December 1, 2006 -- Margie Engle of Wellingotn, Fla., won her 10th American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Rider of the Year award in a tie breaker for top honors in the AGA's Grand Prix Series of Show Jumping with Kent Farrington of Greenwich, Conn. Both riders finished the season with a total of 120 points. Engle's 13 clear rounds beat out Farrington's 11 to clinch the title.
"I was really surprised with this year's title," said Engle. "In past years when I won I spent a lot of time campaigning on the AGA tour. This year though, I was in Europe for a lot of the summer, so winning this year came as a bit of a shock."
The AGA Grand Prix Series of Show Jumping is the world's richest and longest running series of events and offers over $3 million in prize money on a tour that encompasses thirty events and twenty different equestrian market locations across the United States.
Engle notched only two wins on this year's AGA tour, but consistent top six finishes throughout the season, and 13 clear rounds added up to Rider of the Year honors once again. Engle posted two clear rounds to win the $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic, CSI-W at the Winter Equestrian Festival in February. Top finishes in the $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa CSI-W in March, and the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational in April powered Engle into the top 10 following the winter portion of the tour.
Top finishes in two more big money events, the $150,000 Grand Prix of Charlotte, CSI 4* and the $100,000 Budweiser Upperville Jumper Classic, CSI 3, highlighted Engle's spring campaign. In Engle's second win of the season, at the $65,000 Merrill Lynch Cleveland Grand Prix, she notched four clear rounds, winning that event for the fourth year in a row. A second place finish at the $65,000 Budweiser Grand Prix of Indianapolis finished the season.
Farrington won the $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI-3, finished sixth in the $150,000 Florida Open presented by Cosequin and went on to win the $150,000 US Open Jumper Championship. During the summer, Farrington placed sixth in the $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix at Devon and third in the $50,000 Sussex County Grand Prix. He topped off his excellent 2006 season with a win in $75,000 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic, and two top finishes in the $100,000 Wachovia Securities American Gold Cup CSI-W in Cleveland, and $65,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National CSI-W at Harrisburg.
Three-time AGA Rider of the Year McLain Ward finished third this year, just six points behind Engle and Farrington, and Chris Kappler was fourth in the rider race, 19 points behind the leaders.
For the second year in a row, Madison, owned by Alexa Weeks and riden by Farrington won the AGA Horse of the Year award. Madison earned $103,930 to take this year's title and became the first horse in over 20 years to win back-to-back AGA Horse of the Year titles.
Rodrigo Pessoa rode Diego Parella Coutino's Baloubet du Rouet to second place honors with a bankroll of $83,685. Glasgow, the 2004 AGA Horse of the Year, owned by the Glasgow Group, finished third this year with $77,300.
In the 2006 AGA Rookie of the Year race, Colorado's Janet Hischer, with a win in the $60,000 Grand Prix of Denver in July and a top 12 finish in the Rocky Mountain Grand Prix, earned $14,000 and held on to edge Brianne Goutal of New York, N.Y., for this year's top honors. Goutal had no AGA wins for the season but picked up top placings in the $65,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National CSI-W, the $50,000 Sussex County Grand Prix and the $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix of Lake Placid, CSI 3*.
The 2006 AGA National Championship will be held this year at the Stadium Jumping Christmas Festival, scheduled for December 15-17 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Fla. The AGA Championship is limited to invited riders only, including the defending champion and the AGA Rookie of the Year.