Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award
2016 winner: Nick Skelton

The Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to honour an individual in our industry whose extensive years of commitment have benefited the sport as a whole. The award is to celebrate the life and work of an individual whose contribution to equestrian sport is little rivalled and worthy of the sincerest praise.

Here’s what Nick’s friends and family had to say about why he was a worthy winner of this award.

And see what Nick had to say in response when he collected his award on the night:

 

The Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 nominees

Bob Ellis: Bob is known for his creative showjumping tracks at the London 2012 Olympics, but he has shown flair and dedication in a 40-year career. His regular assignments include Hickstead, Bolesworth, the Horse of the Year Show and Olympia, but his CV also contains championship and world-class events.

Bob’s designs have developed with the sport, with innovative use of materials and technical elements. He puts in the effort to meet the needs of competitors, spectators and organisers at every event, and his tracks guarantee good sport.

Bob makes riders stop to think — he’s willing to test horse and rider while keeping safety paramount. And he willingly shares his knowledge as a mentor.

Nick Skelton: Scriptwriters couldn’t have composed a more fitting final chapter to Nick Skelton’s phenomenal story. At 58, in the twilight of an illustrious career spanning four decades, Nick produced the performance of his life to win individual gold at his seventh Olympics — riding a horse he nursed back to health, and who kept Nick in the saddle long enough to fulfill this lifelong dream.

Nearly every coveted grand prix trophy in the world has Nick’s name on it and he’s collected a substantial medal haul.

The admiration and respect offered by his fellow riders is a real indication of the high esteem in which Nick is held. He has inspired several generations — a true sporting hero.

Carl Hester: Now 49, Carl Hester is a pioneering force for dressage in the UK. Once confined to the equestrian realm, the sport now makes the front page of national newspapers. It is remarkable to consider his humble early days in the saddle — on a donkey on the Channel Island of Sark where he grew up.

He moved to mainland Britain aged 16 and just 18 months after taking up dressage, became national young rider champion.

Now based in Gloucestershire, he has Olympic team gold and silver medals plus European and World Championships medals and his national titles.

As impressive is his role as a trainer, most notably of individual Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin.

Sylvia Loch: For over 40 years Sylvia Loch has dedicated her life to practising and teaching classical dressage and training methods.

In 1979, she set up a classical dressage academy of Lusitano and Spanish horses in the UK with her late husband. She went on to found the Lusitano Breed Society of Great Britain in 1986, and she is now honorary president. The literature that Sylvia has produced on the subject, as well as her lecturing, has been credited with inspiring riders across the globe.

In 1995, Sylvia founded the Classical Riding Club to promote humane, logical and correct riding methods. The club is now an independent partner of the British Horse Society.

Lynne Crowden: Alongside running Woodlander Stud in Northamptonshire, Lynne works tirelessly to promote British breeding with BEF Programmes and Futurity, the BBSH (British Bred Sport Horse), the British Breeders’ Network, the Warmblood Breeders’ Studbook UK and the BHHS (British Hanoverian Horse Society).

She has bred and produced horses for racing, eventing, jumping and dressage for over 25 years — focusing latterly on top dressage horses, with an emphasis on breeding from the very best dam lines.

She has been rewarded with the likes of Woodlander Farouche, five- and six-year-old champion at the World Breeding Championships.