January 15 - Ravel (pictured) has been voted the 2009 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Farnam®/Platform Horse of the Year for his outstanding dressage performances, including winning the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas last April.
The 11-year-old brought the house down at the the Thomas & Mack Arena after winning the Grand Prix to perform his freestyle with a performance to music by Coldplay and the Rolling Stones, completing his sweep of the final with Steffen Peters for his owner Akiko Yamazaki, the wife of Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo.
"I think it was a great year for US dressage if I may humbly say so," said Yamazaki.
"It put us on the world map, at the top."
Reasonably inexperienced amongst the competition, the Dutch gelding never wavered in 2009, from Las Vegas to the CDIO Aachen, he proved invincible and put the US in an excellent position looking forward to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, to be held in Lexington, in September.
Ravel, who had finished fourth in the 2008 Olympics, dominated last year.
Yamazaki said: "Only in America can you have a success story like this.
"I would like to thank the USEF, Jim Wolf – thank you so much and Jessica Ransehousen for her wonderful coaching."