In late April the USEF announced a major new award to be given at the Farnam-Platform/USEF Horse of the Year gala during the USEF Annual Meeting. This year the gala will be held on January 14th, 2006 at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As a result of the new Farnam sponsorship of the USEF Horse of the Year Awards program, one horse will be voted as the Farnam-USEF Horse of the Year just as one athlete is annually selected through a voting process as our USEF Equestrian of the Year. This will be one of the most prestigious honors the USEF can award.
It is also a valuable marketing opportunity for equestrian sport much like the “top dog” that is selected each year at the Westminster Dog Show. “It is a chance for all USEF members to participate in something that is fun, showcases horse sports, and puts the spotlight on the horses which is ultimately why we love our sport so much,” said Maria Partlow, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the USEF.
All recognized National and FEI affiliates will participate by nominating one horse or pony as their candidate for Horse of the Year. Each affiliate can determine its own process for selecting their nominee.
The criteria for nomination are as follows:
- Each National or FEI Affiliate will nominate one horse or pony.
- The nominee must be a minimum of 5 years old.
- It must have won a national or world championship, or an FEI rated four-star competition in their respective discipline. (The only exceptions are Welsh and Connemara Ponies which have no national or world championship, therefore a committee from their Affiliate will submit their nomination.)
- It must have a USEF ID number during the 2005 competition year and must have participated in a USEF licensed competition or an FEI competition.
After each affiliate submits their nominee, the USEF Awards Committee, comprised of individuals representing virtually every recognized affiliate, will then analyze each nominee’s 2005 accomplishments and overall career credentials then vote for 5 horses or ponies that will then be submitted to three voting groups, the USEF Membership, the USEF Board of Directors and the equestrian media (based on a USEF awards media list) for a vote. It is the same process and point system used to determine the USEF Equestrian of the Year. Which is, each voter selects a first, second and third choice. A nominee receives:
5 points for every first place vote received
3 points for each second place vote,
1 point for each third place vote.
Then, the top 3 finalists in each voting group are determined and assigned new value points based on their ranking within their respective voting blocks for final tabulation as follows:
3 points for finishing first
2 points for finishing second
1 point for finishing third
For example, if the horse Shining Star finished first with the membership vote, second with the Board vote and first with the media vote, it would earn 8 points in the final tabulation. The horse with the most final points wins. In the case of a tie the nominee with the most first place votes in the first round of voting is the winner.
This point system works quite well for the Equestrian of the Year as it levels the playing field giving each nominee the broadest based chance to win.
Affiliates must submit their nomination by November 15th, 2005. Online membership voting is scheduled to begin by December 6th, and the inaugural winner will be announced at the Farnam/Platform Horse of the Year gala on January 14th.