USET Foundation Announces 2017 Award Winners

USET Foundation Announces 2017 Award Winners
The U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation announced Jan. 23 that dressage star Laura Graves is the recipient of the 2017 Whitney Stone Cup.

The award is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport.

Completing a major milestone in her career, Graves was selected to participate on the 2016 U.S. dressage team at the Rio Olympic Games with her talented mount Verdades. In addition to contributing to the team’s bronze medal finish by scoring their personal best, the duo also placed fourth individually. Past accomplishments include a fourth place finish at the 2015 FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in Las Vegas, and a fifth place individual finish and fourth place team finish at the 2014 Allrech FEI World Equestrian Games in France.

Graves was presented with the award during the USET Foundation’s Gold Medal Club Reception on Jan. 20 in Wellington, Fla.

“Thank you to the USET Foundation for recognizing me,” said Graves. “This is an honor, and more so a reflection; a reflection of our community and the fact that what Verdades and I achieved this year would not have been possible without the generosity of the USET Foundation. This award is for all of you, and my amazing horse.”

The USET Foundation also named accomplished young show jumper, Chloe Reid, of Washington, D.C., as the recipient of the 2017 Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy.

Each year this award is presented to a young rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship. At only 20, Reid spends the summer training and showing in Germany under the tutelage of Markus and Meredith Beerbaum. In the spring, she heads to Florida to attend school at the University of Miami and to compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington.

“It’s an incredible honor to join the list of names who have won this award previously,” Reid said. “I’ve attended the USET Foundation’s awards reception for a few years now to support and see many of my friends receive this award, and to now be chosen is an incredible honor.”

Presently, Reid has a string of five top horses, but her most seasoned partners are Codarco, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion, and TNT Explosive, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding.

Some of Reid’s many successes in 2016 include being chosen to represent the United States on the Nations Cup team in Samorin, Slovakia, aboard TNT Explosive. Reid also piloted Codarco to a third place finish in a CSI*** grand prix and a top ten finish in a CSI***** grand prix in Wellington.

“I have some young horses, so I’m really excited for this season in Wellington to get them going in the ring and give them some confidence,” Reid said. “Also, I hope to have some great results with my more experienced horses in the grand prix events.”

Looking ahead, Reid says she will return to Germany upon completion of her spring semester at the University of Miami to continue her training with the Beerbaums. Her ultimate goal during the summer is to make it onto more Nations Cup teams and represent the United States.

“My uncle, Chester Weber, has sort of drilled that into me since I was a little child—to be able to represent the United States—there is nothing better than that,” she said.

In addition, Jacqueline B. Mars was presented with the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award, in honor and recognition of the late Bruce Duchossois.

“I am very honored to be receiving this award, and I’m very emotional about having Bruce’s name on it,” said Mars. “We all miss him so very, very much. This organization, through the years, has done more for me than I ever could have contributed. The experiences, friendships and events that I’ve been a part of have been wonderful. All I can say is, thank you all so much for what you have given me.”

The award was created in recognition of Duchossois’ leadership, generosity and outstanding character. His life was celebrated in 2015 as the first recipient of the prestigious award, and the example he set lives on in others as the award is presented annually to a USET Foundation trustee who exemplifies exceptional leadership, philanthropy and character.

For over four decades, USET Foundation Honorary Life Trustee, eventing horse owner and long-time loyal supporter of equestrian sport Mars has lent her wisdom, passion and philanthropy to the USET and the USET Foundation. Mars has served as vice president, member of the executive and investment committees and co-chaired the Campaign for Continuing Our Competitive Excellence, which raised $36.5 million for the United States’ high performance programs. Mars is also the benefactor of the USET Foundation’s Jacqueline B. Mars Competition and Training Grant.

Mars has guided the careers of not only some of the United States’ most successful and elite riders, but she is also continually ensuring the next generation of team riders and horses are being prepared and ready to step up when their time comes.

As an owner, Mars has owned such notable equines as Giltedge, Prince Panache, Mr. Medicott and Hannah Sue Burnett’s Pan American team gold medal winning mount Harbour Pilot, among others. Mars generously established “The Giltedge Challenge” in 2012 on behalf of the USET Foundation, which raised $1.5 million for eventing programs and honored the truly extraordinary career of Giltedge.