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Press Release


Jennifer Benoit and Exodus

Jennifer Benoit and Exodus

Jennifer Benoit and Exodus

Jennifer Benoit and Exodus

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American-Bred Exodus Makes His Mark as Materiale Horse of the Year for 4- and 5-Year-Old Geldings and Stallions

Written by: Mary Adelaide Brakenridge
Client: Jennifer Benoit and Seahorse Stables of Wellington
Release Date: 2014-11-14

Wellington, FL – November 14, 2014 – The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) has named Exodus the 2014 Materiale Horse of the Year among 4- and 5-year-old geldings and stallions. Piloted by Wellington resident trainer and judge Jennifer Benoit and owned by Joanne Sekor, the 5-year-old American-bred Dutch Warmblood gelding earned a median score of 82.000 percent to clinch the award.

Under the guidance of Benoit, Exodus made his debut in December 2013 in the Materiale division during a rain squall in Wellington and has bloomed throughout the show season, besting his scores each time out and reaching a whopping 88.600 percent in March. The stunning bay gelding by Raymeister out of Kyra, a Goodtimes dam, has had a phenomenal first year of showing.

“Zeke,” as he is affectionately known around Benoit’s Seahorse Stables of Wellington, has exceeded all expectations. In the Materiale, his canter is a true highlight according to every judge who has seen him. In fact, Stephen Clarke of Great Britain and Sandra Hotz of the U.S. gave him an incredible 9.5 out of 10 for his canter commenting, “Very nice horse with obvious ability for the future!” 

The light bay gelding is an elegant, modern type. He stands 16 hands high and sports a very young baby face with an inquisitive expression.

“Don’t be fooled by the light frame!” Benoit laughed. “He rides big with a powerful stride and puffs up in the arena. He has the goods and he knows it.”

She continued, “I love that he was born in the USA and I love that he isn’t a huge horse! As a judge who is deeply committed to improving American dressage horses and riders, that’s what I hope to see more of in the show ring – good riding, good horses and correct proportions between the two.”

At home, Zeke is a puppy dog with a gentle nature and wonderful ground manners, but when it’s “show time,” he is all business. Benoit has trained him since the tender age of 3 years old and beams when she speaks of his talent, trainability and rideability.

“I am truly blessed that such a superb horse has come into my life, and Joanne Sekor is simply the most kind, generous owner I have ever encountered,” she said. “It is a dream team for sure, and I am humbled by the tremendous opportunity.”  

During the Wellington show season, Exodus and Benoit qualified for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Championships in Chicago. The pair had a strong showing at the Championships in August with expressive gaits that were rewarded well by the judges. During the final test, Zeke bubbled over with expression and started doing tempi changes in the canter work, which cost them some points, but the pair still tied for seventh place overall on a score of 8.02.

“We are so pleased with the horse’s talent, work ethic and performance,” Benoit said. “We really feel he has the potential to develop into an international horse. It’s my job to draw out that talent while keeping it fun for a very trusting, willing young horse.”

Both Sekor and Benoit are ecstatic with the honor of Materiale Horse of the Year and just as thrilled about planning the talented horse’s future.

“Jennifer is doing a wonderful job of training Exodus so as to bring out his full potential,” Sekor said.

The judges have commented on the talent, willingness and good potential of the horse and complimented the evident training and correct basics both in Wellington and Chicago. Now the plan is to develop the collection and self carriage up the levels at the pace that works best for the horse.

“Zeke has already shown some exciting talent for piaffe and passage at home in hand,” Benoit said. “We are working on the half-passes and flying changes this fall and will make plans for further showing next year when he shows us confidence at all the Third Level movements.”

Sekor and Benoit approach Zeke’s training with a long-term view rather than a short-term, self-motivated, award-chasing strategy. Zeke is off to an excellent start, and both owner and trainer hope to maintain the exemplary attitude and harmonious lightness that have been the hallmark of this future superstar all year long. 

Seahorse Stables of Wellington is owned by Jennifer and Christopher Benoit. Visit to learn more, and like Seahorse Stables of Wellington on Facebook.

See how Benoit's sponsor, TacknRider, can outfit you and your horse at


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