McLain Ward awarded Equestrian of the Year and HH Azur wins International Horse of the Year title
- By SARA CAVANAGH
LEXINGTON, Ky. -Mclain Ward, a consistent and always gracious champion, was awarded the Robert P. Strub Trophy as the 2017 USEF Equestrian of the Year at the USEF Pegasus Awards Dinner on Jan. 18, and the following evening one of his mounts, HH Azur was named the International Horse of the Year.
Both awards were made during the U.S. Equestrian Federation's annual meeting.
Ward of Brewster, N.Y., is a decorated and respected equestrian with an international acclaim that continues to grow.
Ward started the season by winning the $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI5* during the Winter Equestrian Festival with HH Azur.
The following month, Ward clinched a home turf victory, winning the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final with HH Azur in Omaha, Neb.
In May, Ward was successful at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, winning the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon with Rothchild.
Ward has proven himself a consistent competitor and helped anchor the U.S. team to several FEI Nations Cup medals, including a silver-medal finish at the Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final in September.
“I am very honored to receive this award and humbled that it is an award voted on by our entire equestrian community,” said Ward. “This for me is a special award on many levels. It is and should be a reflection of much more than simply being a good rider, driver, or trainer. It encompasses all that you do as a horseman, mentor, and ambassador of our sports. It is said that what you do in the arena makes you a champion, but what you do outside of the arena is what makes you a leader. I believe that’s what this award is about.”