let's make this third year the charm!
Please note that this year's voting procedure includes email verification, so make sure to check for the link in your email so your vote counts!