US Equestrian Announces 2017 Equestrian of the Year Nominees, Voting Now Open

Thursday, December 21, 2017
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Lexington, Ky. - US Equestrian is pleased to introduce the 2017 Equestrians of Honor. Voting is now open online. The 2017 Equestrian of the Year will be awarded Thursday evening, January 18 at the Pegasus Awards dinner during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in Lexington, Ky.

Learn more about the eight 2017 Equestrians of Honor:

Nancy Leigh Fisher - Oconomowoc, Wisc.
American Saddlebred


The C.J. "June" Cronan Trophy is presented to those exceling in under saddle show breeds.

In her final year of competition, Nancy Leigh Fisher had a perfect record in 2017, winning each class she entered at the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show and Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show. Fisher closed out the competition year, and her impressive career, by claiming victory in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Championship with multi-World Champion, My Wonder, at the World’s Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair. Throughout her 50-year competition career, Fisher has consistently risen to the top. Amongst the dozens of championship results in the past 15 years alone, she was one of only three amateur competitors to win the Five-Gaited World Grand Championship with CH Callaway’s Forecaster. Fisher has solidified her legacy as one of the most lauded and respected amateur exhibitors for the American Saddlebred. Her work with the American Saddlebred continues outside of the competition ring with her stallion, Undulata’s Nutcracker, one of the most popular Saddlebred stallions of his time.

Laura Graves - Geneva, Fla.


The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.
Laura Graves continued to shine in the dressage ring in 2017, earning numerous impressive results. With her longtime partner Verdades, Graves racked up three FEI Grand Prix wins and three FEI Grand Prix Freestyle wins at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival to begin the year. The pair then went on to earn the silver medal at the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha. Graves and Verdades headed to Europe to represent The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team in FEI Nations Cup™ competitions. At CHIO Rotterdam, they won the FEI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle and helped the U.S. team earn a gold medal. Graves and Verdades delivered top performances at CHIO Aachen, winning the Grand Prix Special, placing second in the Grand Prix, third in the Grand Prix Freestyle, and aiding the team to a silver medal. Currently ranked number four on the FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking List, Graves peaked as number two in the world in 2017.

This is the third time Graves has won the William C. Steinkraus Trophy.

Jenny Karazissis - Calabasas, Calif.


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

Jenny Karazissis collected numerous top placings in the hunter ring throughout 2017. She finished in the top three eight times in international hunter derbies with Legacy, Nonchalant, Really, and Undeniable. In national hunter derbies, Karazissis earned top-two honors five times with Big Shot and Undeniable. In June, she partnered with Undeniable to win the $25,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) West Coast Hunter Spectacular at the Blenheim June Classic I. Two months later, Karazissis placed seventh with Legacy in the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Championship. She then won the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final with Undeniable and the $25,000 Stal Hendrix Green Futurity Hunter Final with Big Shot at HITS-on-the-Hudson VIII. Karazissis was the 2017 WCHR Southwest Region Reserve Champion Professional and second in the 2017 West Region – USHJA International Hunter Derby Rider Money Won standings. She is currently sitting in sixth on the USHJA Rider Lifetime Money Earned List – International Hunter Derby standings and seventh on USHJA Rider Lifetime Money Earned List – Hunter standings.

This is the first time Karazissis has won the Emerson Burr Trophy.

Dale Pitcock – Vaughan Smith Trophy
Plain Smith, Ohio


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, side saddle, or Western dressage.

Known for their commanding presence in Friesian Armored Costume divisions, Dale Pitcock added Friesian Tandem Riding to his competition repertoire with Hielke D. in 2017. They proved they were serious contenders, winning in their first attempt at the Buckeye Baroque Summer Jubilee in June. He and the 2013 US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Horse of the Year (HOTY) winner, earned the Friesian Armored Costume Regional title at the 2017 Midwest Baroque Horse Regional Championships. They concluded the year winning both the tandem riding and armored costume world titles at the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) World and Grand National Championships in October, becoming a two-time winner of the Friesian Quest Armored Costume Open Perpetual Trophy.

Pitcock has competed successfully with Arabian and Friesian horses for the last 17 years. Outside the show ring, he has assisted the Union County Humane Society with multiple horse rescue efforts. He is a member of the Central Ohio Mounted Search unit.

Josh Quintus - Pilot Point, Texas


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

Josh Quintus serves as the trainer at Colonial Wood Training Center, Inc., in Pilot Point, Texas, and has over 30 years of experience in the Arabian horse industry. Celebrating a year of success, Quintus earned national titles in the Western Pleasure division at the 2017 Arabian Horse Association’s (AHA) Canadian and U.S. National Championship Horse Shows, including two national championships in Arabian Western Pleasure and Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Horse, and a reserve national championship in the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity and the Arabian Western Pleasure Association (AWPA) Arabian Horse World $100,000 Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity. Additionally, Quintus earned top-10 placings in the Arabian Western Pleasure Open, Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity, and the AWPA Equine Athlete $50,000 Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Western Pleasure Futurity at U.S. Nationals against a field of top horsemen and women.

An all-around horseman, Quintus also holds his national/regional Arabian judges card, and since 2002 has been awarded 87 regional level and 84 national level awards in the Western Pleasure division.

Andrew Sellman - River Falls, Wisc.


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

Andrew Sellman, owner of and trainer at Argent Farms located in River Falls, Wisc., is a respected horse trainer and an admired leader within the Arabian horse industry. In 2017, Sellman amassed a prestigious and admirable competition record, winning a total of six national championships and nine reserve national championships at the Arabian Horse Association’s Canadian and U.S. National Championship Horse Shows. At U.S. Nationals, Sellman placed in 11 out of the 12 classes he entered. He received eight top-10 placings, two reserve national champion titles, and a unanimous national championship in the Arabian Senior Gelding class with Marvellous Xceptshahn.

Sellman’s lifetime winnings include 91 national championships, 68 reserve national championships, and 152 national top-10 winners. His regional record boasts 139 championships, 59 reserve championships, and 47 top-five placings. As a sought after Arabian horse handler worldwide, Sellman has been asked to compete and handle horses in the countries of Australia and Brazil.

Gareth Selwood - Youngstown, N.Y.



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.

Gareth Selwood produced several praise-worthy performances in 2017 carriage pleasure driving divisions with Brenda Robert’s Annette Fan’E Hamsterheide and Kirk Allgaier’s Karsten Van de Noeste Hoeve, proving he remains a prowess in the show ring. Selwood dominated the 2017 International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) World & Grand National Championship Horse Show with Annette Fan’E Hamsterheide, earning the IFSHA World Carriage Ride and Drive title and World Carriage Driving Turnout title. In addition, they were awarded the Anita Mellott Memorial Driving High Point Perpetual Trophy and the Shakespeare Farm Friesian High Point Perpetual Trophy. Selwood and Karsten Van de Noeste Hoeve won the IFSHA World Country Pleasure Driving Open title and IFSHA World Reserve Champion Sport Horse Pleasure Driving title. Allgaier and Roberts both amassed many world and regional wins in driving divisions with the help of Selwood’s training.

Outside of competition, Selwood serves on the board of directors of the IFSHA and American Driving Society’s (ADS) affiliate East Aurora Driving Society. He holds his US Equestrian Federation (USEF) judges cards in Morgan, Andalusian/Lusitano, Friesian, and Western. This is the second time Selwood has been awarded the Bill Robinson Trophy. He has also previously been awarded the Norman K. Dunn Trophy.

McLain Ward - Brewster, N.Y.
Show Jumping


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

McLain Ward’s international acclaim continued to grow in 2017 as he accumulated victories across North America and Europe. Ward started the season with a win in the $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI5* during the Winter Equestrian Festival with HH Azur. The following month, Ward clinched a home turf victory, winning the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final with HH Azur in Omaha, Neb. This was a particularly sweet victory as the title had eluded him 16 times previously. In May, Ward was successful at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, winning the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon with Rothchild. Ward has proven himself a consistent competitor, winning several FEI events on multiple horses, including anchoring the U.S. team to a silver-medal finish at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in September. His 2017 competition mounts also included HH Callas, Tina La Boheme, and HH Carlos Z, who was retired this year after winning the $50,000 CSI4*-W Speed Final at the Washington International Horse Show.

Find more information, and for a full schedule of US Equestrian’s 2018 Annual Meeting, visit and follow US Equestrian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.