‘I wouldn’t change a minute of my journey’: Allister Hood wins 2021 Horse & Hound lifetime achievement award

  • The legendary showman Allister Hood was awarded the Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award at the star-studded H&H Awards held at Cheltenham Racecourse.

    The glittering ceremony welcomed some of equestrian sport’s most famous faces, and the lifetime achievement presentation concluded a fantastic celebration of some of the industry’s best.

    After landing the British Horse Society ridden horse supreme accolade at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) back in July, Allister retired from the sport he has dominated for so many years, bowing out alongside his cob of a lifetime, Our Cashel Blue.

    Allister was joined at the awards evening by his family, including his wife, Anne, and his son, Oliver, who continues the Hood’s showing legacy.

    Norfolk-based supremo Allister has won countless accolades at all major showing championships, including three supremes at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). Allister first triumphed at HOYS in the 1975 hunter of the year championship and as a team, the Hoods have produced more than 75 HOYS winners.

    Allister spent his early days in the saddle as a member of the Middleton Hunt branch of the Pony Club Prince Philip Cup team.

    In 1981, Allister netted his first RIHS supreme title with the hack Brown Buzzard and he went onto win the prestigious championship eight more times during his career.

    In 2017 Allister achieved a rare double at Hickstead, securing a supreme one-two with riding horse Diamonds Are Forever and Our Cashel Blue, respectively.

    Allister has also proved himself to be the ultimate comeback king, making a winning return to the sport after suffering from a heart attack in 2018.

    “I’ve ridden so many nice horses over my career that I couldn’t just choose one as my favourite though [Our Cashel] Blue has to be a highlight,” said Allister as he was presented with his award. “We’ve both returned to the show ring after health scares — Blue was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 — and repeated our successes. I remember when Blue was a novice; I went into the house after riding him one day and said to my wife Anne: ‘I think he’s one of the best we’ve ever had, but we might never get him into the ring’.”

    The audience rose to their feet as Allister was presented with his accolade.

    “I’ve had a hell of a lot of successes with my horses, as well as heartache,” added Allister, reflecting on his career. “Winning HOYS for the first time was something I’d always dreamt of and was determined to do from the start. When you work with horses you get up in foul weather and get the job done no matter what.”

    Awards presenter John Kyle asked Allister: “Would you change a moment of it all?”

    Allister replied: “Not a minute.”

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