Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hijinks and Heartfelt Moments at Convention Gala

If the business portion of the 2012 Adequan/USDF Annual Convention in New Orleans was quiet, the Salute Gala and Annual Awards Banquet most certainly was not.

Mardi Gras, naturally, was the gala theme. Many attendees got into the party spirit, sporting elaborate masks, beads, feather boas, and other frivolity, like these festive folks:

Of course, the banquet is a time for celebrating the accomplishments of those horses, owners, breeders, and riders who have achieved dressage and sport-horse excellence in the past year. But it's also a time for honoring those who have left an indelible mark on our sport.

Two such individuals were inducted into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame tonight. The first, Michael Poulin, is a trainer, an instructor, an Olympian, and an instructor-certification pioneer. The Poulin family was on hand for the ceremony, making for an extra-special moment.

The Poulin clan turned out for the induction of patriarch Michael (center) into the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame
The other inductee, Ravel, established new standards of excellence in American dressage and carried Steffen Peters to victories at Aachen, the FEI Dressage World Cup Final, and the World Dressage Masters. The pair competed in two Olympic Games and won America's first-ever dressage individual medals at a world championships, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. "Team Ravel" was on hand for the great horse's induction ceremony.

"Team Ravel" accepts the horse's USDF Hall of Fame induction plaque. From left: USDF president George Williams, USDF Historical Recognition Committee chair Anne Moss, Steffen Peters, owner Akiko Yamazaki and daughters, and veterinarian Dr. Rodrigo Vazquez. Steffen's wife, Shannon, is behind Yamazaki.
It was a night--and a convention and a city--to remember. We bid adieu to New Orleans and look forward to gathering again next year in Lexington, KY.

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