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Lifetime achievement award for Olympic rider with life-changing injuries

Irish showjumper Kevin Babington is among six equestrians to be honoured at an awards ceremony next month.

Kevin will receive the lifetime achievement award at United States luxury lifestyle magazine Robb Report’s Horsepower Gala in a virtual ceremony on 18 February. The gala, which raises funds for and increases awareness of horse abuse, neglect, and slaughter, will feature a live auction with proceeds going to welfare charity Equus Foundation.

Kevin, who represented Ireland on the European, World and Olympic stage, returned to teaching last year after sustaining life-changing injuries in a fall at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in August 2018. He receives the award for his “commitment to safeguarding the dignity of America’s horses”.

“His achievements in international and national showjumping are exemplary. He is also the founder of Babington Mills, a company he created to protect and enhance the wellbeing of horses,” said an awards spokesman.

The other equestrians being honoured are Swedish Olympic showjumper Peder Fredricson, US Olympic showjumper Margie Goldstein Engle, Argentinian polo player Nacho Figueras, Mayisha Akbar, who founded the Compton Junior Posse youth equestrian programme for inner-city Los Angeles children, and US trainers Danny Robertson and Ron Danta.

The spokesman said Peder’s international competitive achievements and passion for horses “distinguish him in the sport” while Mayisha’s work with the Compton Junior Posse had “touched the lives of countless young people by introducing them to the value of community and the healing effect horses can have”.

“Mayisha is an inspiration to so many people, and her dedication to her equine partners sets the gold standard,” he said.

“Nacho’s contributions to polo, both in and out of the saddle, are undeniable. Besides his outstanding sporting achievements, he has tirelessly promoted polo on a global scale. By using his influence to raise money and awareness for charities, he has become an international symbol representing the best of the sport.”

Margie Goldstein is recognised as a “dedicated equestrian and constant inspiration” while Danny and Ron have been an “influential pair”, committed to riding as participants and trainers.

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“In addition to horses, Danny and Ron generously devote time to canine rescue and they have saved more than 12,000 dogs through their namesake organisation, Danny and Ron’s Rescue,” said the spokesman.

Robb Report’s editor-in-chief Paul Croughton added that the company is “delighted” to continue the awards partnership with the Equus Foundation.

“I’m looking forward to our new virtual format to highlight exceptional and inspiring figures within the equestrian community,” he said.

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