Equestrian industry celebrates at awards ceremony

  • Commentator Mike Tucker and the British dressage pony team were among those honoured at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) UK Equestrian Awards last week (6 November).

    The awards, which are now in their 26th year, were held in London and celebrated the work of riders, trainers, vets and volunteers in the equestrian industry.

    Mike, who was presenting the awards on the evening, was “surprised and delighted” to receive the AHT special award for his contribution to the sport. He evented internationally for 20 years — including competing at two European Championships and completing Badminton 12 times — and is also a course designer and a famous voice in equestrianism.

    The dressage award went to Britain’s pony team of Rebecca Bell, Alex Hellings, Bethany-Rose Horobin and Phoebe Peters.

    The girls claimed team silver at the FEI European Championships in Millstreet, Ireland in August 2014. All four members scored over 70% to finish on 222.25%, only 3.08% behind Germany.

    The late John Huntridge, an owner and avid supporter of the sport for 35 years, was posthumously named the winner of the eventing award. He died last month aged 95.

    The award was collected by Alex Liddle, rider of John’s Romeo Z, who was part of the British team who won gold at the junior European championships in 2012.

    British showjumping team vet Robrecht Cnockaert took the showjumping award. He has been team vet since 2005 and worked at two Olympics, three World Equestrian Games and four European championships.

    French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek travelled across the channel to collect the racing award for her star filly Treve, who won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second year running in October — the first horse to do so since Alleged in the 1970s.

    The veterinary award went to Dr Pat Harris for her contribution to nutrition over the past 30 years. Dr Harris is a former president of the British Equine Veterinary Association and current director of science at Mars Horsecare.

    Trainer Richard Phillips picked up the voluntary award for his “fantastic contribution to charities, particularly equine, devoting his time to raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for causes across the UK”.

    “The AHT UK Equestrian Awards is the flagship event in our fundraising calendar, raising vital funds for our work fighting disease and injury in animals,” said Chloë Bowler of the AHT.

    “We are thrilled that it has been so well supported yet again. We’d especially like to thank Lady Harris, who has chaired the organising committee during 2014 and helped us reach a record-breaking fundraising total, all other members of the committee and, of course, all our sponsors who make this event possible each year. We are already looking forward to celebrating equestrian excellence in 2015.”

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