Lexington, Ky.—December 6, 2018—The United States Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 USHJA Annual Awards, which include the Lifetime Achievement Award, Amateur Sportsmanship Award, Youth Leadership Awards and more. Awards will be presented at the USHJA Annual Meeting, presented by World Equestrian Center, in Tampa, Florida, on December 11.
The USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award honors members whose lifelong involvement in the sport and with USHJA has benefited the industry. Recipients have dedicated their lives to furthering the disciplines of Hunters and Jumpers on a national platform. This year Ralph Caristo, of Saugerties, New York, and Michael Page, of North Salem, New York, are the USHJA Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.
Caristo has been involved in the sport as trainer, judge, chef d'equipe and mentor for many years. He owns and operates Glenview Stables with his wife and daughters and they have brought many children and adult riders up through their training program. He has judged at numerous shows around the country including Devon Horse Show and County Fair, the National Horse Show and Washington International Horse Show to name a few. He has also had a tremendous impact as a Chef for Zone 2 members over the years, taking many teams through the FEI North American Youth Championships and Prix des States experience, and inspiring the "Caristo Cup," which is awarded each year to a NAYC participant who displays sportsmanship and perseverance.
Page, who won the AHSA Medal Finals in 1956, has had an expansive career with horses included participating in three Olympic Games and three Pan American Games. His USEA Eventing Hall of Fame partner, Grasshopper, was one of the only horses to compete in six or more CCIOs. He went on to share his expertise as a coach and has become a highly demanded clinician in the Hunter/Jumper arena as well as for Eventers. Page has also been active on many committees including the AHSA Equitation Committee, the AHSA Nominating Committee and USET Nominating Committee. He has judged the AHSA/ASPCA National Equitation Finals seven times and the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Finals four times. He currently serves as head trainer for the IHSA team at Kent School in Kent, Connecticut.
Lynn Walsh, of Magnolia, Texas, is the recipient of the Amateur Sportsmanship Award this year, created to recognize Amateur Owner and Adult Amateur exhibitors who display excellence and integrity by supporting fellow competitors and volunteering their time and resources to various aspects of the industry.
Walsh, who grew up riding and fox hunting in Canada and later showing Hunters and Jumpers throughout Texas, is always extremely supportive of her fellow competitors and has taken an interest in giving back to the sport. She became involved with the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, where she served as president for 10 years, and she has served on several boards and committees, including the USHJA Competition Standards Committee, currently serving as Vice-Chair. While Walsh enjoys success in the ring, her love of the sport, time spent with fellow riding friends and the opportunity to contribute to positive change, are equally fulfilling.
Robin Parsky, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, is the recipient of the Mrs. A.C. Randolph Owners Legacy Award, which recognizes past or current owners who have been true patrons of the industry creating a legacy of giving back to the sport through dedication and support.
Parsky founded Buena Vista Farms, which was just the beginning of her involvement in the sport as a rider, owner, breeder and major force in the development of American Show Jumping. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the US Equestrian Team Foundation, was Equestrian Officials Coordinator for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and more. She has supported many of the country's top equestrians over the years, and her passion for her horses and the sport as an owner have made an impact.
Created to recognize equestrians who have devoted their lives to teaching and mentoring riders beginning their education in the hunter/jumper discipline, the Jane Marshall Dillon Award will be presented to Ann Grenci, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The Grenci family has owned Fox Hill Farms for more than 55 years. Ann Grenci is the chairperson emeritus and has long been involved in the Professional Horseman's Association. She has served the sport in many capacities over the years, especially influencing equestrians as a trainer. For many of her students, Grenci not only provided them with skilled instruction to become professionals in the sport, but also served as a mentor who helped her students grow as people and made an impact on their lives, staying in touch with her students still today.
Two awards are given annually to youth members of the USHJA. Open to Junior members between the ages of 12 and 15, the USHJA Youth Leadership Award is presented to a young individual who demonstrates exemplary sportsmanship, a commitment to equestrian sport, and serves as a leader and role model to his or her peers. The USHJA also nominates one Junior member for the US Equestrian Youth Sportsman's Award, which was created to identify future leaders within the equine industry across all breeds and disciplines and distinguish outstanding youth for their achievements.
Maya Aryal, 15, of Fairfax, Virginia, is the USHJA Youth Leadership Award recipient. She has been active in the sport riding and showing as well as in the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge, where she placed fourth this year at Nationals, and the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program. She actively volunteers with several organizations including the Therapeutic Riding Center in Virginia, Hope 4 Mobility and 4 Paws Pet Rescue to name a few, and maintains a 4.3 GPA. She is described as a motivated and bright leader.
Lauren Sanderson, 18, of Kensington, New Hampshire, is the USHJA Nominee for US Equestrian Youth Sportsman's Award. Sanderson has competed in IEA for several years, qualifying for regionals three times and winning the Sportsmanship Award in 7th and 11th grade. She has maintained straight A's through high school, has earned 50 volunteer hours in the emergency room at Exeter Hospital and hopes to study neuroscience to design helmets and safety gear for athletes. She is described as a mentor to young children and a positive role model.
Liz Soroka, of Sag Harbor, New York, and Anderson "Andy" Burney, of Sacramento, California, are the recipients of the Vital Horse Show Staff Award East and West, respectively, which honors the support staff of the sport whose current role is essential to the success of hunter/jumper competitions.
Soroka has worked at a number of horse shows, including managing the exhibitor services center at the Winter Equestrian Festival since ESP was formed in 2007. She has taken on many roles at horse shows from setting up the horse show grounds to the many duties of a horse show secretary, and excels at whatever job she is doing with her outstanding organizational skills, knowledge of protocol and effective communication.
Burney has been a fixture at horse shows for decades and has worked in many different roles at shows that include crew foreman, parking support, facility help, often working in the background but serving as a valuable contributor to the overall success of the show. He has guided family members and friends toward horse show work, some of them turned their young lives around by having meaningful work when their options were limited. He is supportive of his horse show family while also supporting his own family, which is his number one priority.
The USHJA Foundation invites members to honor award recipients with a donation to strengthen our sport in honor of this year's recipients. Donations can be made at www.ushjafoundation.org, and donors may provide the award recipient's name to be recognized.
Award winners were selected by the USHJA Executive Committee based on the recommendation of the Awards Committee, which solicits nominations from the USHJA membership. Recipients of the awards, along with other USHJA awards, will be honored December 11 during the Evening of Equestrians Awards Dinner at the USHJA Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida.