Liza Boyd riding Brunello, co-owned by Janet Peterson, has been a consistent winner. (photo from
Liza Boyd riding Brunello, co-owned by Janet Peterson, has been a consistent winner. (photo from

Archived Story

Locally owned horse named National Horse of the Year

Published 7:39pm Friday, January 17, 2014

A horse owned by Landrum resident Janet Peterson has received one of the equestrian world’s highest honors. Her 15-year old Hanoverian gelding Brunello was named National Horse of the Year by the US Equestrian Federation (USEF), the country’s governing body for equestrian sports.

Brunello, who is co-owned by his Camden-based rider and trainer Liza Boyd, has been a top performer in the Jumpers and High Performance Hunters divisions, becoming not only a consistent winner but also a fan favorite.

Brunello really found his niche over the past few years in the relatively new Hunter Derby classes, which were first demonstrated during the 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park.

In 2013 Boyd and Brunello won five International Hunter Derby Championships in a row: the Camden Spring International Hunter Derby, the Atlanta Spring International Hunter Derby, the Atlanta Summer International Hunter Derby, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show International Hunter Derby, and the biggest win of their careers, the star-studded USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.

To become National Horse of the Year, Brunello first had to be nominated by the USEF as one of six 2013 Horses of Honor from different breeds and disciplines. Voting was then opened to the public to make the Horse of the Year choice.

Boyd has been partnered with Brunello since 2007 but stood to lose the ride when his then-owner decided to take a break from the sport and put Brunello up for sale. Boyd and her father, top-level trainer Jack Towell, put up some money and sought a co-owner. That’s when Peterson stepped in, saying at the time, “This is too nice a horse to leave the South.”

Peterson is thrilled with the USEF Horse of the Year honor, but not really surprised.

“Brunello is a horse that decides he’s going to win and then does it,” she has said. “It comes from him – he’s a true competitor.”

Boyd describes Peterson as, “The most fabulous owner… she’s quite a good horsewoman herself and loves the horses so much.”

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