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So You Want to Win a USEF Horse of the Year Award?

If you compete your purebred or halfbred ACPS registered Connemara at USEF recognized shows, you might be in the running for a USEF Horse of the Year (HOTY) Award in the Connemara divisions! The points earned when you place in recognized competition count towards your standing in the Connemara HOTY categories, even if the show you competed at was open to all breeds.

Connemara HOTY awards are presented to purebreds and halfbreds which compete in hunter, jumper, dressage, eventing, and in hand.

In addition, three special awards are presented based on these same point totals. The Seldom Seen Award is presented to the Connemara (purebred or half bred), ridden by a junior, who has earned the most points in dressage divisions. The McKenna Trophy is given to the Connemara in eventing earning the most points at preliminary or above. Finally, the Clifden Trophy goes to the purebred Connemara earning the most points in the pony hunter divisions (green or regular).

First and second place year end awards are presented at the swanky Horse of the Year Gala each January at the USEF Annual Meeting!

To be eligible, all you have to do is ensure that you and your Connemara’s USEF registrations are up to date at the start of the show, and double check that your pony is correctly listed as a purebred or halfbred in the USEF database.

To be eligible for USEF Horse of the Year Awards the following registrations are required:

-The horse must be Recorded with the USEF (annual or life). 

-The owner currently listed on the Horse Recording Certificate must be a USEF Active Member or Recorded Farm/Business of the Federation.  The horse must be entered in USEF shows under this owner’s name for points to accrue. 

If you horse is not already Recorded with the USEF—the process is easy and can be done online, over the phone or via regular mail.

In order to Record your horse with the USEF:

  1. Go to the USEF website (
  2. Click Compete from the menu at the top of the homepage
  3. Click Resources and Forms
  4. Click Horse Services

The Horse Recording form download link is the first one listed.  An online version may be accessed by USEF members with an Authorized User Account.  Log in or create an account from the USEF website homepage.

Horse Recording Form

Horse Recording FAQ sheet

Once you and your horse are official with the USEF— they take care of the rest! Points are awarded based on the number of competitors in the class and the number of animals you place ahead of. In addition, some regional Connemara shows are taking advantage of the new USEF Competition Lite—at these shows, ½ points are awarded which count towards the HOTY totals.

HOTY results become official at the end of the annual competition season on November 30. If your Connemara is among the top point earners for their breed, you may find yourself the proud winner of a HOTY ribbon!