PPFTA Trainer of the Year

The Professional Paso Fino Trainer’s Association sponsors the Trainer of the Year Award given annually at the National Show. As this award has gained popularity, it has also garnered the support of important private donors such as Fiddle Leaf Farms, Larry Williams Photography, and Casa Dosa Tack.

Excalibur, as our trophy is known, is engraved with the names of each year’s winner and is kept on display at the national office. Larry Williams Photography has generously donated annual awards photos and photos of Excalibur to each winner.

Until 1992, the choice of Trainer of the Year was an informal vote, usually tallied in the warm-up ring or at the barns. Funds were collected by Pedro Gomez, the award’s creator, and others for a small gift chosen to match the recipient’s tastes or needs, be it a special piece of jewelry, tack or some other memento. While this format was fun and added to the camaraderie of the trainers, the formation of the PPFTA ushered in a more formal balloting system. To be eligible for this award, trainers must be members of the PPFTA and must represent certain standards of excellence in their work with the horses and with the people for whom they train. The criteria are based on many things, including show records, clinic participation, overall sportsmanship and the ability, knowledge and willingness to share training expertise. At this point, the award is considered as a lifetime achievement. Previous winners are ineligible for successive awards.

1988 Julio Cese Figueroa
1989 Robin Ratliff
1990 Pat Figueroa
1991 David Castro
1992 Alvaro Iriarte
1993 Rick Meyer
1994 Jorge Suarez
1995 Raven Briggs
1996 Alberto Sierra
1997 Jaime Suarez
1998 Javier Suarez
1999 Aleidita Ortiz
2000 Milda Minter
2001 Edgar Ortiz
2002 Larry Whitesell
2003 Shaw Laney
2004 Kelley Cox
2005 Michael Bruce
2006 Carlos Figueroa
2007 Carlos Tobon
2008 Charlie Minter Jr.
2009 Ricky Mendoza
2010 Betsy McHugh
2011 Nelson L. DelValle
2012 Alonso Betancur
2013 Cary Hardiman
2014 Rufino Figueroa
2015 Ruben Ibarra
2016 Eliecer Guzman

For more information about the Professional Paso Fino Trainer’s Association and the Trainer of the Year Award as well as to view biographies of the Trainer of the Year award recipients, visit the PPFTA website, www.ppfta.com.