Lexington, Kentucky — International hunter derby superstar Brunello has earned one more star for his crown: the prestigious honor of being named USEF National Horse of the Year at this weekend’s USEF Annual Meeting.
Owned by Janet Peterson and rider Liza Boyd, the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding has had a glittering career consisting of mic-drop moment after mic-drop moment — you can check out a USEF Network video honoring the horse here.
Their biggest victory of 2015 came in August when they claimed a hat-trick third consecutive win in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Ky.
Kristen Kovatch recounts the weekend:
At an age at which many top-tier horses in any discipline are easing into an easy retirement or semi-retirement the 17-year-old “Ike” is like fine wine: he’s just getting better and better.
The handy round was the second phase of competition at the Championships, with the top twenty horse-and-rider pairs from the preliminary classic round competing for final standings. Displaying unparalleled scope and athleticism over the fences, Brunello and Boyd actually elicited whoops and cheers from the crowd over particularly challenging fences.
Re-live their handy round:
Simply amazing. Of course, they weren’t slouches the day prior in their classic round, either:
Boyd described her desire to capture a third victory for her horse’s sake:
“This year, I did feel obligated to do it for him. I just really wanted to keep it together, and it was all for him […] The horse is unbelievable. I was so nervous in the schooling area; I couldn’t get it together. I should just get off and let him do it himself. It probably would have been a score of 100. He’s just amazing. I’m in a little bit of shock, and I’m so lucky to have that horse in my life […] He is such an amazing animal, and it felt great to pull this off for him tonight.”
Many congratulations to Brunello and his team, and best of luck in 2016!