Dressage trainer, John Zopatti was selected as the 2003 Trainer of the Year at the Gold Coast Dressage Association (GCDA) banquet held in September. For a second year in a row, Beyond the Barn- Wellington’s equestrian emporium sponsored the GCDA yearend award.
GCDA members nominate their trainers for the Trainer of the Year award. Sponsor, Susan Rubin, owner of Beyond the Barn, said, “I decided the store should sponsor the award again because I truly feel that dressage trainers have a job that must seem thankless at times”. “Their jobs are very physical and 14 hour work days are not uncommon. In addition, South Florida trainers work and compete in one of the most competitive dressage markets in the United States. And are often riding all day in 90 degree weather on top of it all!” Rubin was seeking a well-rounded winner. “I think the Trainer of Year should have a combination of personal victories, student successes, and ideally be active in their local dressage club,” stated Rubin.
John Zopatti had the kind of year that made him an easy choice for Trainer of the Year. In the past 12 months, Zopatti won the I-1 Musical Freestyle Regional Championship and won a custom made saddle for winning the High Score Musical Freestyle Championship at the Regional Championships. He also earned his Grand Prix scores securing his USDF Gold Medal. And qualified for Devon in the Grand Prix. Meanwhile his students have been “winning everything”. From training level to Prix St George, Zopatti’s students have dominated the 2003 show season winning over 3O championships and literally hundreds of blue ribbons.
In addition in 2003, Zopatti actively served as the GCDA vice president and will continue the post in 2004. He also passed the L judges program with distinction and is working toward his “r” judge’s license.
“John’s commitment to his riding, his students and the GCDA, made him an easy choice for Trainer of the Year,” explained Rubin. “And despite all his success, John is best known for his perpetual smile.”
Zopatti is the only trainer to win Trainer of the Year two times. He was also the GCDA 2000 Trainer of the Year. When asked about winning the award for a second time, a humble Zopatti credited his students, “I am lucky to have really great students. They are willing to work hard and so they reap the rewards.” Zopatti’s students however, credit him for inspiring them.
Persons interested in more information about the 2004 Trainer of the Year award can visit the Gold Coast Dressage Association website at www.gcdafl.org or contact Susan Rubin at Beyond the Barn at 561-333-5255.