The first recipients of the new FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Awards were announced last night at the glittering party to mark the end of the FEI General Assembly in Copenhagen.
The winners were:
Best rider: Show jumper Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum received the best rider accolade. The 39-year-old German rider, has won the last two Rolex FEI World Cup finals on Shutterfly.
Best groom: Michelle Robson, a 25-year-old Australian, won the best groom award. Michelle has worked for Olympic event rider Shane Rose for six years, caring for his competition horses and also working with young racehorses.
Against all odds award: Darlene Milord from Haiti is the very worthy recipient of the against all odds prize. A severely handicapped orphan, Darlene’s love for horses and determination to succeed has led her to perform in Special Olympics events.
HSBC rising star: Known as “one in 1.3 billion” in the Chinese media in the lead-up to last year’s Olympic Games, 19-year-old Alex Hua Tin is China’s first ever international event rider — and the winner of the HSBC rising star award.
Alltech development award: Wendy Gidlow, who owns and manages Heritage Equestrian in South Africa’s Transvaal, receives won this plaudit for her work with children from extremely underprivileged backgrounds, giving them opportunities to become involved with horses.
More than 1,200 were nominated for the five awards — which the FEI says were designed “to reward the fair play, team spirit, inspiration and prowess that equine competition espouses” and celebrate the outstanding achievements of riders from all over the globe.