‘An unforgettable year’: Olympic champion Ben Maher honoured at London International Horse Show

  • Olympic champion Ben Maher was presented with the British Equestrian Writer Association’s outstanding achievement award at the London International Horse Show, following his success in Tokyo this summer with Explosion W.

    Ben was presented with the award by Rupert Bell on Friday (17 December).

    “I’ve been lucky over the years to have many good horses but the year we’ve had is going to be an unforgettable one and certainly hard to top,” said Ben.

    In a thrilling jump-off during the individual showjumping final in Tokyo in August, Ben and Explosion W were the fourth of six contenders and produced a stunning clear for gold – beating Sweden’s Peder Fredricson with All in, And Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten on Beauville Z, who took silver and bronze respectively.

    Ben said it was a “shame” not to be competing Explosion W at the London International but fans were treated to an appearance from the combination on Friday (17 December) as they took to the arena for a lap of honour.

    ‘He’s had a tough year, Tokyo was obviously a long way to travel and he was in Geneva last week for the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final [where the pair rode to victory], so he doesn’t owe us anything. He is looking forward to a Christmas break,” he said.

    Ben said “it really doesn’t get better” than the 12-year-old gelding.

    “He’s a superstar and he knows he’s good. He likes all the attention and is just a pleasure to work with every day,” he said. “It comes with a bit of pressure because everyone knows he’s really good but he gives you such confidence, he can really do amazing things and it’s things you can’t teach horses to do. We train hard but he’s that natural born athlete that gives him the edge.”

    Ben added it felt “great” to win the outstanding achievement award and thanked his team and sponsors who made it all possible.

    “Hopefully after this weekend we’ll get to celebrate a little bit,” he said.

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