From a dressage rider recovering from a coma to a septuagenarian on a 1,000-mile odyssey, here are the people who have inspired the equestrian world this year
Yvonne Goss, 55
A STALWART of the team chasing field, Yvonne became the first dual winner of the tough Golden Button Challenge when winning it for a second time in February aboard her home-bred ex-racehorse Untilla Legend — also known as Jaffa.
The renowned hunt ride crosses three miles over 28 natural obstacles, including daredevil ditches and huge hedges not for the faint-hearted.
Yvonne has proven once again she has nerves of steel and a fierce competitive streak to match. At the age of 55, the rider has no plans to hang up her riding boots yet; in fact, she has her sights set on the 2019 contest.
The Gloucestershire rider first took the title at the inaugural Golden Button Challenge on her horse Perry in 2006.
She is a regular member of the Fox Grant Dot Com team chase quartet, having team chased for all of her adult life. She has an unquestionable passion for her horses and the sport.
Alena Hughes, 12
ALENA won the Winter British National Children on Horses title this year, has been selected to represent Team GBR for Nations Cups and been placed at the London Global Champions Tour.
She has managed all this despite having type one diabetes, a condition that necessitates a minimum of six injections per day to avoid her going into a coma, monitoring her food and drink intake and pricking her fingers every two hours to check on her blood sugar levels.
“She’s an absolute inspiration to both adults and children as she is driven by hard work and determination,” say Alena’s group of friends that nominated her. “Her attitude is simply to deal with her condition and not let it stand in her way. You never ever hear her complain, and she’s always caring about others.”
Alena has a medical dog, Maisie, and has raised more than £1,000 for medical detection dogs.
Daisy Sadler, 73
DAISY, along with Brabants (Belgian Drafts) Olive and Arthur, plus Tad the dog, set off on 22 April to travel nearly 1,000 miles from Banbury via Edinburgh to The Kelpies and back — at a top speed of just 4mph. She initiated the expedition to raise money for the Imogen Whitby Fund as part of The Brain Tumour Charity.
Daisy arrived back home at the end of September after more than five months on the road to a hero’s welcome at her local pub, The Lampet Arms in Tadmarton, Oxfordshire. The expedition has raised more than £21,000 for the charity, which estimates this sum will fund more than 80 days’ research into brain tumours.
Daisy — who used to race Porsches professionally — lived solo on the road in a horse-driven gypsy-style caravan, in all weathers, often camping by the side of the road or in fields. The caravan was fitted with solar panels, WiFi, lighting, a gas stove and a log burner.
Jo Barry, 40
WHEN Jo Barry claimed her second national title of 2018 at the British Dressage summer championships with Gordon Grainger’s Goofy La Perle, it consolidated her comeback from the severe brain injury she sustained in a fall in December 2014.
One of Scotland’s leading riders, and former head girl for Carl Hester, Jo had 14 national titles to her name at the time of the accident. It’s been a long, hard road back, and the effects of the accident still linger; Jo still suffers from weakness and lack of stability on her right side, as well as slight double vision.
“I desperately wanted to get back riding. On a horse was the only time I felt vaguely at home, vaguely like me,” says Jo, whose elementary freestyle title with Goofy at the winter dressage championships in April was her first since the accident.
“Horses gave me the incentive to keep fighting.”
Vote for the Absorbine Inspiration of the Year
The Award winners will be revealed at the H&H Awards dinner on 8 November at Cheltenham Racecourse, to which all those shortlisted will be invited with a guest.