The United States Equestrian Federation recently honored equine athletes that have demonstrated a high level of excellence, and one of those horses is trained by Aiken resident Cynthia Cubbage.

Tracy Ratliff-Lord’s DA Durado, a 17-year-old Arabian gelding, was named the Grand Champion Arabian; was selected as Grand Champion Arabian for all age groups; first in the group of Arabian horses 10 years or older; the Purebred Arabian Sport Horse of the Year; and he was the nation’s Arabian Amateur Training Level Dressage Horse of the Year. DA Durado was among the horses in Cubbage’s show barn to be recognized last Friday at the United States Equestrian Federation Horse of Year Awards banquet in Louisville, Ky.

DA Durado has been the national Grand Champion Arabian on nine different occasions and earned national Grand Champion Arabian Gelding honors 10 consecutive times. The venerable veteran is retiring, but would go onto earn reserve champion honors in the Horse of the Year Specialty category, Hunter Hacks; and place fourth in the Hunter/Jumper division. The success of Cubbage’s barn wasn’t limited to DA Durado; however, as another Ratliff-Lord horse, No Diplomacy, was named the nation’s Grand Champion Half-Arab.

“We were really excited about all of the recognition we received,” said Cubbage.

The decision to participate in the Equestrian Federation’s American-bred Performance Horse rankings would yield outstanding results for the Aiken-based show barn.

“The performance horse rankings are open to all breed registries, and all of the different breeds are basically competing against each other for a point total at the end of the year,” said Cubbage.

The horseman possesses incredible knowledge about Arabian bloodlines, and of the three horses Cubbage bred, and another that she purchased, the horses placed first, No Diplomacy, owned by Tracy Ratliff-Lord; second, Have Another, owned by Laura Gordon; fourth, TL Lone Star, Ratliff-Lord and sixth, Have Enough, Gordon.

No Diplomacy is three-quarters Thoroughbred, and his dam is AC NoFoolin, a 10-time Grand Champion Half-Arabian.

“It was a new thing, and we just signed up to see what would happen,” said Cubbage. “I’m proud because I bred three of these horses. Laura’s two horses are out of her mare Old Faith.”

However, the story of TL Lonestar may be the most interesting. A nationwide sojourn that found Cubbage looking for just the right horse would lead her to a cow field in Houston, Texas.

“I thought he was beautiful,” said Cubbage. “I looked at 300 horses before I bought this thing. Tracy Lord bought it, and it was completely feral. You couldn’t touch it, and it was a challenge to get him loaded onto the trailer, but I drove it all the way back to Augusta. He finished fifth in the Purebred Arabian Sport Horse of the Year division.”

The accolades didn’t stop there as Ratliff-Lord was recognized as the Equestrian Federation’s No. 2 Purebred Arabian owner in the country, and the No. 3 Half-Arabian owner, and Gordon was the No. 2 Half-Arabian owner.

In the Half-Arabian Sport Horse, Horse of the Year category, Have Another won year end honors with No Diplomacy placing second. Have Another’s full-brother went onto place fourth. Have Enough was recently purchased by Traci Moss of Augusta.

“The horses are going to stay in my show string,” said Cubbage. “It’s wonderful because Have Enough is such a nice horse. We didn’t show him as much as we did the other horses, but we’re going to start showing him a lot more next year.”

The barn’s horses were also recognized with several other regional awards.

But, success wasn’t restricted to just the adult/amateur riders and professionals as two of Cubbage’s junior riders have qualified for the 2013 Youth Nationals, Camille Reed and Sarah Adams.