The Professional Riders Organization has announced its 2015 award recipients ahead of next week’s awards reception at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Washington, D.C.
Tim and Nina Gardner will receive the As You Like It Owner’s Award, Shannon Kinsley will receive the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award, and Bodgie Read and Dale Clabaugh are dual recipients of the new Seema Sonnad Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award.
Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Edy Edith Rameika, who are co-hosting this year’s awards reception, established the As You Like It Owner’s Award to honor owners who have not only supported a rider’s career but also been a positive influence to the sport of eventing.
Tim and Nina Gardner received a unanimous vote by the PRO Awards Committee to receive the As You Like It Owner’s Award, with Committee Chair Mark Hart saying, “I can’t think of anyone who epitomizes what this award stands for more than the Gardners. This is very well deserved.”
The Gardners supported Phillip Dutton’s career for many years and now play a major role in the career of Jennie Brannigan, who nominated them to receive this award.
“I truly believe this isn’t just because of the horses they put me on, but more how much they stand behind me in good times or bad. We have laughed together and we have cried together, and they are not afraid to get in there and help out with their horses whether it be after cross country or coming in to watch them go at home and offer suggestions,” Jennie said.
“You will see Nina at a one-day event at 7 a.m. to watch a young horse go Novice, and she will be just as excited as at Rolex. I think that is quite special. I have failed and I have won, and they tell me they love me and I will have a long career and to breathe. I think that is very special because I know they really mean it.”
Lauren Kieffer nominated Shannon Kinsley for the Liz Cochran Memorial Groom’s Award, which includes a $5,000 cash gift and is supported by Abigail Lufkin and the Lufkin Family Foundation. Shannon has spent 2015 bouncing around the globe grooming for Lauren at major events ranging from Rolex to Aachen.
“In the past 12 months alone, (Shannon) has traveled and groomed at Pau CCI4*, Rolex CCI4*, Jersey Fresh CCI3*, Bramham CCI3*, The Pan Am Games, Aachen Nations Cup, Blenheim CCI3*, along with countless horse trials and CICs and cared for the six horses we moved to England for the summer,” Lauren said.
“All of the traveling requires a great deal of organization, communication, and team effort and she really pulls our team together when accomplishing everything. She has a great rapport with all of the owners and brings a lot of laughter and fun to every situation. She really deserves this award for being so dedicated to the sport and has never been honored despite her many years caring for the horses. For her, the horse’s welfare always comes first no matter what, and that is a hard quality to find in a person.”
PRO Awards Committee member Evie Dutton added: “I have known Shannon for many years and have watched her at many competitions, most recently at the Pan Am Games and in Aachen. These are very high profile, high stress events. Shannon is always the one to make you laugh and smile. But she is also a huge supporter of everyone and always pitches in. One of the biggest compliments a groom can get is to have the respect of her fellow grooms and Shannon has that!”
It was Seema Sonnad’s wish before her passing that PRO establish an award to honor volunteers and event officials who go above and beyond the normal call of duty, and it will be an emotional time for all who knew and loved Seema as the inaugural PRO Above & Beyond Event Personnel Award is awarded for the first time this year.
“Seema was an amazing volunteer — there was no job too much for her. She had an incredibly organized life and was always able to fit in a few hours as a scribe or a steward, or take a whole day off her work to bit check at Fair Hill International, or any one of a dozen other jobs at events all over the United States,” Holly Covey, a fellow volunteer and close friend of Seema’s, said.
“When Seema passed away this spring, several of her friends felt that we would be letting her down if we did not continue her mission to help encourage volunteers at her beloved events. Once the shock of her loss wore off, Bonnie Kibbie, one of Seema’s closest friends, took the lead in helping fund the Above & Beyond Award so it would not be forgotten. One of her deepest concerns was volunteerism, and she felt that if we could broaden the horizons of volunteers and allow them to win awards like top riders, they would continue to stay in the sport giving back.”
Bodgie Read and Dale Clabaugh were chosen by the committee as dual recipients of the inaugural Seema Sonnad Above & Beyond Award. Bambi Glaccum nominated Bodgie, saying she “epitomizes all the criteria set forth in the award and showed me that you can keep volunteering way into your 80s.” PRO Awards Committee member Mary Coldren described Bodgie as “a lifelong horsewoman and volunteer who has helped develop the sport at every level from grass roots all the way up to international levels.”
Dale has volunteered in the sport for more than 20 years and also organized the Menfelt Horse Trials. For the past 10 years, she has volunteered at the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland.
“She has touched everyone’s lives with her generous spirit and willing heart,” Carolyn Mackintosh, organizer of the Maryland Horse Trials, said. “Whether you are a professional rider at the recognized horse trial or those just beginning the sport, Dale has been there to enliven your spirit and confidence … asking only to serve.
PRO Awards Committee member Sharon White added: “Dale is the most giving person. She will do anything for anybody.”
Both Bodgie and Dale will receive an engraved silver bowl and shared cash gift of $1,000 presented by Henry Glick, Seema’s husband.
These very worthy individuals will be honored at the PRO Awards Reception from 6:15-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Congratulations to all the recipients, and we look forward to celebrating with you next week!