American Vaulting Association Names Suzanne Detol Lifetime Achievement Award Winner at Annual Convention

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Posted by Sheri Benjamin


The American Vaulting Association celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding and presented its most prestigious awards to its members at its Annual Convention last week.

Suzanne Detol, a longtime AVA member, FEI (O) level judge, coach and lunger, was presented the coveted AVA Lifetime Achievement Award for her entire scope of vast contributions over the past 35 years. A former vaulter herself, Detol chairs the AVA’s Technical Committee and Judges Program, and has run the organization’s coveted medal testing program for more than 20 years. She also co-chairs the USEF Vaulting Committee and has become known internationally for her knowledge and dedication to the growth of the sport.

Giovanni, a 17.2-hand Mecklenburger owned by the Woodside Vaulters, was named 2008 AVA Horse of the Year. The 12-year-old Giovanni was selected by recognized judges during the USEF/AVA competition season based on consistent performance with vaulters, way of going, and turnout. In 2008 he teamed with three Woodside Vaulter individuals to earn spots on the USEF team that went to the Vaulting World Championships in Brno, Czech Republic, and also teamed with vaulter Ali Divita to win the USEF/AVA National Women’s Gold Individual Championships.

At the same time, one of Giovanni’s trainers, Woodside, California’s Julie Divita, won the Trainer of the Year Award, for her development and presentation of horses that consistently carried successful vaulters in recognized events throughout the year. 

Jennifer Williams, the coach, trainer and lunger for the Great Falls Vaulters in Laurel, MD, was named the AVA’s Mentor of the Year. Former and present club members turned out en masse to help Williams’ celebrate her award and Great Falls’ 30th year anniversary as a vaulting club. Over the years, Williams has served in numerous association roles, including on the board and executive board. She is a former vaulter (AVA gold medal level) and a current AVA judge as well.

For more information on the American Vaulting Association see the organization’s website at, or contact AVA National Office Manager Craig Coburn at (323) 654-0800.