The votes have been tallied, and we’re ready to name the 2013 EN Horse and Rider of the Year! The polls were incredibly close, with just seven votes deciding Rider of the Year and 28 votes deciding Horse of the Year. Many thanks to all 3,500 EN readers who voted in the polls this week. First, I have to congratulate all our nominees for Rider of the Year — Hawley Bennett-Awad, Jan Byyny, Buck Davidson, Meghan O’Donoghue and Lynn Symansky — and our nominees for Horse of the Year — Balleynoe Castle RM, RF Demeter, Donner, Gin & Juice and R-Star.
So without further ado, EN readers voted Hawley Bennett-Awad as the 2013 EN Rider of the Year and Donner as the 2013 EN Horse of the Year! Both Hawley and Donner will receive the coveted Golden Chinchilla award in honor of their hard work and incredible performances during the 2013 season. And, of course, we have to give a special shout out to their partners who made it all possible, and who were also nominated in their respective categories. Congrats to Lynn Symansky and Gin & Juice on a fantastic season!
And good news, Ginny! Your mom won the Golden Chinchilla, so it’s coming home to the Golden State!
Congrats again to Hawley and Donner. See below for a summary of what they accomplished during the 2013 season, as well as photo galleries from last year. Go eventing!
HAWLEY BENNETT-AWAD: 2013 EN Rider of the Year
Hawley Bennett-Awad started the 2013 season in truly dominant form, winning three events in a row with her superstar mare Gin & Juice: Twin Rivers Advanced, Copper Meadows Advanced and the Galway Downs CIC3*. She and Ginny then went to Rolex, where they finished in seventh place. Hawley ended her season at the Pau CCI4*, where she and Ginny finished in 16th place with what was perhaps their personal best dressage test together. Much loved by her students and fans, Hawley is a huge advocate for eventing on the West Coast and remains a backbone of the Canadian national eventing team.
DONNER: 2013 EN Horse of the Year
Donner amassed a huge fan club this year as he dominated cross country in his trademark Thoroughbred style. Affectionally nicknamed Donner the Deer, he started 2013 by winning the very competitive CIC3* division at The Fork with rider Lynn Symansky. Just a few weeks later, he finished fifth on his dressage score in his first CCI4* at Rolex. While not the fanciest mover, he makes up for it on cross country, where he didn’t pick up a single jumping penalty all season. He finished off a stellar 2013 by placing 13th at the Pau CCI4*, where he had the fastest cross-country trip. He finished the year in fourth place on the USEA SmartPak Advanced Horse of the Year leaderboard.