Year End Awards


Would you like to be featured? Send me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your short rider & horse bio as well as a jpg photograph (but you need to confirm permission from a professional photographer that photo's are ok to post, plus we need to give them credit where credit is due!)  Here are a few of the competitors!

Training - Junior/Young Rider

Morgan McCue & Havanna’s Orphan Annie - Champion

Morgan, age 14, had an incredible year on her 11 year old, 17 hand, Trakehner Mare Havanna’s Orphan Annie, who she has now owned for a little over 2 years.   Morgan started the 2012 Season in Florida in the Jr Novice Division with her moving up to Jr Training at Rocking Horse Winter Horse Trials in mid-February.

Morgan’s year has been extremely exciting with her placing within the top 5 in every show after dressage.  Her first Jr Training win was at her second outing in March at Rocking Horse.  “This was very exciting for me as I really wasn’t sure how it would go being it was only my second time at Training Level.”  Morgan also had placed well with another mare she was leasing, Melody Avenue, who she also competed at Training Level only to move Mel back down to Novice due to some issues and stops she was experiencing on course.

Morgan feels her biggest accomplishment was her win at the Pony Club National Championships in Lexington, VA in July.  Morgan competed with others from the EPA Region to also win the team portion of the event at Training Level.  The biggest prize was the award of the Frank Bierman Challenge Cup, a perpetual trophy for excellence in the cross country phase of eventing.  “It was great – I wasn’t expecting my name to be called, Morgan said. “It showed me that all of the work conditioning my horse actually paid off.” Annie and Morgan have formed a great bond and it is only getting better.

Morgan, the daughter of Lance and Victoria McCue of West Chester, PA, began horse riding at the age of 6 with Susie Beale in Phoenixville, PA.  Eventing began at the age of 9 at some unrecognized shows on her 14.2 hand pony.  At the age of 12 Morgan fully committed to the sport joining her local Pony Club and competing at recognized events all over the Tri-State area.  Morgan and Annie also finished a nail biting 3rd, one-tenth of a point behind the 1st and 2nd place winners at the Area II Championships at Morven Park.  It has been quite a satisfying season finishing 3rd overall Junior Training Rider and 10th Training Horse of the year.

Morgan is anxiously looking forward to start the 2013 season with Annie at Training Level and moving up to Preliminary by the Spring/Summer.  Her goal is to compete at the Plantation CIC 1* in the Fall.  She is working hard with her Dressage Coach, Kymmy Pullen, her Jumping Coach Gillian King, attending as many clinics she can with Professional eventers and looking to settle into the season with her new upper level event trainer.

Photo credit to Lance McCue


Tayler Stewart & Strictly Business – Reserve Champion

Tayler turned 13 this year and had another great year on her 14yr old, 15.1 hand Appaloosa-cross Strictly Business!

After an amazing performance at the Beginner Novice and Novice levels in 2011, Tayler and Biz moved up to Training at their second event this year.  After 3 Training level events, they put up back to back wins at the Spring Fair Hill and Waredaca horse trials.  Tayler, a C2 rated Seneca Valley Pony Club member, then qualified for the USPC Championships at her club’s Eventing Rally and was eventually granted an age exception from the national office to compete at Training level.  Her scrambled team put together a great concerted effort and placed 2nd overall!

In the Fall, they entered the American Eventing Championship in Junior Novice and placed 5th out of 45 entries with a tremendous dressage round and going double clear through cross country and stadium.  At the Area 2 Championships in Junior Novice, they placed 3rd out of 25 entries, also going double clear throughout.  All in all it was a busy and fruitful schedule, finishing in the points at 13 out of 17 events and always going clean on cross country.  Tayler finished up the year in 6th place on the USEA Junior Training leaderboard.

Tayler started riding hunter ponies at age 3 with her aunt, Kim Stewart, who runs Glenwillow Farm in Jefferson, MD.  She rode at various A and AA rated shows on some great ponies with Kim including a few trips to Jacksonville, Ocala, and Wellington.  In 2009, she competed at Pony Finals in Lexington, KY in both the USEF Pony Medal and  Small Pony divisions.  About this time, Tayler joined the Seneca Valley Pony Club and soon acquired her first pony project named Tater Tot, a medium pony with lots of bad habits but a heart of gold.  With lots of work, she got him under control and started showing at local hunter/jumper venues such as Swan Lake, where they won a schooling series in both hunters and jumpers!  When SVPC ran a cross country clinic, they met Packy McGaughan, a real expert in eventing and horsemanship.  Tayler soon became a regular student of his at Banbury Cross in Clarksburg, MD.

In August of 2010, her parents, Laurie and Tyler Stewart, bought her a cute large pony named Cinderella as her first eventer, but with hunter/jumper style.  The very next month, Tayler and Cinder placed 5th in their first recognized horse trial together.

The following year when “Cinder” was injured, Tayler found Biz for sale online at a local barn.  He and Tayler really hit it off and within 2 weeks were competing and winning horse trials!  In less than 5 months, they both made it onto the USEA Novice leaderboards for 2011, featuring a Reserve Champion finish in Junior Beginner Novice at the American Eventing Championships and Champion at the Area 2 Junior Novice Championship.

Tayler is very excited about her prospects for 2013!  After an exhaustive search for an upper-level horse and trying many older and/or very expensive horses that weren’t quite right, they found Kaiti Saunder’s horse Fugitive!  Fugi is a 5 year old 16.1 hand off-the-track Thoroughbred that has all the right moves!  He’s still a little green and inexperienced, but shows tremendous promise!  Tayler is very anxious to start working with him and move towards her next goal:  The NAJYRC competition!  She’s looking forward to fully participating in the YRAP and YR programs for Area 2 this coming year and moving up to Preliminary and 1* competition perhaps late in 2013.

Photo credit to Cheryl Sherman


Heather Johnson & The Manx Man – Third Place

Horse name: The Manx Man aka “Toby”, Toby is a 10 year old thoroughbred gelding.  I am a 16 year old junior at Poolesville High School. I am a C-3 in Potomac Pony Club and hope to move up the ratings in years to come. Toby and I have been a team since May of 2010 and have been competing at Training for about a year. One of our achievements this year was competing Training level at AEC’s. It was an amazing experience and I hope to qualify again! After AEC’s we competed in three more Training events which were all successful. Our last event at Waredaca, we received a 25 in dressage! It was a great way to end the season! It reflects the hard work that we have put into our dressage, during the year. I am so proud of how far Toby has come this season. We certainly have our homework for this winter as I am hoping to move up to Prelim next year.  Shout out to my coach, Erika Gonzalez, for her success this season with her Intermediate horse, George and her baby, Trick! I’d like to thank my family for all their support, couldn’t have done it without you all! 

Photo credit to HoofClix Photography


Paige Hurley & Paprika – Fourth place

I am fourteen years old and have been riding all my life. My horse, Paprika, and I have been together for a year and a half. In that year and a half we have gone swiftly from beginner Novice to Training level, she is a seven year old, 15.2 mare, bred by Nina Gardner. She can be very hot sometimes, but all in all takes care of me. We have had a great season, getting second at the Flora lea horse trials and Reserve Champion at Morven Park training championships. Each time, we had time faults for going to fast, and would have won. I guess that is something to work on for next year!


Training – Adult Amateur

Wendy Bebie & Doug – Champion

Dougie is a red headed 8 year old OTTB.    That pretty much says it all.   It took me some time to figure him out but now he is going strong and we hope to move up to Preliminary in 2013!

Photo Credit to GRC Photography


Melissa Fox & Command Approval – Reserve Champion

My name is Melissa Fox and I am a graduate A from the Loudoun Hunt Pony Club. I am currently in Nursing School at Northern Virginia Community College, and plan on graduating in May 2013 as an RN. I am very fortunate to have three competition horses, which I compete at Preliminary, Training, and Novice. When I am not competing or studying, I spend most of my time volunteering as an EMT with the Hamilton Volunteer Rescue Squad or working part-time at Dover Saddlery in Chantilly, Virginia.

My OTTB chestnut gelding Command Approval had an awesome year competing at the Training level throughout Area II. Command Approval, aka Pride, was given to me in 2008 as a 5 year old. Pride and I hope to move up to Preliminary in 2013. He is a very consistent horse in all three phases, and I have enjoyed training him from the ground up.

Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photography


Training – OPEN

Susan MacRae & Flashpoint – Reserve Champion

In a year that saw all three of our horses have major surgery and then losing one in the end, Flashpoint (a.k.a. Tip) was my silver lining.

He began life in 1993, and was a steeplechaser in Tennessee.  From there, at 4, he became a “husband horse” for someone who was not interested in riding, and his owner mentioned him on the Eventers-L listserve  as being for sale in an area where Thoroughbreds were not popular and did anyone know of a good sale barn?  I contacted her, and through a brief series of emails and phone calls lasting less than a week, bought the horse for a ridiculously small amount of money -- sight unseen -- for my husband Duncan (who was away on a business trip!)   It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Duncan and Tip learned how to event together, advancing up the levels at what those around them thought was a crazy pace, but they did it with ease and no apparent nerves.  Before we knew it, they were completing their first long format three day (the CCI* at Virginia Horse Trials.)  Shortly after that they moved up to Intermediate, and in 2003, finished in the tip third at the Radnor International Three Day CCI** Long Format.   For the next several years, they continued at the Intermediate level, tried their hand at Advanced, found a few holes in their training, and went back to Intermediate.  After a few rider injuries, they came back out at Preliminary and won 5 events and were 2nd in 2 others in 2007.

In 2010, Tip had surgery to remove a keratoma tumor from his hoof, and spent 8 months totally stall bound waiting for the hoof to re-grow.   He never once had to be tranquilized, even when he gradually started back to work.  He is always the perfect gentleman.

When I lost my young horse in June, Tip was there to step in and carry me forward.  I had not jumped the horse in years, and had never competed him.  Our first clinic (day one) was pretty bad, as we tried to figure each other out.  As I sat on the sidelines in a time-out, I somehow convinced myself that I was a better rider than what I’d been showing, and Tip was a better horse, and we could just do this.  And we did.  By the end of day 2, we were starting to school some prelim questions.

On August 11th of this year, a year to the day after his surgery, we made our debut together as a team at Training.  The rest of the season was split between Training and Preliminary.  Our goal now is the long format P3D at Kentucky in October 2013.  It will be Tip’s 4th long format three day event, and he will be 20!  Fingers crossed that all continues to move forward successfully!

There is nothing in the world like riding a Thoroughbred on cross country, when that horse truly loves what he does.  Tip has shown me what it’s like to fly.

Photo credit to Brant Gamma Photography


Featured Image

Madison Keen and her 22 year old draft cross, Stella, running training at Fall Morven Park Horse Trials. @mvk.eventing

Madison Keen and her 22 year old draft cross, Stella, running training at Fall Morven Park Horse Trials. @mvk.eventing

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