Upperville, Va. – June 15, 2021 – Top equestrian athletes gather from near and far each year to come to the Upperville Colt & Horse Show and compete at the oldest horse show in the United States. Marking its first year at the distinguished event, the M. Michael Meller Style Award was presented in honor of the late Mason Phelps on Sunday, June 13 before the $213,300 FEI 4* Upperville Jumper Classic. The inaugural winner of the award was Brianna Goutal-Marteau, one of the United States’ top athletes, who showcases all of the qualities the award represents.
The award is given to the international equestrian who exemplifies the best riding style and maintains admirable horse sportsmanship and sportsmanlike composure while competing during the Upperville Colt & Horse Show. Presented in memory of Mason Phelps, the award is a way to honor the memory of Phelps’ support and love of the equestrian industry. This is the first year the M. Michael Meller Style Award was presented at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, and Meller of MMM Horseman and Lenore Phillips from Phelps Media Group, presented the award and the trophy to Goutal-Marteau before the start of Sunday’s Jumper Classic.
“I think this is a really nice award and I know Michael has been doing it for quite some time,” expressed Goutal-Marteau. “It’s always an honor to win these extra awards and I’m flattered to be considered for it. We try really hard to make everything go well and look good, so it’s always nice to be recognized. Losing Mason was a huge loss for the industry and everyone involved in it and so that makes it even more special for me.”
Goutal has competed on the top level of the equestrian sport for decades, winning numerous international and grand prix events and has represented the United States at several Nation Cups. Meller believes that she is deserving of this style award for being one of the most classic riders in the sport and whose horsemanship is exemplary.
Goutal was presented with a unique and historical trophy created by Michael Trapp, which included pieces from a shipwreck and wood from the 18th century. “It’s Sung dynasty from the 14th century,” explained Trapp. “It came from a shipwreck off the coast of Sumatra in the sea of Java. It is a storage jar used during the spice trade.”
Meller concluded, “I am thrilled to have presented Brianne with such a unique trophy at such a historic event. Brianne epitomizes the word equitation – form with function. She is one of the most elegant riders in the sport. Brianne values the relationship with each of her horses and allows them to showcase their natural talent and ability. She is someone who demonstrates horsemanship both in the ring and in the barn, and is always happy to support her fellow athletes.”
Founded by Meller, MMM Horseman and QBS Equestrian’s mission is to find and produce some of the world’s top young show jumping mounts, as well as support excellence in the sport through the M. Michael Meller Style Award and the Doc Spirit Award. For more information, please visit www.mmm-horseman.com.