Home News Jessica Moctezuma: 2008 USEF Jr. Equestrian of the Year

Jessica Moctezuma: 2008 USEF Jr. Equestrian of the Year

..."From history to the future: Youth triumphed in 2008 and Jessica Moctezuma was honored for her achievements and sportsmanship and was rewarded with the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award."...

Original Post at Club Equestrian

Foundation and Future: The USEF Honors Champions at 2008 Pegasus Awards Published : Jan. 17, 2009 Category : USEF National Championships Cincinnati, OH - The philosophy is pretty simple:

"If you take care of this sport, it will take care of you."

Gene Mische is a lifetime of living proof.

Mische was honored by legions of fans and friends for decades of involvement in the equestrian world. At the Pegasus Awards Ceremony, Mische was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award at the 2009 USEF Annual Meeting.

"I'm overwhelmed," said Mische. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be up on this stage receiving this award. It puts me in the company of legends."

"He has changed the face of the sport," said USEF President David O'Connor.

His life's work, vision and determination have forged a place in history.

He hit West Palm Beach, Florida in the 1950's with $26 and two horses. Without him, horse people may never have found the place.

After years as a trainer, he became a show manager and then planned the first winter show circuit. In 1965, he continued to revolutionize the American face of equestrian sport by conceptualizing and promoting the first U.S. grand prix held outdoors.

He can certainly pick out a horse. His string of hunters and jumpers have been ridden by the day's biggest names and won some of the world's most impressive titles.

In 1973, he formed his Stadium Jumping, Inc., to produce shows across Florida, which aided in growing seasonal migration to Florida for horsemen. The next year the former sunshine circuit was renamed the Winter Equestrian Festival.

"This success is not mine alone," said the legend. "I'm just a spoke in the wheel."

The 1990s saw him assist in the founding of the USET Festival of Champions, and manage the Olympic Selection Trials for show jumping and dressage.

As the new millennia dawned, he continued his dedication to the sport by taking on the challenge of running the National Horse Show which had left the historic Madison Square Garden.

Today, Mische is very active in breeding hunters and jumpers at his Imperial Farm in Palmetto, FL.

Mische has been a promoter of this sport at every level, and tonight the sport got to say thanks.

Cecile Dunn was not only honored with a Pegasus Medal of Honor and the Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy, which is awarded at the discretion of the President.

Dunn, another legend who has made this sport a priority on every level for decades was overwhelmed by her accolades.

"I never, never expected this," said Dunn of the Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy. "These horses have taken me many, many places. I've met so many wonderful people because of my interest in horses. The USEF has a great future. It brings together all of us."

From history to the future: Youth triumphed in 2008 and Jessica Moctezuma was honored for her achievements and sportsmanship and was rewarded with the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award.

Moctezuma, from Hardwick, NJ, is establishing herself as a force in the Saddlebred world, from the competition ring to the rescue organizations. Moctezuma is one of the few multi-disciplined riders in the ring to achieve success with equitation, gaited and show/country pleasure mounts, Hackney pony driving and under saddle, Western pleasure, hunt seat on the flat and road horses.

She's been looking after the sport on her own.

"Its all about the horses," said Moctezuma. "Every horse deserves a chance, the most important thing is to give back. It's hard to believe you can be rewarded for something you absolutely love. My parents always told me to be a good competitor but a better sportsman."

From the future to the present:

Dressage rider Steffen Peters was recognized as the 2008 Equestrian of the Year for his incredible achievement and contribution to the sport.

He represented the US at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong with Ravel, and put on a performance that brought down the house with his freestyle.

The pair ended up fourth, missing an individual medal by the narrowest of margins.

Ravel is reasonably inexperienced, 2008 was his first year at the highest level of the sport, but under Peters' tutelage he was undefeated leading up to the Olympic Games, including winning the USEF Selection Trials for Dressage.

"He is my very best friend," said Peters of Ravel. "What he did for me in Hong Kong was unbelievable. He certainly deserves most of the credit."

Peters commitment to the sport and integrity under pressure is exemplary. He turned from athlete to super fan in Hong Kong once the dressage finished and stayed to watch and celebrate show jumping's Team Gold.

"The value of somebody's life is not defined by money," said Peters. "It is about the people around you. I can think of all the people who supported this award and the people who supported Ravel and me, I'd have to say I'm one of the richest guys in the whole world."

Peters (who also won the William C. Steinkraus Trophy), despite every ounce of effort was conducting a dressage symposium and logistics made it impossible for him to be two places at once. He was seriously disappointed to miss the celebration in his honor but his character shown through in a video clip sent from Florida.

"To win the Equestrian of the Year award was a huge honor," said Peters. "Especially when you look at the other people who have won this award."

Peters had tough competition from the five other Equestrians of Honor. Chester Weber, the Individual Silver Medalist from the 2008 FEI Four-in-Hand World Driving Championships, won the Becky Grand Hart Trophy; Harry Sebring, an icon in the Morgan world, won the Bill Robinson trophy; Scott Stewart won his second consecutive Emerson Burr Trophy for excellence in the hunter ring; Arabian industry leader Jim Stachowski won the C.J. "June" Cronin Trophy; and another Arabian legend: Brett Becker, picked up the Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy for his championship efforts this year.

Madeleine Mae Genereux won the 2008 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award sponsored by Breyer Animal Creations®. At 18, Genereux gives back to the sport she loves through the Minnesota Hunter/ Jumper Association. Genereux will receive a trophy, a scholarship to the educational program of her choice and a lifetime membership to USEF.

Another of the night's honorees was Arabian veterinarian Frederick A. Metcalf. He accepted the Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy for humanitarian acts in the equestrian community.

Among the other equestrians bestowed awards were: Reedannland Farms of Dr. and Mrs. Alan Raun (Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeder's Award); Joe Fargis (Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Trophy); Cecile Hetxel Dunn, Linda Allen, Charles "Champ" Hough (Pegasus Medal of Honor); and Edward Barham and Daniel Lenehan (posthumous Richard E. McDevitt Award of Merit).

-Additional reporting by Brian Sosby

Attached photo of Gene Mische and Jessica Moctezuma, please credit Geoff Oliver Bugbee/USEF

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