EquiRatings Horse of the Year: Donner and Foxwood High Meet in Semi-Finals

There’s no time to nurse your Christmas hangover, as we are less than 24 hours away from determining which horses will face off in the final round for 2017 EquiRatings Horse of the Year. The victorious winner will be announced on New Year’s Eve.

Those of us living in North America have done our part to ensure American wunderkind Donner and Canadian superhero Foxwood High prevailed in the first two rounds of voting. Now we face a moral dilemma, as Donner and Foxwood High are facing off against each other in the Semi-Finals bracket …

If you’re like me, you have gleefully supported both horses throughout the entire voting process. Then you realized after winning their round 2 heats that Donner and Foxwood High would have to go head to head in the Semi-Finals. Cue your existential crisis …

As of the time of publication, Foxwood High is leading Donner with 51% of the vote. More than 1,700 votes have been cast so far. The polls close at approximately 8 a.m. EST Thursday morning, so you have until then to vote. EN is here to help you decide how to cast your vote.

Both the Donner Syndicate’s Donner and John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High had stellar seasons at the international level in 2017. EquiRatings published detailed articles on all 12 of the #ERHOTY17 nominees on their blog, and reading those is definitely helpful.

Foxwood High: “In his five runs during the 2017 international season, ‘Woody’ finished outside the top 10 just once. His dressage scores dropped by 10 penalties from his first run of the season at The Fork to his final run at Fair Hill, where he scored in the 30s for the first time in his career. He improved his dressage score with each outing starting at Kentucky and concluding at Fair Hill. Woody also has the 3rd highest ‘clear inside the time’ rate (80%) of all 12 #ERHOTY17 nominees.”

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High (Rio Bronco WEvita II xx, by Arabacus xx) became the first Canadian combination to win the Fair Hill International CCI3*, and Woody capped the season as 2017 USEA Advanced Horse of the Year. He is also Canadian-bred and owned by Canadian Olympian John Rumble. Lots of Cannuck pride there! Click here to read the full article on Foxwood High on the EquiRatings blog.

Donner: “This year Donner delivered scores in the 40s in all of his runs, the first time he has scored sub-50 in all of his tests in a single season. Donner’s 2017 dressage average of 47.5 is the best 12-month average of his international career to date. We love 100% completion rates, and Donner has now delivered 100% completion rates in seven of the eight seasons in his international career. Completing his eighth CCI4* this year is just the icing on the cake.”

Donner (Gorky Park – Smart Jane, by Smarten) capped his 2017 season with a 6th place finish at Burghley on a career best CCI4* finishing score of 53.1. As an off-track Thoroughbred it is no surprise Donner is a cross country machine. A true warrior at the upper levels, he has now completed all eight of the CCI4* starts in his career. Bred in New York, he raced six times under the name Smart Gorky before starting his eventing career with Lynn Symansky. Click here to read the full article on Donner on the EquiRatings blog.

Now it’s time to cast your vote. Click on the photo of Donner or Foxwood High in the poll below. You can also vote directly on the EquiRatings Facebook page.

You can also vote for Arctic Soul or Ivar Gooden in the other Semi-Finals round. The winners of both polls will face off in the final round, which will start Friday.

If after reading the articles and looking at the numbers you still can’t decide, EN recommends closing your eyes, clicking around blindly until you manage to cast a vote, then sitting in a corner rocking back and forth until the polls close 8 a.m. EST tomorrow morning. That’s definitely what I’ll be doing.

No matter which horse goes on to the final round, we are extremely proud of what Donner and Foxwood High accomplished in 2017! Go USA. Go Canada. Go Eventing.