Olympic and Paralympic riders honoured at Animal Health Trust awards

Olympic and Paralympic riders were honoured at the annual Animal Health Trust equestrian awards last week (1 November).

More than 400 people were present at the ceremony in London, which celebrated the achievements of British riders at this year’s Games.

Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, Zara Phillips, Nicola Wilson, Mary King, Natasha Baker and Sophie Christiansen, as well as owners and trainers were all present to collect awards.

Games makers were also recognised for their efforts, as the SEIB Voluntary Service Award was given to all of the dedicated volunteers. It was collected by Sarah Phillips from British Riding Clubs on behalf of all the Games Makers.

The Vion Foods dressage award went to the Olympic Gold Medal Team of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin and the Paralympic gold medal winners [Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen, Debbie Criddle, Sophie Wells].

The Jacksons (CI) eventing award went to the Team GB silver medallists Mary King, William Fox-Pitt, Zara Phillips, Tina Cook and Nicola Wilson.

The British Showjumping award went to gold medal winners Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Peter Charles and Scott Brash.

Unbeaten superstar Frankel won the Betsi racing award.

The PetPlan Equine vet of the year was Keith Chandler, a senior partner at Kessock Equine Vets in Inverness and this year’s president of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), for his “personal dedication, knowledge, pragmatic and caring approach and his practice’s outstanding customer service”.

And the Animal Health Trust Special award went to Lord Harris of Peckham [owner of Scott Brash’s Olympic ride Hello Sanctos] to celebrate a lifetime of outstanding achievement and contribution to equestrianism.

Desi Dillingham, chair of the equestrian awards organising committee, said: “The Equestrian Awards is a fantastic showcase of the equestrian talent in the UK. 2012 hasbeen a wonderful year for our equestrian sports and the awards really do celebrate all of the incredible achievements”.

“With so manyoutstanding performances throughout London 2012 to celebrate, the awards evening could have spanned a month and we still wouldn’t have enough time to give everyone their due credit! We really are so proud of our equestrian athletes and it’s a privilege to honour them in this way.

“We’re also particularly grateful to all those who sponsored either an award or part of the evening and helped us raise vital funds which will enable the AHT to continue its very important work.”