Honours for top sport horses of 2004

  • Three of Britain’s most popular sport horses have had their impressive achievements during the past 12 months recognised in the British Equestrian Insurance Brokers (BEIB) Horse of the Year Awards 2004.

    The hugely talented Arko III (pictured) has been crowned the BEIB Show Jumping Horse of the Year, with The Psephologist chosen as the BEIB Event Horse of the Year. The BEIB Dressage Horse of the Year was Escapado.

    Arko III, who is owned by John, Pat and Lisa Hales, enjoyed an outstanding season during 2004. He represented Britain at the Athens Olympics with Nick Skelton and jumped outstandingly well to look on course for an individual medal until the final phase. He also represented Britain on five Nations Cup teams, including jumping a double clear in Dublin, and was placed in a number of grand prix. This bay Oldenburg stallion has captured the hearts and minds of the British crowds, who turned out in droves to see him in action during 2004.

    The Psephologist, ridden by Bumble Thomas and owned by Prof Colin Rallings and Ricenda Broad, is the only BEIB Horse of the Year who did not represent Britain in Athens, but his consistent four-star performances have proven he is no less worthy of this prestigious award than his Olympic companions. One of the three reserve choices for the Olympics, The Psephologist has had a fantastic season at the highest level including third place at Badminton and second at Burghley.

    Carl Hester’s talented but sometimes difficult partner Escapado (pictured right), who is jointly owned by Roly Luard and Carl, carried away the BEIB Dressage Horse of the Year title after producing the best ever score of a British dressage horse at the Olympic Games. Since returning from Athens, Escapado has continued to grow in confidence and maturity. He crowned his successful year by winning his first World Cup Qualifier in December and looks on form to qualify for the World Cup Final in Las Vegas.

    BEIB initially launched its Event Horse of the Year Award in 1997, and the concept was joined, in 1999, by awards for the top show jumper and dressage horse. The awards celebrate horses that have excelled in their discipline, and recognise their owners, as well as their riders, to highlight the important contribution of the owner in equestrian sports.

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