There is no doubt that since 2011 some incredible horses have graced the Earth. And in the week we invite you to nominate a horse for the SEIB Horse of the Decade for this year’s H&H Awards, we asked some members of the Horse & Hound team to pick their standout equines of the past 10 years.
Nominate your SEIB Horse 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 SEIB Horse of the Decade Award. This award is to celebrate the equine heroes of the past decade (2011–2020), the horses who have been at the top of their game and a pure joy to watch. If there is a horse that you would like to nominate for this award, put them forward here.
Pippa Roome — H&H magazine editor and eventing editor
“Chilli Morning (pictured above) would be my first pick. He’s in our minds because he’s recently died, but he is the most consistent performer in British eventing championship teams over the past decade, with World and European individual bronze medals to his name, plus a World team silver medal too. In addition, he’s the only stallion to have won Badminton.
“Is it awful to say a non-eventing one and say Valegro for the second? I was lucky enough to watch him every day winning his second individual gold at Rio and his dominance of dressage during this decade, as well as his huge role in making dressage more popular in Britain, makes him a clear favourite for me.
“La Biosthetique-Sam FBW (pictured above) is another. He might not be the most popular in this country, but he deserves consideration for his absolute superiority in eventing this decade — winning two Olympic golds (as well as team gold and silver) as well as European individual gold (2011, plus team gold that year), World individual gold (2010, so just outside the decade parameters!) and victories at Badminton and Burghley.”
Jennifer Donald — H&H showjumping editor
“Nick Skelton described the Widdowsons’ phenomenal stallion Big Star (pictured above) as ‘the best I’ve ever ridden’ and he was, quite simply, a winning machine. He will perhaps be best remembered for winning Olympic gold in Rio, as well as helping Great Britain win team gold in London, but Big Star was amassing silverware right from the start, with some of his greatest successes coming in Aachen, Rome and Hamburg. He was a huge character, too, announcing his arrival in the ring with a distinctive neigh. Few horses show such limitless scope, great attitude and immense speed — he is without doubt one of the greatest horses we’ve ever seen.
“In a surprisingly short space of time, Ben Maher’s quality chestnut Explosion W (pictured above) has blasted into the top tier of the sport to dominate as perhaps the best in the world right now, which is contriubtes to him being my other pick. Ben describes the 12-year-old as “a natural born winner” and an “over-achiever”, boasting a high cruising speed, breathtaking power and athleticism, with impressive consistency over 1.60m tracks. Like all the true great horses he’s a real character too, he loves attention and always has a trick up his sleeve. One of the greatest successes came in the 2019 LGCT super grand prix, but in just two years he’s won a raft of grands prix including New York, London, Rome and Madrid, as well as individual silver and team bronze at the 2019 European championships. He’s a phenomenon”
Polly Bryan — H&H dressage editor
“Valegro lifted British dressage into a completely different league over the past 10 years, leading the way to the nation’s first dressage gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics (pictured above), and becoming double Olympic champion with Charlotte Dujardin. Along the way ‘Blueberry’ broke every world record — and still holds them — and was also twice World Cup champion.
“Mistral Hojris (pictured above) is my other pick. Leading British dressage horse in the years leading up to Valegro’s reign, Mistral Hojris was a stalwart of championships teams at the turn of the decade, under Laura Bechtolsheimer (now Tomlinson). She and ‘Alf’ won team gold at the 2011 Europeans, as well as individual bronze, then repeated this feat at the London Olympics in 2012, making Alf the only British dressage horse aside from Valegro to win an individual Olympic medal in the past decade.”
Hannah Lemieux — H&H racing editor
“The Oliver Sherwood-trained and Trevor Hemmings-owned Many Clouds was a National Hunt gem throughout the past decade, winning 12 of his 27 starts with true grit and determination.
“Having made his racecourse debut in 2012, Many Clouds’ first big win came in the 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup. At the start of 2015, he won Cheltenham’s Gold Cup trial before finishing sixth in the big race at the Festival. That season, he triumphed in steeplechasing’s blue riband, the Grand National, under his regular jockey Leighton Aspell — winning by 1¾ lengths (pictured above).
“In 2017, Many Clouds collapsed and died, aged 10, after beating Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham – the pair had battled it out up the famous hill at Prestbury Park.”
“I always said he’d run through a brick wall for you and he did winning that race,” Oliver told ITV4 afterwards. “He’s a horse of a lifetime.”
“The Trevor Hemmings-owned son of Cloudings amassed a total earnings of £928,000.”
“Considered one of the world’s greatest racehorses throughout history, Frankel was unstoppable in his 14 career starts, winning each one to remain unbeaten on the Flat, amking him another obvious choice for me.
“Frankel made his racecourse debut in 2010. His impressive 10 Group One victories included triumphs in the 2000 Guineas in 2011, the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes and Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. His winning finale came in the Champion Stakes on Champions Day, under his regular jockey Tom Queally.
“The son of Galileo retired from racing in 2012 and went to stand at stud, where he has been busy with his stallion duties.
“He was trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil (pictured with Frankel above), who said at the time: ‘I can’t believe in the history of racing there’s ever been a better racehorse – I’ve enjoyed every moment of training him.’
“His total earnings added up to an eye-watering £2,998,302.”
Alex Robinson — H&H showing editor
“Our Cashel Blue (pictured above) is an obvious one but a legendary cob ridden by Allister Hood who made a comeback from cancer last year to stand supreme at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) and also win the cob championship at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). He was also supreme at HOYS in 2016.
“Pearly King is my other pick. Sarah Carey’s ultra consistent hack who has won at the RIHS and HOYS countless times. He was supreme at HOYS in 2012 with Simon Charlesworth and supreme at the RIHS in 2013. His last HOYS victory was in 2018 when he won with his owner Sarah on board (pictured above).”
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