IEHJA Recognizes Members at Annual Awards Banquet

by Patti Schooley

On February 18th, a sold-out crowd gathered at Santa Anita Park to enjoy a catered feast while cheering each winner as they collected their 2023 yearend awards and ribbons. The mood was festive as the IEHJA Board of Directors recognized eleven champions and reserve champions plus ribbon placements in the Hunter and Equitation Divisions. Six Jumper Division champions and reserve champions were also recognized with ribbons awarded to sixth place in all but one division. Monogramed Jackets were awarded to each division champion, with reserve champions receiving stylish vests. Once again Dover Saddlery, located in Lake Forrest, donated belts to our third-place winners. Thank you, Dover!

Event Master of Ceremonies Anne Lorkowski introduced the 2023 IEHJA Medal Finals Winners to the enthusiastic crowd. Winners of these three finals are as follows: Madalyn Alva the IEHJA Flat Medal champion with Olivia Stepien reserve; Jenna Humphrey 2’3” champion with Olivia Stepien reserve; and Charlie Solt the 2”6” champion with Madalyn Alva reserve. The IEHJA Yearend Hi-Point awards were then announced including Division champions and reserve champions, trainers, and champion and reserve Thoroughbred. The latter champion won a beautiful tack trunk donated by Caroline Betts.

Speaking of Thoroughbreds, banquet goers were able to enjoy a spectacular racing card as a backdrop to the days’ ceremony. IEHJA was a named sponsor of the first race and four lucky drawing winners were able to participate in winners circle activities. Also attending the winners circle ceremony was Caroline Betts, who again donated the beautiful tack trunk to the IEHJA hi-point thoroughbred winner.

A silent auction featuring donated trainer baskets and manufacturers products was quite competitive. Bidders made numerous trips to the auction tables to check the status of their bids. Bidding lasted until the last seconds of the auction and the competition was fierce but friendly. Thank you, trainers, and product manufacturers, for supporting IEHJA.

Please enjoy banquet photos provided by Barn Mom Photography.

Hi-Point Thoroughbred tack trunk winner Kaitlyn Williams with her trainer Nicole Lear-Helms
Caroline Betts and Anne Lorkowski join IEHJA members in the winner’s circle
Trainer donated baskets for the silent auction
Olivia Stepien receiving her reserve champion award for the IEHJA Flat Medal Year End Hi-point from trainer Jessica Clark
Mckenna Hammer with her many ribbons and awards
Joy Farms riders show off their awards
Ryann Buhl, IEHJA Junior Board member, Champion Schooling Jumper Division 0.80m
Awards table showcasing belts donated by Dover