Carl was presented with the award by Rupert Bell following the World Cup qualifier, a class won by Charlotte Dujardin and Gio, on Friday (17 December).
Carl said receiving the accolade was “such an honour”.
“It was a surprise, although I did suspect a rat this afternoon as I don’t own Gio and when I was told I had to be in the ring I thought ‘something else is going on, I can feel it’,” said Carl.
“To have this is fantastic. I’ve been to the BEWA awards; they’re fun and at the end of the day they’re the people who put you out there and write the stories. They’re the people that make what you do interesting, so it’s great they’ve thought about me.”
Carl made his Olympic debut with Georgiono at the 1992 Barcelona Games. He rode Exquis Escapada at the 2004 Games in Athens, and was part of Britain’s gold medal-winning team at London 2012 with Uthopia. He helped the team to silver at Rio in 2016 on Nip Tuck, and this year joined Charlotte Dujardin and Lottie Fry in Tokyo to take team bronze, with En Vogue.
Carl has won three team medals at World Equestrian Games, seven European medals including team gold in Rotterdam in 2011, and was third in the 2017 World Cup. He is also a renowned trainer, and mentor to Charlotte Dujardin.
On the Olympics, Carl said it is “not for him to say”’ whether he will be at Paris 2024.
“It’s for me to get on the team, and it’s not about picking the people who you think deserve to go. We have to prove ourselves, we have to get the scores and you have to be in the top three and that’s how you work your way on to a team,” he said.
“I still have to be in the top three and I can’t just get there because I’ve done six Olympics, I get there because I’m in the top lot.”
Carl was raised on the Channel Island Sark and moved to mainland Britain aged 16 to work at the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy in Dorset. Asked if he could believe a boy from Sark had now won a lifetime achievement award in his chosen sport, Carl said: “No, and they won’t believe it either. Each time something like this happens I always get goodwill from the island. I’m still very much a part of the island, my post box is still there and that makes me always feel a part of Sark.
“My dad and some of my family are still there and they still remember and talk about me riding the donkeys there bareback. I didn’t ride in the saddle until I was well into my teens. For them they’re all part of the journey and we’re all enjoying it.”
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