"Earning the Title of "Champion" Doesn’t Come Easy.
It not only takes countless hours of dedication and determination, it takes a special spirit. Being named one of the USEF Horse of the Year champions is an honor that will last a lifetime.
The Federation’s award program is one of the oldest nationally recognized multi-breed awards programs in the country. ... It is a chance for each member earning the title of national champion to come forth and be recognized by his or her peers.
Many national winners have the additional honor of having their names engraved on one of the many beautiful trophies that are a part of the Federation’s impressive collection. These awards are placed on display at the national headquarters for all visitors to see and admire....
The Federation salutes the hard work of each of our champions ..."The Federation salutes the hard work of each of our champions ..."
http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/pointsAwards/hoty/Default.aspx (emphasis added).
Mary Katherine Day (Petrano), Rider/Winner U.S. National Champion Title: 1975 A/O Hunter National Horse-Of-The-Year With "Piece O' Cake," Receiving "The Edencroft Trophy," Annual Convention, Age 19
What Is A Hunter ?
Hunters over fences are judged on performance and soundness. Judges are looking for great jumping style, quality of both looks and movement, as well as willingness, manners, and suitability of horse and rider. The round over fences itself should be judged on evenness of pace, as well as consistency of distances. In over fences classes hunters are judged over fences that simulate fences found in the hunt field such as coops, walls, gates, etc." http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allhunter/about.aspx
Photo: Mary Katherine Day (Petrano) in a Hunter class on her U.S. National Champion partner, "Piece O' Cake," at the Devon Horse Show, Devon, PA, 1974
Handy Hunter classes
"Some hunter classes over fences are what we call Handy Hunter classes. These classes emphasize tight turns, creative approaches, brilliance and pace."http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allhunter/about.aspx
Hunter Under Saddle classes
"Hunters are also shown on the flat. These classes are called under saddle classes and are judged both directions at the walk, trot, canter, and sometimes the hand gallop. Movement, manners, and quality are judged at all gaits."http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allhunter/about.aspx
Photo: Mary Katherine Day (Petrano) in a Hunter Under Saddle class on U.S. National Champion partner, "Piece O' Cake," at the Hamptons Horse Show, East Hampton, L.I., NY, 1975
Mary Katherine Day (Petrano) Competed Hunter-Seat Medal / Maclay / USET Equitation As A Junior Rider And Qualified For Medal and Maclay Finals From Zone II (New York)
Hunter Seat Equitation is a division that is judged on the ability and the style of the rider. The riders can be judged both over fences and on the flat. In over fences classes the riders are judged not only on their ability to negotiate a course of jumps on their horses, but also on their style and position while they do it. The rider should demonstrate that they have a good understanding not only of what the questions of the course are, but how best to answer them. They are trying to execute a smooth and consistent round, using invisible aids, and trying to make their round seem completely effortless. Their position should remain both accurate and stylish throughout the round. On the flat riders are tested at the walk, trot and canter at the lower levels, and at more difficult gaits, such as strong or collected walk, trot, and canter, or counter canter and hand gallop, in higher level classes. They are to demonstrate proper riding of the horse at all these gaits, as well as accurate and stylish position. Hunter seat equitation riders can be tested in both flat and over fences classes. These tests are outlined in the USEF Rule Book and include such things as halting, backing, trot jumps, riding without stirrups, etc." http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allhuntSeat/about.aspx
Photo: Certificate for the Three Maclay wins that qualified Mary to compete in the ASPCA Maclay Finals at the National Horse Show at the old Madison Square Garden, 1973
Photo: Certificates for the Three Hunterseat Medal wins that qualified Mary to compete in the Hunterseat Medal Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1973
Old Traditions, New Ways
"In the past hunters have been mostly Thoroughbreds, but with the increase in quality of the warm bloods imported from Europe there are very many of these that now compete with great success in the hunter divisions." http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/allhunter/about.aspx
Why Hire A US National Champion Title Winner To Ride, Train, Show, Or Sell Your Horse Or Pony, Rather Than A Child or Professional Who Cannot Demonstrate The Credential ? Because, The Show Record Speaks For Itself
A rider / trainer who has Demonstrated the capability to achieve at the Very Highest Show Levels know the "feel" and what it takes to produce winners over and over. This includes horses and ponies placed for training and / or sale. Don't let others tell you their ponies are trained by children or their horses by wannabe "trainers" or trainers who have never stepped foot in a stirrup - like Muhammed Ali or George Forman, Mary's Show Record speaks for itself. Over and over.