Ellie Cheung from Topline Equestrian had a major fall with a concussion and other injuries in late august. She was unable to ride and show for 6 weeks. She then broke her finger and was out for another 4 weeks. Despite all her injuries, she came back and managed to stay in the top 10 in short stirrup and 2 ft eq. It’s definitely been a most challenging year and she made it through and I’m so proud of her.
Eliza Jane Mattis
I would like to nominate Eliza Jane Mattis for the Sportsmanship Award. This young lady has the class, compassion and character of someone way beyond her years. Always ready to lend a hand, Eliza Jane often steps in to help the younger children get their ponies ready, wipe their boots and offers kind words of encouragement. At the in-gate, she will offer a “congratulations!” and “good job!” to her fellow competitors (and actually mean it). Lastly and most importantly, she puts her pony first. Eliza Jane is becoming a wonderful horsewoman who cares deeply for the horses. She always makes sure that her pony is taken care of before anything else.
Eliza Jane is my very worthy nomination for this years recognition.
Celeste (usually known as “Cele”) has been riding at Hawley Farm Stables for many years. She began competing in ETHJA events during the 2019 show season with trainer, Courtney Weagle, who took over operations of the barn after Hawley’s founder & Cele’s original trainer, Sara Riggins, passed away from cancer.
Cele had been training very hard this spring and early summer for the 2020 show season.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 put a damper on many of the spring shows. Just as the season was starting to return to normal to some extent, Cele had an accident that caused a badly broken ankle. She had to have surgery and was unable to ride for months. Despite her injury, Cele continued to spend lots of time at the barn - helping with chores as she was able, guiding younger riders, assisting other riders with online school, and helping with show prep for shows she couldn’t compete in. She even attended some shows when she was recovering from surgery just to be engaged and supportive of her teammates. She showed perseverance and humility and was a huge help to her trainer and teammates, even though most of her own show season was limited by circumstances largely out of her control. Celeste showed true sportsmanship this season and definitely deserves the ETHJA Award for the 2020 season.
Hayden Roark is an incredible example of true sportsmanship within the ETHJA community. True sportsmanship is the ability to display complete and utter gracefulness as well as a great sense of character whether losing or winning all while displaying a true love for the sport. This is a characteristic that takes a great level of maturity to achieve. It is incredible that, at her young age, she displays these qualities better than even a great number of adults I have come into contact with. Hayden does not have the easiest horse to ride by any means, but that has yet to alter her positive outlook or love for this sport. Over the last year, I have watched her have wonderful rides as well as difficult ones, but I have not before seen many people who can handle themselves with such grace no matter the circumstances. She never complains, always puts forth her best effort and attitude, and is always working toward a personal best regardless of ribbons. Hayden can always be found with a smile on her face as she encourages and uplifts those around her. At horse shows, she is a great example of a team player and can be found watching the other riders while they are on course in addition to always encouraging and congratulating them on a job well done as they leave the ring. Around the barn as well as at horse shows, Hayden can often be found helping others whether that entails mucking stalls or grooming horses outside the show ring. Her always-smiling face and positive attitude also shed light on how much love she has for this sport and her Horse, Delilah. Hayden works very hard to better her riding abilities, as she takes in every bit of advice her trainer gives her, asks lots of questions, and spends as much time as possible at the barn taking care of and riding her horse and well as other horses and ponies. Hayden is always a joy to be around and would be a wonderful recipient for this award.
I have been a professional horseman in Tennessee since 1977. I have been on the board of ETHJA since about 1985. But this nomination is not about me. This recommendation is about a new ETHJA member and a rider that I think is an exemplary good sport. As an old hand at riding and teaching I find this nominee to be almost ideal in every way. While she has been riding with me for just a year, she stuck with several years of lessons in which she was afraid on several levels. Moving past that fear, she has spent the last year eagerly seeking out direction,information and theory about her riding in every category imaginable. Fortunately, her parents have recognized her commitment and allowed her to lease an animal on which to learn and practice. Since last February, at every lesson without fail, she has asked me to identify what she could do before her next lesson to improve. She has also asked if skills worked on during the past week or month have improved. She asks for extra reading or video recommendations, like those offered on the USEF website. She eagerly comes to any learning opportunity offered at the barn. She shadows the vets when she is allowed (she was the only rider who watched and assisted with an eye removal, as an example). She identifies many new things she would like to learn and asks for help and advice. She has asked for help with: lounging; teaching young and new riders; or breaking a couple of young horses that need work on the preliminary steps leading up to actual riding. She volunteers for any extra jobs at the summer camps the barn offers. She asks if there is anything she can personally do for me. She volunteers to help any younger, less experienced rider. She takes on “hand walking” for injured animals or grooming tasks for those on stall rest. She is a delight to teach. She is a delight to have in the barn. She is a delight to take along as an extra hand at show when she is unable to participate herself. She is cheerful and kind, even to her two sisters. And that is almost as amazing as every other element of her behavior. I have taught thousands of riders. But Chloe Hutchings is perhaps equal to, but cannot be surpassed, by any other rider I have ever taught in her qualifications for this important award. I hope that each of you will first, vote for Chloe, and then, more importantly, watch for her at horse shows in the future. I think each of us could take a lesson in kindness, commitment, sympathy and hard work from this remarkable young woman.
Please submit your vote below. Each member is allowed 1 vote. If you have a family membership, please put that in the member name box (Example: John Smith Family) and note the number of votes for each nominee. Thanks for voting!