The U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation has awarded the Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Trophy to Reed Kessler. Each year this award is presented to a young rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies sportsmanship and horsemanship.
In 2012, Kessler, of Lexington, Ky., advanced to the highest levels of the sport, competing during the Olympic trials and winning the U.S. Equestrian Federation Show Jumping National Championship (Fla.). After her strong performance throughout the observation events, Kessler and her mount Cylana were selected to represent the United States at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Kessler, 18, accepted her award on Jan. 25 in Wellington, Fla.
“The list of riders who have stood in this exact place giving this same speech is a truly exceptional group, and I am honored to join their ranks,” said Kessler. “One year ago, I sat in this audience, wondering how my first Florida show season, free from all the age restrictions, would go. I sat wondering if I would be ready for the approaching Olympic trials, and most of all, who would make up the team that we would send to London. It did not cross my mind that one year later I would stand here, having been a member of that team. It did not occur to me that my new horse, Cylana, who we were still so unfamiliar with, would carry me to those Games. It is truly amazing what can happen in a year, and when I look back, this will probably be one of the best of my life.”
Kessler was the youngest person in show jumping history to compete at the Olympic Games. She also represented the United States during the Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows (Alberta) and was the winner of the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix at the Washington International Horse Show (D.C.).