Charlotte Dujardin is taking the sport world by storm — she’s already won the Sunday Times/Sky Sports sportswoman of the year and BT Sport action woman awards in the past couple of weeks, and now she’s up for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award.
Tonight (Sunday 14 December) she will be up against nine other top athletes competing for the prestigious title.
She’s the first dressage rider ever to be nominated, and if she wins will join an elite league of just four riders to have been crowned SPOTY.
But to get her there, she needs to win the public vote.
“We are urging the equestrian community to get behind her and show their support as they did for Zara Phillips and AP McCoy to put equestrianism on the sporting map,” said a spokesman for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).
“Charlotte’s success has undoubtedly raised the profile of dressage; the sport is on a rising curve, not just at the top level but from the grassroots up. British Dressage membership is also on the up with an eight per cent increase since 2012.”
Just the nomination is a boost for dressage.
“We know that the Olympics brought a whole different audience to the sport, but this will once again give dressage the chance to jump into another league. Just the fact that she’s been nominated gives the public a chance to see what a beautiful sport it is,” Carl Hester told H&H.
“It’s a fantastic Christmas present not only for Charlotte, but for dressage as a whole — Valegro is not just a horse, he’s a celebrity now. There are so many successful athletes and the fact she’s up there is proof that the sport is growing.”
In 2010 record-breaking champion National Hunt jockey AP McCoy won a landslide vote to be named Sports Personality of the Year. It was the year he finally conquered the Grand National and the equestrian and racing world rallied together, with AP receiving 42% of the vote.
AP described winning the public vote as an “unbelievable feeling” and “very surreal”.
AP was the first jockey to take the title since the award’s inception in 1954 and joins three other equestrians who have previously won — showjumper David Broome in 1960, and eventers Princess Anne in 1971 and Zara Phillips in 2006.
The industry really got behind McCoy — let’s see if we can do the same for Charlotte.
How to vote
To vote online for free you’ll need a BBC iD. If you haven’t already done so, you can register here: www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/sports-personality/
You can cast your vote for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014 by phone or for free online.
Voting will open during the show, broadcast on BBC One, 5 live and on the BBC Sport website, on Sunday 14 December.
Details of the phone numbers will be released during the show.
See who has got behind the campaign for Charlotte
More from H&H…
H&H's dressage editor urges H&H fans to get behind Charlotte Dujardin following her nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the
Equestrianism at SPOTY
Previous equestrian winners
> 1960 David Broome
> 1971 Princess Anne
> 2006 Zara Phillips
> 2010 AP McCoy
Three third places
> 1996 Frankie Dettori
> 2002 and 2013 AP McCoy
Special achievement award
>1984 and 1994 Lester Piggott
The Helen Rollason award
>2012 Grand National winning jockey Bob Champion, who has raised more than £12m for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, received the Helen Rollason award, which recognises “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity”.
> 1970 Nijinsky and his connections
> 1972 Team GBR’s eventers
> 1979 and 1984 GBR showjumping team
> 1981 Bob Champion and Aldaniti