‘I can’t see the feat ever being repeated’: leading equestrian names pinpoint their moment of the decade

  • In the week we invite you to nominate a rider for the Horserail Moment of the Decade Award for this year’s H&H Awards, we asked some of the world’s top riders for a moment that sticks out in their memory from the equine world over the past 10 years.

    Continued below…

    Nominate your Horserail Moment of the Decade Award

    This has been an extraordinary year, with so much changing in the face of Covid-19. But we are thrilled to announce the H&H Awards, again in partnership with NAF, are back, and nominations are now open. One of the categories is the Horserail Moment of the Decade Award. This award is to celebrate a moment that took place in the equestrian world during the past 10 years that captured your imagination and will go down in history, and be referred to time and time again in the future. If there is a moment that you would like to nominate for this award, put them forward here.

    William Whitaker — showjumper

    “Michael Whitaker winning the Aachen grand prix in 2012 is my first choice. Among the riders, Aachen is looked at as a championship in itself, it’s the one everyone wants to win so every rider brings their A-game and their top horse. But in 2012, Michael had been pushing for Olympic team selection and didn’t get it, which is always tough to take, so to come out and produce a result like that must have given him an incredible sense of belief in himself and what he does. It was amazing.

    “Rolf-Goran Bengtssson and Casall ASK winning the Hamburg grand prix in 2017 is my other pick. I was there that year and it was just unbelievable for the 18-year-old stallion to win on what was to be his final appearance — it wasn’t like he produced that result and then said ‘Right, we’ll retire him’, the ceremony was planned for straight after that class, so it really was the fairytale. It wasn’t a given either – he had to come out and jump three big rounds and go all out to win. I’ve always respected Rolf as a rider, but to do that knowing it was his last class showed just how well that combination knew each other.  That horse was probably one of the biggest prize winners in the sport and what a way to end it all.”

    Spencer Wilton — dressage rider

    It’s got to be London 2012 , when Britain won team gold. I’ve been involved in the sport for 25 years and back in those days we weren’t respected on the international scene at all. But so many people were working hard behind the scenes, thinking that one day something really good would happen, and that moment in London was what it was all for. We stamped our authority on the international dressage scene, and it was amazing for the sport, and also for all those people who have been supporting the sport for all these years. Best of all, it was in Britain, and so many of these supporters would have been there in London and been a part of it.

    Graham Fletcher — H&H showjumping columnist

    “Nick Skelton winning gold in Rio, which I’m sure will be a very popular choice! In 2013 in Dublin his back was causing him so much pain that he had to walk the Nations Cup course in a buggy, so if someone had said that man would be winning an Olympic gold medal in 2016, you would not have believed it. Standing on that podium was an unbelievable moment in an unbelievable career.

    “Scott Brash making history to win the Rolex Grand Slam in 2015 is my other pick. It was a phenomenal achievement. The top level of the sport is getting tougher while the margins are getting smaller and there are so many good combinations now, so actually I can’t see the feat ever being repeated.”

    Sam Roberts — showing producer

    “When William Fox-Pitt won Badminton on Chill Morning in 2015. He’s such an iconic rider and Chilli was the first stallion to ever win. My other choice would be everything Enable has achieved. She is one of the greatest racehorses of all time and she is legendary.”

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