Charles Owen Most Memorable Moment of the Year Award
2016 winner: Ben Hobday

There have been numerous memorable moments that have stuck in the minds of our readers this year, but the single moment that best captured the imagination of our readers — wowing, astounding or delighting us all as enthusiasts — was Ben Hobday riding triumphantly through the finish at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after recovering from cancer, complete with Willberry Wonder Pony strapped to his back. Watch an emotional Ben accept his award below:

 

Charles Owen Most Memorable Moment of the Year Award nominees

Andrew Nicholson’s Barbury triumph

The moment: the 55-year-old took the third leg of the Event Rider Masters with Libby Sellar’s Nereo at Barbury in June — the fifth time in a row he has taken the main class at the Wiltshire horse trials.

Wow factor: the victory was less than a year after he suffered a serious neck injury in a fall at the Festival of British Eventing, which could have left him paralysed. “My surgeon told me that the injury I sustained would have caused paralysis at the time of injury in 98% of cases,” Andrew said after he was released from hospital. “I was extremely fortunate.”

Charlotte Dujardin defending her Olympic gold medal

The moment: the 31-year-old delighted the Rio crowds when she stormed to victory with the Negro gelding Valegro in the freestyle with a 93.857% score.

Wow factor: this was Charlotte’s third Olympic gold medal, having won the first two at London 2012, and while her score was just shy of her own world record, it marked a hefty new Olympic one. “Blueberry knew I was nervous. He looked after me and helped me out. Trotting round the edge, he picked up and I knew we were ready to go,” she said afterwards. “He has a heart of gold.”

Ben Hobday’s double clear at Badminton

The moment: the 28-year-old jumped a double clear at Badminton in May to finish 32nd with the 14-year-old Irish sport horse gelding Mulrys Error, who is out of a Clydesdale mare.

Wow factor: Ben was diagnosed with cancer (Burkitt non-Hodgkin lymphoma) in June 2015, completed chemotherapy in September 2015 and was back out competing at the start of the 2016 season. He rode around Badminton’s cross-country with Willberry Wonder Pony — the flagbearer of the late Hannah Francis’ cancer charity — tucked inside his number bib.

Nick Skelton winning Olympic gold

The moment: the 58-year-old held his nerve to take the individual gold medal in Rio with the 13-year-old stallion Big Star.

Wow factor: the showjumper’s bottom lip uncharacteristically quivered as he took to the podium to receive his medal — becoming Britain’s second-oldest Olympic gold medallist and claiming the UK’s first individual showjumping medal since Ann Moore’s 1972 silver. What’s more, Nick has overcome breaking his neck in 2000 — which forced him to retire temporarily from the sport — as well as a hip replacement, two knee operations and  shoulder surgery.

Victoria Pendleton’s Cheltenham debut

The moment: the 35-year-old former track cyclist finished fifth in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, with the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding Pacha Du Polder.

Wow factor: one year before, she had never sat on a horse. The run at Cheltenham was part of her Switching Saddles campaign set up by Betfair last year, which set her the challenge of learning to ride and securing an amateur jockey’s licence. The Olympic cycling gold medallist underwent a gruelling training regime with experts including Yogi Breisner.

About our sponsor: Charles Owen

HH AWARDS CHARLES OWENMarking our 100-year anniversary in 2011, Charles Owen is proud to produce state-of-the-art helmets that provide ultimate protection for riders no matter what discipline.

It is our long heritage and universal desire to be the best for all riders which led us to sponsor Horse & Hound’s Moment of The Year. We cannot wait to see what moments have inspired you all, in a year which has been packed with magnificent competitions, and of course now the Rio Olympics.

In today’s world of cuts and efficiencies, it is truly inspirational to think that islands of brilliance still exist. By experiencing these products, you too will engage in a partnership that will encourage you to new heights of excellence.

Charles Owen is widely stocked throughout the UK, you can find your nearest stockist here: http://www.charlesowen.co.uk/us/stockists