Celebrating up-and-coming talent in the horse world. Nominees must be under 25 years old on 1 December.
The winner of the Tommy Hilfiger Equestrian Young Rider of the Year 2021 is 13-year-old Ruby Hughes.
Best horse and proudest moment: “I’m very lucky to have three rides who have allowed me to achieve big goals this year – Hilkens Showgirl, whom I rode at the pony European Championships; Classic Bee Gee, on whom I was 2020 under-21 national champion and this year won two national winter championship titles; and Extra Time, whom I’ve competed at junior international level and prix st georges with plus-70% scores. I also compete internationally as part of the English vaulting squad and we came fourth in the Nations Cup at Aachen. It’s incredible being able to do both sports at a high level.”
Equestrian inspiration: “It was lovely to spend time with Lottie Fry at the European Championships. She is such a nice person and so kind; she has also achieved so much so young and rides the most beautiful horses!”
This year’s other nominees were:
Best horse: “Banzai Du Loir. He excels in all three phases – he has so much presence, elegance and obedience in the dressage, across country he’s brave, fast and agile, and in the showjumping he’s very careful and quick on his feet.”
Proudest moment this year: “Winning Blenheim CCI4*-L was not just the year’s highlight but a career highlight.”
Equestrian inspiration: “To be on the Windrush Equestrian Foundation programme this year and have Pippa Funnell as my mentor is something I could never have dreamt of happening. It was a special moment when she congratulated me at Blenheim – she gave me a massive hug and said, ‘To lead from start to finish and not make a mistake is how you win a competition properly’ – which was such a compliment from an idol like Pip.”
Best pony: “Noah’s Lady, known at home as Nora. She’s just awesome. She’s loving, very beautiful and she tries her best for me. She’s not tricky, but you need to know how to ride her. She’s a bit unorthodox! I just love my ponies.”
Proudest moment this year: “Qualifying for Horse of the Year Show [HOYS] and Hickstead [Royal International] and winning some big grands prix with Noah’s Lady.
“We finished top 10 in every 138cm final we jumped this year, including Hickstead, HOYS, the nationals, Pony of the Year Show, and winning the Scope final, which was amazing.”
Equestrian inspiration: “Scott Brash, whom I met when I went to Olympia in 2019. He’s very supportive. I’ve also had training from Mark Todd, Pippa Funnell and Anthony Condon, who have all had input along the way.”
Best horse: “Charly Van Ter Heiden. He’s not a blood horse, so the way he’s galloped on the cross-country at our two five-stars shows how much he loves his job and digs deep.”
Proudest moment this year: “Winning Luhmühlen five-star. It was a shot in the dark; I was away a long time and we had to jump through hoops to get there with Covid-19, but it was worth it.”
Equestrian inspiration: “Pippa Funnell. I was based with her and still go to her for training. When Charly had a slight injury after Luhmühlen, she was the first person I called. I struggle with perspective and Pippa has so much experience that I find it grounding to speak to her – the biggest problem in the world becomes manageable.”
Previous winners of this award include:
- 2020: Tabitha Kyle, showjumper
- 2019: Finn Healy, eventing
- 2018: Lottie Fry, dressage rider
- 2017: Will Furlong, eventer
About the Horse & Hound Awards 2021
We’re back! The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the sixth year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF.
Last year’s successful online H&H Awards achieved record participation, with nearly 58,000 votes cast. We were thrilled to be back in person for 2021, with a glittering ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse. Around 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, gathered to enjoy a glamorous evening of champagne and dancing as the winners were revealed.
As previously, the H&H Award winners have been nominated and voted for by you. We seek to recognise both the big names who have made 2021 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.