Show organisers Grandstand present the award every year; past recipients include Robert Oliver, Charlotte Dujardin and Richard Davison.
“This year’s no exception,” said HOYS showing commentator Carey Knox. “But this year is doubly special as we are presenting it to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
Carey welcomed into the ring some of The Queen’s horses and ponies who had enjoyed success at HOYS. The great Barbers Shop, who went from racing to be supreme ridden champion at Royal Windsor Horse Show, and qualified for HOYS five years running, came in under his long-term partner Katie Jerram-Hunnable. He was given to Katie’s mother Jill Jerram when he retired.
Balmoral Erica, a 15-year-old mare who has taken part in three pageants at Royal Windsor, came third in the Cuddy in-hand final at HOYS and was champion at the Royal International Horse Show under saddle, came in with Lizzie Finlayson-Briant. She was joined by former Royal Windsor mountain and moorland champion Balmoral Leia, with Henry Hird, 2022 small riding horse contender Fools Paradise, with Chris Hunnable, and skewbald gelding Sunbeam, who competed in today’s coloured classes, handled by Katie’s son Oliver Moore.
The award was accepted by Crown Equerry Colonel Toby Browne, head of the Royal Mews, with current mews grooms Brandon Heaton and Charlotte Watson, and former groom Alice Watson, along with The Queen’s great-granddaughters Savannah and Isla Phillips.
“As an extraordinary person who led an extraordinary life, The Queen gave so much to the equestrian community,” a spokesman for HOYS organisers Grandstand said.
“It is for this reason that Horse of the Year Show felt that this award with a special place in the prominence of the event would be no better attributed to a devoted horsewoman – Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
As Stephanie Hill sang I Vow to Thee My Country, photographs of The Queen’s life with horses, from childhood into her 90s, were displayed on the big screen.
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