2023 Impact Awards

2023 Impact Awards

Each year, the IALHA celebrates outstanding individuals and their equine companions who have a positive impact on our community through the IALHA Impact Awards. Winners are chosen from among nominees submitted by our membership, recognizing those who contribute to the success of others, the equestrian industry, and the breeds.

We proudly honor the recipients during our National Championships, and in the Show Program. They are shared here as well for those who weren’t introduced to them during the show!

We extend our heartfelt Congratulations to these remarkable individuals on being selected for this year’s IALHA Impact Award and who truly make a difference in our association.

PROFESSIONAL – Martin Arnold

“Martin is a USDF Gold Medalist and he has rapidly risen up the ranks with success in the Andalusian world garnering more than a dozen national and USEF Horse of the Year titles in dressage, halter, rail classes and sport horse in hand.  At he and his wife’s (Jenna Arnold) farm, they host clinics and he conducts clinics all over the country, including the Mayfest clinic and schooling show at Rancho del Lago.

Martin has worked with the fabulous Andalusian breed for over a decade.  The first Andalusian he had in his training program was Teresa Hurley’s, Dante RDL.  Martin trained Dante up to Prix St. Georges and competed him in multiple USDF  Regional Championship shows as well as the U.S. Dressage Finals and the IAHLA Championship Show!  

Martin has been the principal dressage trainer for Walter and Judy Henslee at Rancho del Lago (RDL) since 2019 but also trains Andalusians and Andalusian crosses for a half dozen clients, both presenting their horses and coaching them in shows. While he loves all horses and breeds, the Andalusian breed is one of his favorites.   

Jenna and Martin like the breed so much that they now have a half Andalusian gelding, Inspired Illusion, who they bred and has just been started under saddle. He is a cross between their Hanoverian mare and one of RDL’s award winning Andalusian stallions.  He is working very well, and he will be at the IAHLA Championship Show this year!

The IALHA Championship Show is always one of the competitive highlights of the year for Martin, and he is very thankful for all they do for the breed and making an award like this possible!

Martin, along with Jenna, have run their training business, Concordia Dressage, out of the Austin, Texas area since 2010.  They are based in Coupland, TX out of Split Mesquite Farm, but they also travel in the area to train and teach.  They are both available for clinics.  You can learn more about them at www.concordiadressage.com.

Martin Arnold is honored to be the recipient of the 2023 IAHLA Professional Impact Award and join an elite group of horse people who have previously received this prestigious award.”

MEMBER – LINDA MATHERLY

Linda, a native of East Tennessee, has harbored a lifelong passion for horses. It was in 1978, during a trail ride to the Smoky Mountains, that she had her first encounter with an Andalusian, being trained for endurance racing. This breathtaking experience left an indelible mark on her, one she would never forget.

For over 30 years, Linda’s career in power generation limited her time with horses. However, she always made time for trail rides near her farm on the Cumberland Plateau. Together with her husband, Larry Millsaps, they found joy in breeding Appaloosa and Thoroughbred crosses. In 2002, with the memory of that remarkable Andalusian still fresh in her mind, they bred a mare to an S/P, joined the IALHA, and ventured into a whole new world of horses.

Now retired, Linda resides on her farm near Monteagle, Tennessee, where she takes pleasure in gardening, tending to her pets, and caring for two retired horses. For the past three years, she has relished her role as Art Coordinator, finding great enjoyment in the world of magnificent Andalusian and Lusitano breeds. Her passion for these elegant horses only continues to grow.

PUREBRED HORSE – PARSIFAL BRH

Parsifal BRH (affectionately known as Parsi), was born and bred by the BRH stud in Spain to become a dressage superstar.  He comes from a very long and prestigious line of P.R.E. champions. Not only does he have the great looks, conformation, and breathtaking movement…he also has a winning personality. He is the proverbial “Whole Package.” His dressage training was intense in his early years, and it was clear his abilities and talent were on par for the world arena.

Parsifal is a 2009 P.R.E. stallion standing at 16.2hh. He was imported to United States in 2018 as an FEI level dressage competition mount for an up-and-coming professional rider, Rachel Chowanec Kaney. Together, Parsifal and Rachel were a force to be reckoned with in the USDF competition arena. They achieved such heights as attending the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions in 2019, an 84% score on a Grand Prix Musical Freestyle and were selected for the Kundrun Dressage Development Program by the U.S. Equestrian Federation in 2020.

Shortly after these monumental achievements, dreams of becoming Olympic contenders were cut short with a diagnosis of suspensory ligament injuries to both hind legs resulting in a lay-up and recovery that lasted over a year. As devastating as it was at the time, this singular mishap set in motion Parsi’s future with Marka Dethier (one of Rachel’s professional riding students).

Rachel had made the decision to pursue training other mounts during Parsifal’s rehabilitation and deliberated whether she should try to re-engage her goals with Parsi or allow him a slightly less pressing career—she felt he may have been getting a bit burned out with all the heavy training and competition over the years. Rachel ultimately decided that his well-being was more important than pursuing her goals with him, and she wanted to make certain he ended up where he would be loved and appreciated the most. She would be extremely selective as to who would be so lucky to own him. This unprecedented sacrifice was substantial as they had come so close to achieving their goals and the potential remained to go all the way.

Parsifal BRH, who had accomplished so much in so many places around the globe, with so many different riders, was now going to be the occasional competition mount, schoolmaster and barn favorite with Marka Dethier at Overly Stables. Since purchasing him in 2021, Marka has achieved some lifelong goals of obtaining her USDF Bronze and Silver medals, and is now using her experience with Parsi (along with Rachel’s guidance) to help train other horses in her stable to the highest level possible. Parsifal also provides the beginner students (some of which are just 12 years old) at Overly Stables an amazing experience on a very grand lesson horse. You just can’t help but grin ridiculously when astride him. It is like riding a living unicorn.

Nearly three years later, Marka Dethier still finds owning this remarkable stallion surreal…she is both truly honored and deeply humbled to call him her own for the rest of his days. In her wildest dreams she could never have hoped to have such a partnership, and in her mind, she compares it to nothing short of winning the lottery. Her husband, Jason, refers to him as “Lambo” (short for Lamborghini) as he jokes it will be the closest they ever get to having one. Parsi’s kind, gentle and well-mannered nature belies his substantial presence. He loves nothing more than getting scratches on his back and smiling for treats. While Parsifal has downgraded his competition game in recent years to assume a more leisurely lifestyle, he still has a profound impact on those who meet him and, especially, those who gain from his experience as a schoolmaster. He is now available for stud to breeders who want to make their own dream horse via his frozen semen. His first two foals were born in 2022—both are beautiful warmblood crosses with a strong Parsifal imprint. His offspring have decidedly inherited the gifted traits of his proven and prestigious bloodline and are also eligible for registration through IALHA . They will very likely be formidable competitors in the future. Hopefully, his legacy will continue with many more special foals in years to come!

PARTBRED HORSE – RHF LEGADA

RHG Legada, affectionately known as “Tweet,” overcame a challenging start in life, having been hand-raised following the loss of her dam following birth complications. Her resilience and determination shine through in her impressive journey. Having traveled more than 12,000 miles to IALHA competitions nationwide, she boasts a remarkable collection of regional and national championship titles.

These accolades span various disciplines, including halter, movement, dressage sport horse, driving, and amateur-to-exhibit classes. Legada’s achievements are truly exceptional, earning her the prestigious titles of USEF Half-Andalusian Horse of the Year in halter and driving, as well as dressage sport horse in hand and specialty. Notably, she secured the coveted USEF Grand National Championship Half Andalusian Horse of the Year title twice.

Tweet’s legacy continues through her offspring, RHF Regala and RHF Ventura, who have upheld the family tradition by earning National Titles and USEF Horse of the Year awards of their own.

PRODUCER – ROYAL HORSE FARMS

Royal Horse Farms is once again poised to claim the prestigious title of USEF Breeder of the Year, marking an remarkable milestone – a decade of consecutive wins. This accomplishment hasn’t been achieved by any other farm in any other USEF affiliate.

Located in Corsicana, TX, Royal Horse Farms, has been owned by Donald and Kathy Stewart for more than 20 years. In August of this year, Kathy Stewart passed away. Her loss is felt by both her family and the breed she so loved.

For two decades, Royal Horse Farms has demonstrated support for local, regional, and national shows, contributing through both donations and numerous show entries. In 2023, an impressive roster of 18 horses bred by RHF took center stage at USEF/IALHA licensed competitions, showcasing their exceptional breeding program.

Royal Horse Farms also extends incentives to owners of their horses, to foster involvement in IALHA shows, both at regional and national levels. This dedication to nurturing a participation speaks to their dedication.

The horses of RHF have claimed a multitude of USEF Horse of the Year (HOTY) awards in various disciplines, including halter, dressage sport horse, specialty, English pleasure, western, driving, and sport horse under saddle. Remarkably, RHF Leia, Fresona Roy, Gala Roy, RHF Rabicano, and RHF Legada have all earned not just Horse of the Year awards, but the highly coveted title of USEF Grand National Champion Horses of the Year.

The legacy of Royal Horse Farms goes beyond these remarkable horses. With over 60 additional USEF HOTY award holders that trace their origins to RHF, their impact on the IALHA and A/L show world stands as a testament to their pursuit of excellence in Andalusian breeding and commitment to the equestrian community.

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