Trainer of the Year Award

Trainer of the Year Award

The Trainer of the Year Award was developed to recognize the hard work by those who prepare and maintain our most valuable team members – our horses.

This very prestigious award recognizes the professionalism, horsemanship and horse training practices to which all AVA members, as well as past award recipients, aspire.

The recipient must:

  • 1. Consistently earn 7.0+ horse scores at AVA-recognized competitions.
  • 2. Understand the AVA horse training scale, based on FEI guidelines.
  • 3. Pursue continuing education regarding horses and horse training.
  • 4. Train a horse who is recognized in the AVA National High Point awards, either nationally, regionally or within a zone.
  • 5. Practice and show knowledge of the AVA horse score criteria.
  • 6. Consistently show professionalism in the presentation of the horse.

2014 – Emma Seely, Saratoga, CA


2013 – Krista Mack, Woodside, CA
Krista started riding at the age of 3 and spent most of her childhood on horseback. At age 10, she began vaulting on Sundance Vaulter’s A-Team and also and as individual with Woodside Vaulters. Krista joined the lunging team at Woodside 12 years ago and is currently the head horse trainer. She also teaches riding at the California Riding Academy in Menlo Park and competes at local dressage competitions. Krista is the Gold Individuals Coach at Woodside and has lunged National Champions at every level. She is an accomplished professional horse trainer whose first concern is always the welfare of the horses. Krista brings a high level of professionalism to the sport – from her dress in the arena and presentation of horses to her always calm demeanor. Krista is the recipient of the 2007 AVA Trainer of the Year award. As a result of Krista’s consistent, high level training of Woodside Vaulters’ horses, the team has won three AVA Horse of the Year awards and one USEF Vaulting Horse of the Year Award. Congratulations, Krista, on your well-deserved honor of being the 2013 AVA Trainer of the Year!


2012 – Suzanne Detol, Cornelius, OR
Suzanne Detol’s vaulting resume is extremely impressive. Not only a former vaulter, she is also the founder of four vaulting clubs in the Pacific Northwest, has been an AVA judge since 1990, an FEI international judge since 2001, and is one of only two U.S. international 4* judges at this time. She has been a member of the AVA Board and Executive Board, and is currently the AVA Technical Committee Chair. She was also the AVA Medal Test Secretary for over 25 years.

Sue is a lunger and the current coach of Oregon’s FallBrooks Vaulters, as well as the trainer of the vaulting horses at FallBrooks Farm. She has been training and lungeing vaulting horses since the early 80’s, and in 1986 her horse carried the AVA B Team Champions — a composite team with Mt. Eden. Sue owns and trains the current FallBrook’s Vaulter’s horse, Calando S. Under her training, Calando has won several top horse Zone Awards and was the 2013 AVA Silver Horse Champion. She is truly an advocate for the horse. Sue is an educator and always strives to learn more through continuing education. She is very well respected in both the national and international arenas and a true representative of what an AVA Trainer of the Year embodies.


2011 – Carolyn Bland, Mountain View, California
Carolyn’s training philosophy starts with getting a horse and rider – and a vaulter, lunger and horse – all working in harmony. While her process may take more time, it is often met with great success. Since her discovery of vaulting, she has been the sole horse trainer and lunger responsible for the FACE team and vaulters. Today she trains and lunges for the Pacific Coast Vaulting Club and is a much sought-after clinician, teaching sold-out lungeing clinics across the nation. It is her mantra that “any vaulting horse, regardless of breed, can score a 7 in the competition arena” if trained correctly.


2010 – Ingrid Hamar, Visalia, California
Cows were the family business but horses were Ingrid’s passion and, in 1984, she began training horses full time alongside master dressage trainer, Willie Arts at her parent’s celebrated stable, DG Bar Ranch. Ingrid gives much of the credit to the horses themselves, “They have to have it in them. From there, the rest is pretty standard.”


2009 – Patti Skipton, Warm Beach, Washington
Patti ran a large club in Watsonville California for many years. After a short vacation from vaulting (we all knew she could not stay away), she quickly developed the largest club in Region III. Of course her vaulters’ successes are built on her steady – and growing – stable of reliable Belgian vaulting horses.


2008 – Julie Divita, Woodside, California
Julie is the owner and trainer of (among others) Giovanni and Lorino who have won the last three “AVA Horse of the Year” Awards. Her calm dedication to her horses and her club has resulted in top level horses for her vaulters.


2007 – Krista Poppenberg, Woodside, California
Krista has been a mainstay of the Woodside Vaulting Club for many years. Her consistant, high-level horse training has helped bring the club to it’s present world class status.


2006 – Carolyn Bland, Moorpark, California
For the first time an AVA trainer was honored with the new AVA Trainer of the Year Award. It was presented to Carolyn Bland of Moorpark, California. Carolyn has trained top level dressage and vaulting horses, riders and vaulters. She is a longeur par excellence. Congratulations.
“Carolyn’s contribution to the success at the WEG2006 was great, but her contribution to the AVAís efforts to improve horsemanship within our own ranks is even more important and more positively far-reaching for the future.” J. Ashton Moore (FEI O)