Agria Horse of a Lifetime 2022

Welcome to the Horse & Hound Awards 2022, which are back for the seventh year to celebrate the stars of equestrianism, in partnership with NAF.

  • Away from the spotlight, we want to celebrate the horses that bring fun, liberation, respite and more to their owners. Which special horse means the world to their family or community?

    The 2022 winner

    Carltonlima Emma: The late Queen’s beloved hack

    Emma is known as one of The late Queen’s favourite riding ponies.

    The Queen’s stud groom and manager Terry Pendry bought the Fell pony from Thomas Capstick when she was eight. Aged nine, she had a foal by Murthwaite Look At Me, named Balmoral Vision, after which she was produced for the show ring by Lizzie Briant, who collected the award on the night. Emma had a short but successful showing career, including Cuddy supreme champion at Devon County, and qualifying for HOYS ridden finals and the Olympia mountain and moorland supreme championships final. She also appeared in three pageants at Royal Windsor.

    Following her retirement from competition, she went on to be hacked out in Windsor Great Park by The Queen for the past 15 years, the final ride on 18 July 2022. Emma achieved worldwide fame at the age of 26 as she waited patiently for Her Majesty’s coffin to arrive in Windsor last month. It was among the most poignant moments of the day.

    Terry Pendry said: “Her Majesty adored Emma. She was a comfortable ride, and sure-footed. Emma always enjoyed a carrot out of a brown paper bag after riding.”

    Also shortlisted were:

    Blackie: errant cob turned dressage star

    Blackie is a 15hh black cob who was bought aged 12 in 2011 from Melton Market as a “gamble”, and ended up enjoying a standing ovation at the British Dressage regional championships.

    “He was taken to the sales as a last resort by his previous owner after demonstrating dangerous behavioural issues,” says his rider Kim Turner. “He was broken. But I was broken too – I’d hit a bump in the road. Two lost souls together.”

    It was still an inauspicious start, as his behaviour shook Kim’s confidence to the core. “He didn’t like me – or anyone else,” she says. “He was unfriendly on the ground and wanted me off his back when ridden. But it slowly dawned on him that I wasn’t going anywhere.

    “We became friends, his tantrums became fewer and his work became greater. We grew to trust one another. Now I’m his buddy and we’ve enjoyed several glorious years. Every discipline he’s turned his hoof to, he’s smashed it. He’s won championship after championship, but most of all he’s won the hearts of many and a forever, loving, happy home. Not bad for a little broken black cob, and I owe him everything.”

    Pepsi: cherished all-rounder for three generations

    “Pepsi is the horse not only of my lifetime, but also of my mother and now my daughter,” says Carrie Mitchell, who owns the 32-year-old. “In the 25 years we’ve had him, he has been everything to three generations of my family. He was my horse originally, initially doing riding club and British Showjumping before moving to affiliated eventing.”

    Carrie says Pepsi is the archetypal “supercob”. “He was placed week in, week out, always giving 110% and making my dreams come true – once winning a section that included beating my hero Ian Stark,” she says.

    When Carrie had children, her mother Jacky Chalmers took up the reins. “She called him her ‘therapy’,” says Carrie. “He got her back riding regularly, meeting new friends at the yard and competing up to elementary dressage.”

    When the pandemic struck, Carrie’s 11-year-old daughter Jess discovered the joy of spending time with him in a mad world. “Jess is now blossoming into a lovely quiet rider,” Carrie says. “Pepsi showed her the ropes at her first dressage competition, finishing fourth.

    “We can never repay him for what he has done for of us. We know he won’t be here much longer; all of us will be grateful for the time we have with him.”

    The Scout: pacer-bred veteran providing opportunities for all

    This 22-year-old former pacer won this year’s grade I gold para championships at the National Dressage Championships under Di Green. He has taught more than 50 people to trot, canter and do lateral work at the Herefordshire Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), as well as winning an RDA showjumping championships with a blind rider. Connections praise the massive impact he has had on numerous people’s lives, from riding school through RDA to elite para level.

    Joanne Alderton-Whitworth has owned Scout for 17 years, and describes him as her “personal lifeline”, besides enabling others to record significant achievements.

    “I’m truly blessed to have him in my life. He’s done hunter trials, showjumping, fun rides and, aged 19, did his first affiliated medium dressage test,” she says. “He is my therapy as well as a life-changer. In 2019, my friend had suffered a stroke and wanted to ride for therapy and her mental health.”

    Scout carried her through qualification for the SEIB RDA Search for a Star finals and into second place.

    About the Horse & Hound Awards 2022

    The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the seventh year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF. Some 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, gathered to enjoy a glamorous evening of champagne, winner reveals and dancing at Cheltenham Racecourse. As in previous years, the H&H Award winners were nominated and voted for by you, the readers. We seek to recognise both the big names who have made 2022 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.

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