The United States Equestrian Federation has announced the nominees for the 2012 Horse of the Year award and the 2012 Equestrian of the Year award. Rich Fellers has been nominated in the latter, and Flexible in the first. In January, USEF will bestow two of the six nominated horses with the prestigious title of Horse of the Year, the highest honor the USEF awards a horse.
Again this year both a national and international horse will win. When it comes to the Equestrian of the Year – known as the USEF Equestrians of Honor – eight stars of equestrian sport across breed and discipline recently received a unique competitive trophy. Just one of them will win the distinguished grand prize and be named the "2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year". Simply visit http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/hoty/, and type in your email address to access the voting portal. Voting will end at midnight [ET] on Monday, January 7, 2013.
USEF’s nomination text on Flexible:
Flexible (Cruising x Flex)
1996 Irish Sport Horse Stallion
Owners: Harry and Mollie Chapman
Flexible has done the unthinkable time after time in his storied career. The diminutive 15.3h stallion with a unique jumping style has twice come back from career-threatening injuries and captured top standings at prestigious competitions. In 2012, with rider Rich Fellers, Flexible ended the U.S.'s 25-year winless drought at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Jumping Finals by out-running the eventual Olympic champions in a jump-off for the ages.
Flexible kept up his winning ways in the 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Observation Events where he claimed victory four times. He won twice in Del Mar (the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar) and then again six weeks later at Spruce Meadows. Fellers and Flexible jumped four clear rounds in two classes, including two jump-offs in Calgary to win the $35,000 Husky Energy Cup and the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix. They then earned their ticket to represent the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where they finished in the top ten and were the highest placing American pair.
USEF’s nomination text on Fellers:
The William C. Steinkraus Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, or show jumping.
Rich Fellers enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012 both on U.S. soil and abroad. With longtime partner Flexible, he achieved what no American had been able to in 25 years- a victory at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Jumping Final. Fellers and Flexible won the opening speed leg and preceded to produce three clear efforts over four rounds. Still, they remained tied and in a jump-off performance for the ages, Fellers masterfully piloted Flexible to a clear round and stopped the timers .64 seconds faster than the competition.
Fellers then returned to North America to contest the U.S. Show Jumping Observation Events, and claimed victory in all four classes he started. In Del Mar, he and Flexible won the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar. Fellers then traveled to Spruce Meadows, where the pair jumped four clear rounds in two classes, including jump-offs, to win the $35,000 Husky Energy Cup and the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix. In August, Fellers made his Olympic debut leading the U.S. team and producing a top-ten finish with Flexible. After returning from London, Fellers travelled to the Thunderbird Equestrian Park and was victorious in the $100,000 Canacord Genuity World Cup.
This is the first time Fellers has been awarded the William C. Steinkraus Trophy.
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