Category Archives: Awards

HH Prince Faissal Honoured with FEI Lifetime Achievement Award

HH Prince Faissal bin Abdullah Al-Saud (KSA) presented with the FEI Lifetime Achievement Award by FEI President Ingmar De Vos. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Lausanne (SUI), 11 April 2017 – HH Prince Faissal bin Abdullah Al-Saud (KSA) was presented with the FEI Lifetime Achievement Award by FEI President Ingmar De Vos at a special ceremony in Lausanne (SUI).

The ceremony, held in recognition of Prince Faissal’s lifelong services to equestrian sport, was attended by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and over 300 delegates of the FEI Sports Forum 2017.

“This is a humbling gesture from the FEI, which represents one of the most passionate and exciting sports in the world,” HH Prince Faissal said.

“Although this is a personal award, I feel this recognises the work of everyone in the equestrian community. We work together, we sacrifice our time and efforts in the name of this sport that we all love so much – and because of this, our sport is flourishing.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became the first recipient of the FEI Lifetime Achievement award in 2014 in recognition of her leading role as supporter of equestrian sport throughout her reign as British monarch. The award was presented to Her Majesty by former FEI President HRH Princess Haya at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace.

President Bach, who visited FEI headquarters in the countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said following the ceremony: “Equestrian sport celebrated 104 years in the Olympic Movement at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Like many Olympic sports, the success of equestrian is driven by highly committed volunteers and by a strong and dedicated community. Tonight, we are celebrating everyone involved around the world in promoting equestrian and its values.”

Equestrian spirit

The life of Prince Faissal has been intrinsically linked with horses since he started riding as a child. His passion for equestrian sport really took off when got his first horse at the age of 14, and continued while he studied for his Masters in Industrial Engineering at Stanford University (USA), where he bought his first Arabian stallion.

Prince Faissal went on to create the Saudi Equestrian Federation in 1990, and it took just six years for Saudi Arabia’s Jumping athletes to make their Olympic debut in Atlanta 1996.

At the next Games in Sydney, Saudi Arabia won its first Olympic equestrian medal when Khaled Al Eid rode Khashm al-Aan to individual Jumping bronze. History was then made once again at London 2012, when Saudi Arabia won its first team Jumping bronze medal.

In 2010, Dalma Rushdi Malhas became the first Saudi female athlete to compete at Olympic level when she claimed individual bronze at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore with Flash Top Hat. And the same year, Abdullah Al Sharbatly won individual silver with Seldana Di Campalto at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Lexington, Kentucky (USA).

Prince Faissal also left a lasting legacy for the FEI as a Bureau member (1991-1999), Chair of FEI Group VII (1991-1999) and FEI Children’s Committee Member (1995-2002).

As chairman of the Saudi Equestrian Fund, he also supported the creation of a valuable legacy for the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping, giving the FEI the opportunity to modernise and globalise the series, which was created in 1909. This year, a record 50 nations are taking part across 19 countries.

“Prince Faissal’s entire life has been dedicated to horses and promoting equestrian sport. He has made an incredible impact as we see our sport continuing to grow rapidly around the world,” Ingmar De Vos said. “Tonight, we are here to celebrate his loyalty and his long lasting contribution to future generations of equestrians.

“The global equestrian community is a very special one, pulling together to make big steps. We are taking the opportunity here tonight to say thank you to Prince Faissal and also to our equestrian family during these exciting times for our sport.”

About the FEI Lifetime Achievement Award

The FEI Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Prince Faissal is a bronze of a series of horses jumping, specially crafted by sculptor Ronny Paesbrugghe entitled Horses in Motion. The plaque includes the interlinked horseshoe insignia of the FEI Awards, which were launched in 2009 to reward excellence, commitment, dedication and courage (see past winners: www.feiawards.org).

The FEI Lifetime Achievement award was created by HRH Princess Haya in 2014, her final year as FEI President, to acknowledge an individual who has inspired generations across the global equestrian community. Recipients of this award are recommended by the FEI Executive Board.

FEI Media Contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

USET Foundation Presents 2017 Maxine Beard Award to Catherine Tyree and Chloe Reid

Catherine Tyree and Bokai represented Team USA in the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival.

Wellington, Fla. – March 25, 2017 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce that this year’s recipients of the prestigious Maxine Beard Award are Catherine Tyree and Chloe Reid. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C., Tyree and Reid will be adding this award to their already impressive lists of show jumping accomplishments.

The Maxine Beard Award is presented annually to young riders who have proven their talents in the sport of show jumping and also show great potential to represent the USA in Nations Cup competitions and international championships in the future. Both Tyree and Reid recently represented Team USA in the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* during Week Eight of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

After a fall in January 2016, which left the young rider sidelined for six months due to a foot injury, Tyree, 23 years old and a senior at Northwestern University, came back stronger than ever, consistently proving herself among some of the world’s top riders.

Trained by John Brennan and Missy Clark of North Run, Tyree wrapped up 2016 collecting victories at some of the most esteemed horse shows across the country including the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix at the Vermont Summer Festival and the $86,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* at the American Gold Cup. Tyree also kicked off the 2017 WEF season strong, placing third in the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix in addition to claiming the Leading Lady Rider title during Week One as well as placing third in the $380,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI5* during Week Five, both aboard Bokai, Tyree’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding.

“I’m very humbled and honored to be receiving this award this year,” said Tyree. “Looking back at the list of prior recipients, it’s not only a lot of people I consider my peers but also a lot of people that I look up to. To be recognized as someone who could potentially have the same career path, results or just riding capabilities as them is something that is really special for me. I’m very excited to be getting this award.

“I jumped my first Nations Cup in Wellington a few weeks ago and that went as well as I could’ve hoped,” continued Tyree. “As I keep working and doing what I’m doing, hopefully I’ll get more opportunities to represent my country in the future.”

At only 20 years old, Reid spends the summer training and showing in Germany under the tutelage of Markus and Meredith Beerbaum. In the spring, she heads to south Florida to attend school at the University of Miami and to compete at WEF in Wellington, Florida.

Chloe Reid and Codarco competing in the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4* at WEF

Presently, Reid has a string of five top horses, but her most seasoned partners are Codarco, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion, and TNT Explosive, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding.

Some of Reid’s many successes in 2016 include being chosen to represent the United States on the Nations Cup team in Samorin, Slovakia aboard TNT Explosive. Reid also piloted Codarco to a third place finish in a CSI3* grand prix and a top ten finish in a CSI5* grand prix in Wellington. Looking ahead, Reid says she will return to Germany upon completion of her spring semester at the University of Miami to continue her training with the Beerbaums. Her ultimate goal during the summer is to make it onto more Nations Cup teams and represent the United States.

“It’s an extreme honor to be chosen by the USET Foundation [for the Maxine Beard Award],” said Reid. “It’s even more special to be receiving it alongside one of my really close friends, Catherine Tyree.

“It’s always been a huge goal of mine to be able to represent my country,” continued Reid. “To be able to do that, in any form, especially to be on a Nations Cup team, is always the highest honor. My goal this summer is to try to be on a couple of other Nations Cup teams if I can. In the long term, I would love to represent my country at Aachen and in future championships.”

Tyree and Reid were recognized and honored as the 2017 Maxine Beard Award recipients in the International Arena prior to the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* on Saturday, March 25, during Week Eleven of WEF. Presenting the award was USET Foundation President and CEO Jim McNerney, Vice President Bill Weeks and Treasurer Philip E. Richter alongside Linda Hough representing the Beard family.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Ann Romney Honored with Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award at AGDF

Ann Romney, riding her Dalhems Diomedes, with Dr. Cesar Parra (left) of Piaffe Performance, Katie Riley (center) of Piaffe Performance, and Romney’s trainer Jan Ebeling (right) at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Photo courtesy JRPR)

Wellington, FL (March 12, 2017) – As an enthusiastic supporter of the sport of dressage and an annual sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Piaffe Performance was delighted to honor dressage rider Ann Romney with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award at the Wellington, Florida show series. The award is presented to select adult amateurs who show a sincere and unyielding passion for the sport, and who have persisted to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their equestrian goals. The extraordinary Ann Romney, who juggles her role as a horsewoman, mother, grandmother, avid philanthropist, and former first lady of Massachusetts, accepted the award from Dr. Cesar Parra, owner of Piaffe Performance.

Riding her brand new horse, Dalhems Diomedes, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Belissimo M x Ferusa, Flemmingh), Romney earned first place in one Prix St. Georges class and second place in another in the national/amateur division of the 2017 Palm Beach Derby at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Romney said she didn’t think she would be taking Dalhems Diomedes into the show ring so soon, but she and her new horse have bonded remarkably quickly. “It was only our second time down the centerline together. He is just doing so well and seems to be really comfortable with me,” she enthused. “He is by Belissimo, and they are known for their really good brains, and he sure has one. He was the first horse I tried in Germany and I just fell in love with him.”

The story behind Romney’s path to the world of dressage is truly a remarkable one. After she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, Romney became determined not to let her battle with the debilitating disease keep her from achieving her goals of becoming a rider. Despite considerable physical difficulty, Romney fought her way into the saddle day after day, and eventually found a renewed sense of peace and replenishment in riding. Not surprisingly, working with horses continues to keep the disease at bay, and Romney maintains that working with horses was just the medicine she needed.

After riding with dressage Olympian and trainer Jan Ebeling in clinics, she was struck with the beauty of dressage and began learning from Ebeling as often as possible. Romney not only became a successful rider herself, but also became a sponsor of Ebeling’s international riding dreams. He rode on the U.S. dressage team at the 2012 Olympics in London on her mare, Rafalca.

Romney’s tenacious spirit and strong sense of fortitude stem from a deep and unwavering perspective of gratitude. “For people who have a need of nurturing – either emotionally or physically – that is always the best thing you can do, to get on the back of a horse. They bring you joy, they help you heal, and they give you such excitement – it’s just the sense of pure love that they emanate. As soon as I put my foot in the stirrup, all my cares dissolve. I always come back to this – it just nurtures me, it feeds my soul.”

In addition to maintaining an active riding career, Romney also finds time and energy to devote to her family and political life, having been an active participant in her husband’s U.S. presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, when he was the Republican Party nominee. Romney is also a committed philanthropist, championing The Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The center of 250 scientists focuses on research into Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors.

Given her outstanding character and dedication to the equestrian life, Romney was a perfect fit for the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award, which is presented at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival throughout the duration of the winter competition season. Dr. Cesar Parra, who presents riders like Romney with this honor, has represented the United States in the 2011 Pan American Games, where he helped secure a team gold medal. He was also on the U.S. team at the 2014 World Cup in Lyon, France. In addition to sponsoring the Wellington winter show season, Parra also campaigns his top horses throughout the competition. Piaffe Performance provides full-service training based on classical German methods at locations in Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. To learn more about Parra, his Piaffe Performance team, training, and lessons, visit www.Piaffe-Performance.com or find them on Facebook @PiaffePerformance.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
www.piaffe-performance.com

A Fabulous February for the Piaffe Performance Team

Cesar Parra presenting the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award to Michele Roark and her horse Cesar HHC. (Photo courtesy JRPR)

Wellington, FL (March 3, 2017) — February was full of exciting events for Dr. Cesar Parra and his elite team at Piaffe Performance Farms, who have been winning top scores and giving out awards at the world-class Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.

In week 7 of the competition, Dr. Parra earned two scores above 80 percent on Don Cesar, a Westphalian gelding by Desperados x Manhattan. Together, the pair won all three FEI Young Horse classes for 7-year-olds. Dr. Parra and his wife Marcela have a special affection for Don Cesar, having known the horse since he was born and owned him since he was a 3-year-old. Their goal for this stunning chestnut is to qualify for the 2017 World Young Horse Championships in Ermelo, the Netherlands later this year.

“Don Cesar has matured a lot in the last year,” says Parra. “His gaits are getting even more expressive and elastic, and he is more confident in his job. He has so much talent for collection, while keeping the suppleness and thoroughness in the back; it is amazing. He is powerful and sensitive, but always is trying to do what you want. He is a fast learner and very reliable. He always stays on your side, and he loves all the collected movements.”

Another promising Piaffe-Performance favorite is Belle Ami, an 8-year-old Westphalian mare (Belissimo M x Reebook) owned by Parra, Brooke Centrella and George Feldman. Belle Ami had an outstanding February at AGDF winning one of the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges classes with 74.411 percent and placing second in another with 73.456.

Through the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award, Parra also honors exceptional adult amateur riders who compete at the upper levels of the sport and are role models, showing particular dedication and skillful riding. In February, the award was given to two riders: Michele Roark and Helle Goodrich. Both women received a ribbon, a commemorative engraved photo frame and a medallion.

Michelle Roark, a U.S. Dressage Federation bronze medalist from Wellington and Chicago, rides her Cesar HHC, a gorgeous 10-year-old grey Lusitano gelding, at Prix St. Georges. “This horse was bred for me,” Roark remarked on Cesar HHC. “My favorite thing about him is his mind. He has the best mind. He’s the horse of a lifetime.” Roark has been riding for about 10 years and is devoted to the Lusitano breed. “My advice,” she says, “is do not quit. Come out every day, give your horse the benefit of the doubt, be kind to him and realize that each horse will teach you something.”

Helle Goodrich trains with top dressage professional Silva Martin in the winter and is riding her Fürst Rubin, a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding recently imported from England. This was only their fourth show together, but the pair had an outstanding day, scoring 70 percent at Third Level. “He is fantastic to ride and very patient with me,” says Goodrich, smiling and full of emotion. “My horse just gives me joy every day!” She says her goal is to have a lot of fun and keep improving and hopefully climb the levels.

Piaffe Performance will continue to give out the award for the duration of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, which runs through April 2, 2017. Dr. Cesar Parra is an Olympian and U.S. Pan American Games Team Gold Medalist who has also represented the U.S. in the 2014 World Cup in Lyon, France.

Piaffe-Performance Farms provides full-service dressage training based on classical German methods. Dr. Parra and his team, with locations in Jupiter, Florida, and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, invite dressage riders to become part of their winning tradition. To learn more about Parra, his Piaffe Performance team, training and lessons, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
www.piaffe-performance.com

Mighty Nice and Catch Me Win 2016 Horse of the Year Titles

Lexington, Ky. – On a night dedicated to the horse, two special athletes were recognized for their excellence in 2016 during the USEF’s Horse of the Year Awards Gala. Mighty Nice and Catch Me reached the pinnacle of their sports and were named International and National Horse of the Year, respectively. Voting was open to the public through January and both horses, already fan favorites, were rewarded for their tremendous results throughout 2016 with support from voters.

International Horse of the Year

Mighty Nice (Ard Ohio x Sarazen/Unknown)
2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding
Owner: HnD Group

Mighty Nice, known as “Happy,” was previously owned by the late Bruce Duchossois. After he passed away, a group of Duchossois’ friends came together to support Happy and formed the HnD Group, named after his HnD Farm. In 2016, Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice earned fourth-place finishes in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover CCI4* and The Fork CIC3*. The pair’s highlight of the year was earning the eventing Individual Bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

National Horse of the Year

Catch Me (Casiro x Wonnie/Chagallo)
2007 Holsteiner gelding
Owners: David and Becky Gochman

Catch Me, or “Snoopy,” owned by David and Becky Gochman, was purchased from Lisa Cudahey, where he was trained by Cookie Beck and Crystal Knight, in 2015. That summer, he was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called botulism, which almost ended his life. After making a full recovery, Snoopy went on to end the 2015 show season with multiple champion and reserve champion wins at the major indoor championships. In 2016, he continued his winning ways with Scott Stewart aboard in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division. He also won the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, which was a first for Stewart as well. Snoopy concluded his show season in a dominating fashion when he was Champion at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show, and CP National Horse Show.

© 2017 US Equestrian Federation

Dutton Wins USEF Equestrian of the Year Title at 2017 Pegasus Awards

Lexington, Ky. – To close out a year of milestones, Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) was awarded the Robert P. Strub Trophy as the 2016 USEF Equestrian of the Year at the USEF Pegasus Awards Dinner.

In 2016, Dutton began the year by receiving the prestigious Whitney Stone Cup from the USET Foundation. His competition season began with a win in the CIC3* with Fernhill Fugitive at the Red Hills International Horse Trials. Dutton then placed fourth and fifth in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover CCI4* with Mighty Nice and Fernhill Cubalawn, respectively. He partnered with Fernhill Fugitive again to win Team Gold in the FEI Nations Cup™ CICO3* at the Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan®. With Mighty Nice, Dutton was a member of the U.S. Eventing Team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he won an Individual Bronze medal.

Nine equestrians were recognized for their competitive achievements in 2016 and honored with the following trophies:

Becky Grand Hart Trophy – Stefanie Putnam
Norman K. Dunn Trophy – Ted Carson
C. J. “June” Cronan Trophy – Joel Kiesner
Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy – Lou Roper
Bill Robison Trophy – Gail Aumiller
Vaughan Smith Trophy – Cynthia Burkman
William C. Steinkraus Trophy – Phillip Dutton and Laura Graves
Emerson Burr Trophy – Hunt Tosh

Additionally, Lawrence “Larry” Langer, who has been part of the horse industry for 66 years, from starting lessons as a child to his induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, was honored for his devotion to equestrian sport with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Visit USEF Network to see the video honoring Langer at the USEF Pegasus Awards Dinner.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Traband received the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2016 Junior Equestrian of the Year for her honor, courage, dedication, and sportsmanship.

The following equestrians were also honored for their service to the sport with many of the most prestigious awards bestowed annually:

USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award – Suzy Marquard of GallopNYC
Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award – Sherry Cole
Richard E. McDevitt Award of Merit – William Becker, Roger Haller, and Parry Thomas
Pegasus Medal of Honor – Fran Crumpler and Kelly Valdes
Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders Award – Mary Gaylord McClean and Spy Coast Farm
Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy – Chrystine Tauber

© 2017 US Equestrian Federation

Vote for Para-Driver Stefanie Putnam for USEF Annual Equestrian of Honor Awards

Photo by Marie de Ronde-Oudemans.

Para-Equestrian Driver Stefanie Putnam has been named as a 2016 USEF semi-finalist for the Becky Grand Hart award.  Now there will be a vote by the general public over the next three weeks to choose a finalist who embodies the sportsmanship and dedication to the principles, vision, and mission of the United States Equestrian Federation.

Please cast your vote for Stefanie today! You do not need to be a member of USEF to vote.  See below for how to vote.

About Stefanie Putnam of West Lafayette, Calif.

Stefanie Putnam has been working towards accomplishing her international dreams for five years and on August 6, 2016 she did just that as the sole U.S. representative at the 2016 FEI World Para-Driving Championships in Beesd, The Netherlands. In her international debut, Stefanie achieved a remarkable individual fifth-place finish in the Grade I division, which included a third-place finish in the cones phase.

The key to her success is the magical connection she has established with her black Morgan gelding, Bethesda After Dark (“Shadow”). Paralyzed from the chest down in 2009 at the age of 24 in a non-horse-related accident, Stefanie began exploring carriage driving in 2010 as an alternative to jumping, which had been her lifeblood. In 2012, “Shadow” came into Stefanie’s life, launching her far beyond the confines of her wheelchair and opening up the adrenaline rush world of combined driving where she began to shine. Stefanie, who has minimal feeling from her chest down and drives from cuffs around her wrists, likes to say that it is as though she is driving Shadow from her heart rather than her hands.

Stefanie has thrived through her involvement with carriage driving, winning the prestigious America Driving Society’s President’s Award in 2016 and is a spokesperson for United States Driving for the Disabled.

HOW TO VOTE:

  1. Click on https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/eoty/Default.aspx?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EOTY%20Voting%20Email%20(1)&utm_content=
  2. Enter EMAIL ADDRESS and CONTINUE.
  3. In the bottom left, select a FIRST CHOICE, then a second and third. Press SUBMIT.
  4. LOG ON TO YOUR EMAIL ID. See the email titled:  “USEF Equestrian of the Year Voting Verification.”  Click on the link labeled “PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VERIFY YOUR VOTE”.
  5. You will receive a message thanking you for verifying.

Thank you for your incredible support!

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

 

Lawrence Langer and Elizabeth Traband to Receive Top Awards at USEF Annual Meeting

Lizzy Traband (Cathrin Cammett Photo)

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce Lawrence “Larry” Langer as the winner of the 2016 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and Elizabeth “Lizzy” Traband as the 2016 Junior Equestrian of the Year. The recipients will receive their awards at the Pegasus Awards Gala held Friday, January 13 at The Hyatt Regency Lexington in Lexington, Ky. during the 2017 USEF Annual Meeting.

USEF Lifetime Achievement Award – Lawrence “Larry” Langer

Langer, of Burbank, Calif., has been part of the horse industry for 66 years, from starting lessons as a child to his induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. For his years of service, Langer will be awarded the 2016 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pegasus Awards Gala.

Visit usefnetwork.com for more information about Langer.

Junior Equestrian of the Year – Elizabeth “Lizzy” Traband

Growing up on a sport horse breeding and training farm, horses have always been a part of 18-year-old Traband’s life. Despite being born with only one hand, Traband has not let anything limit her passion for horses. She has successfully competed in dressage, hunters, jumpers, and para-dressage. A prime example of courage, sportsmanship, and dedication, Traband will be awarded the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2016 Junior Equestrian of the Year.

Visit usefnetwork.com for more information about Traband.

Visit usef.org for more information about the 2017 USEF Annual Meeting.

From the USEF Communications Department

FEI Named International Sports Federation of the Year

Lausanne (SUI), 9 December 2016 – The FEI has been declared International Sports Federation of the Year at the International Sports Awards 2016. The award, which recognises the work of the international governing body for equestrian sport, including its leadership in integrity and governance, was presented 8 December, at the International Sports Convention (ISC) in Geneva (SUI).

Voted for by members of the Swiss-based International Sports Chamber of Commerce (ISCC) and ISC conference delegates, the annual awards celebrate the best work in global sport, recognising individual, group and company achievements.

This award tops off a year of recognition that has also included significant accolades for key elements of the FEI’s #TwoHearts Olympic campaign – Billy to Rio and the ground-breaking video Hoofloose.

Launched in May 2016, #TwoHearts has grown from a concept designed to connect sports fans, athletes, National Federations and media from all over the world, celebrating the unique relationship between horse and human, to become an iconic brand adopted by the global equestrian community. A key feature of the campaign was the introduction of innovative creative tactics, including videos and imagery designed to challenge people’s perceptions of the sport.

Billy to Rio, the FEI’s social media project focused on engaging new fans, won two bronze Lovie awards in the Internet Video and Social categories in September. The Lovie Awards are recognised as the most prestigious and the only truly pan-European awards honouring online excellence. Billy to Rio was also the winner of Equestrian Commercial – International at last month’s Equus Film Festival 2016 in New York City (USA).

Directed by Jacobsen Luiza, Billy to Rio follows the journey of a lovable and mischievous horse as he chases his dream of becoming an Olympic champion. Billy is seen testing out numerous Olympic sports before taking on all three Olympic equestrian disciplines, with content going out to fans via social media platforms.

The innovative Hoofloose video, again designed to bring equestrian sport to an entirely new audience, won an award at the Grand Prix Romand de la Création under the Craft Film category last month. The Grand Prix Romand de la Création is the only Swiss-French award for communication and creativity. Hoofloose also won this year’s GRAND award, which rewards the best creative project among all submitted projects across all categories.

#TwoHearts has been the most successful campaign ever run by the FEI. With a targeted focus on the territories of Brazil, USA, China, Russia and Japan, and ongoing placement of stories, images and videos across the rest of the world, the campaign saw extensive engagement across social media, press, broadcast and digital.

Social media engagement (the number of interactions people had with the content) in the five targeted territories saw 8,048,932 interactions across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, VK, OK and Weibo, with over 5,000 press articles (online and print) and more than 1,000 broadcast pieces. Overall this created 19.5 billion opportunities to see non-competition footage across broadcast, print, online and mobile. In addition to these figures, there were also almost 3,000 press articles published across the rest of the world.

“This has been an amazing year for the FEI, with hugely successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio and fantastic results from our Two Hearts campaign,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The awards for Two Hearts are recognition of the FEI’s commitment to engage with horse lovers around the world. Working together with National Federations, agencies, athletes, grooms and many other individuals, we have achieved success and have increased the visibility for equestrian sport. It is incredible to finish off the year being named as International Sports Federation of the Year. We couldn’t be happier or more proud of this recognition!”

The FEI worked with a number of agencies on the #TwoHearts campaign, including Ogilvy, Weber Shandwick, Tall, Pixel for Dinner and Butt First.

http://theinternationalsportsawards.com/awards/

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Rio Olympic Champion Nick Skelton Takes Top FEI Award

(Left to right): Juan-Carlos Capelli, Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing, Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA), FEI Honorary President, HRH Princess Haya, FEI President Ingmar De Vos, Sönke Rothenberger (GER), Moroccan Secretary General, Badr Fakir accompanied by traditional Japanese Taiko drummers. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Tokyo (JPN), 22 November 2016 – Rio 2016 Olympic Jumping champion Nick Skelton (GBR) added another major accolade to his collection when he was declared the winner of the top prize at the prestigious 2016 FEI Awards gala dinner in Tokyo (JPN), in the presence of guest of honour, FEI Honorary President, HRH Princess Haya.

Nick Skelton won the coveted FEI Best Athlete honour at the “Oscars of the equestrian world” presented in association with the FEI’s top partner Longines, at the Park Tower Hotel. The FEI Awards celebrate the excellence, commitment, dedication and courage of those in equestrian sport, and the glittering ceremony also saw Nick’s groom Mark Beever (GBR) declared winner of the FEI Best Groom award.

In recognition of outstanding efforts in what has been another exceptional sporting year, the ceremony kick-started with the presentation of the Longines Rising Star award going to Sönke Rothenberger (GER), an award honouring the pursuit of excellence and rising talent for a person aged 14 to 21. Along with his FEI award, Sönke Rothenberger was also presented with a Longines Conquest Classic watch.

Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla took home the Against All Odds award, while the FEI Solidarity award went to the Morocco National Federation/SA Charif Moulay Abdellah Alaoui, President of the Royal Moroccan Federation for Equestrian Sports.  This award was accepted on behalf of the Federation by the Moroccan Secretary General, Badr Fakir.

Hosted by joint Master of Ceremonies Liz Price (GBR) and the Athens 2004 Olympic hammer champion Koji Murofushi (JPN), now Sports Director for Tokyo 2020, the FEI Awards gala ceremony was watched by more than 300 distinguished guests, National Federation representatives, FEI partners, VIPs and international media.

“The FEI Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work of those who deserve the recognition, not just of our community but of the wider sports industry, and we’ve had five fantastic award winners tonight,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “These talented and dedicated athletes and individuals constantly inspire future generations of athletes, and not just equestrian athletes, and can literally change lives and communities. The FEI is very proud to honour and acknowledge these achievements.”

Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli, who presented the Longines Rising Star award during the ceremony, said: “It is my great pleasure to be here this evening and to be a part of the FEI Awards’ celebration of these great equestrian heroes. As we have seen here tonight, all of the winners have shown what hard work and dedication are all about. They are champions that we can be very proud of.

“On behalf of Longines, I extend my warmest congratulations to tonight’s winners, and in particular our Longines Rising Star, Sönke Rothenberger. It’s very exciting to see all these incredible people pursue their dreams and continue to be great ambassadors for their sport.”

The five categories in the FEI Awards 2016 attracted a record number of nominations from the public, giving the judging panel an extremely hard task to select the final winners. Chaired by Japanese Olympic Committee President and FEI Honorary Vice-President Tsunekazu Takeda, the judging panel also included the FEI President Ingmar de Vos (BEL), Longines Vice President, Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli (SUI), last year’s best athlete Boyd Exell (AUS), President of the Swaziland National Federation Glenda Warburton (SWZ), FEI Awards Against All Odds winner in 2010 Angelika Trabert (GER) and British television presenter Liz Price.

The evening’s celebrations had opened with a presentation made by Juan-Carlos Capelli to the FEI President Ingmar De Vos of a limited series timepiece from the Longines equestrian collection, the Longines Equestrian Pocket Watch Horses Trio 1911. This special presentation was made on behalf of the Swiss watchmaker to celebrate their 105-year commitment to the discipline of Jumping. The exclusive 18 carat rose gold timepiece will be permanently showcased in the state-of-the-art interactive gallery at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

Find out more about the five FEI Award winners below:

LONGINES RISING STAR – Sönke Rothenberger (GER)

Sönke Rothenberger and his mount Cosmo were the youngest combination competing in the Olympic Dressage at Rio 2016, with a combined age of just 30, but they claimed team gold for Germany on their Olympic debut! Rothenberger’s other major achievements include: member of the winning German team at CDIO5* Aachen 2016, German Young Riders champion 2014, European Young Riders team gold and individual bronze 2014, European Ponies team gold and individual silver 2009, European Ponies double gold 2008 in Avenches, European Ponies team gold and individual bronze 2007.

“To receive this award is a great honour for me,” he said. “There are so many other people who would deserve this, but to be the one who receives it – well it’s just amazing and the icing on the cake for everything we have experienced this year. I am really surprised and thankful and never expected that the FEI would honour me with this prize. Thank you again very much.”

BEST ATHLETE – Nick Skelton (GBR)

Individual Olympic Jumping gold medallist at Rio 2016 with the great horse Big Star, Nick Skelton began riding at the age of 18 months. In 1975 he took team silver and individual gold at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Juniors. At senior European level, he has won three gold, three silver and three bronze medals with the British team over a 26-year time period. In 1980 he competed in the Alternative Olympics in Rotterdam (NED) where he was a member of the British silver medal team. At the age of 54, Skelton was part of Britain’s gold medal team at the London 2012 Olympic Games and finally claimed individual gold in Rio, at his seventh Olympic Games.

Skelton broke his neck in September 2000 which could have ended his career, but after retiring in 2001 he recovered and began competing again in 2002. He has also had a hip replacement and two knee operations.

“I would like to thank the FEI for this most fabulous award,” he said. “I’ve had an incredible year and this award makes it even better. I would like to thank the team that is behind me and Big Star for all their hard work and patience.”

BEST GROOM – Mark Beever (GBR)

Nick Skelton’s loyal groom Mark Beever received multiple nominations (the most in this category) from other grooms, riders and the larger equestrian community. His loyalty and dedication to his boss is clearly evident as he’s worked for him for 31 years! Beever has groomed at numerous Championships and Olympic Games, and knows how to keep both horse and rider relaxed. His skill, knowledge and incredible work ethic means his horses always look outstanding, and he was instrumental in ensuring Big Star was fit and in prime condition for the Olympic Games in Rio. Beever is very well respected by his peers and his dedication to Big Star is beyond question, as he caters to his every need, ensuring the horse is happy and settled down before he looks after himself. Most importantly, Skelton has full confidence in Beever’s ability to care for his horses.

“I would just like to say thanks to everybody that voted for me,” he said. “It’s not just all about me. It’s a big team, a lot of hard work, but it all paid off in the end. Thank you to everybody and the FEI for doing this for me.”

FEI SOLIDARITY – Moroccan National Federation / SA Charif Moulay Abdellah Alaoui, President of the Royal Moroccan Federation for Equestrian Sports

The Moroccan Equestrian Federation were popular nominees in this category and even received full endorsement from the FEI Solidarity team at FEI Headquarters complimenting them on their proactive stance on development and their successes in 2016. They represent a concrete example of development in equestrian sport with all the necessary ingredients – development of the National Federation structures, Coach education, Athletes training, values, and particularly horse welfare. They have developed a state-of-the-art national training and competition centre – the Institut National du Cheval. They were hosts of the FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2016, which was a tremendous success, and hailed as the best-ever Challenge Final, from both an organisational and sporting standpoint. This year they had their first-ever participation of a Moroccan athlete at the equestrian events of the Olympic Games when Abdelkebir Ouaddar competed at Rio 2016. The Federation has created solid foundations for the development of the sport and related employment in the sport in Morocco, as well as increasing awareness and promotion of the sport nationally and regionally. Education and knowledge transfer, and assistance to local breeders is also a priority.

“My Federation is very honoured to have received the FEI Solidarity award this evening,” Prince Moulay Abdellah Alaoui said. “Thank you very much; we are very touched and very humbled by the award we are receiving today.”

AGAINST ALL ODDS – Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA)

Multiple nominations were received for Rodolpho Riskalla, winner of the Against All Odds award. The 31-year-old competed for his home country of Brazil in Rio 2016, but in the Para-Equestrian Dressage events at the Paralympic Games and not in the Olympic Dressage events, which was his original plan. Riskalla contracted meningitis in 2015 which resulted in the loss of both his feet and most of his fingers. Nevertheless, barely out of hospital following life-saving amputations, he was back in the saddle with his sights set firmly on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, with less than a year to achieve his new goal! He had to learn how to ride again using prosthetic legs and few fingers, and his determination, passion, resilience and dedication have made him a national hero. Riskalla pursued his dream of representing his country at his home Games despite what life threw at him and had to work tremendously hard to overcome adversity.

“To win the FEI Awards, it’s like the Oscars; it’s like being a superstar,” he said. “But also, to win Against All Odds represents exactly what happened to me this last year. Before this I never believed a human being could be so strong and adapt so quickly; it’s something that’s come from inside; it’s like the Olympic spirit. It’s something that is inside you and I am really proud to be a para dressage rider, a Paralympian and to be a representative of our discipline.”

FEI Awards 2016 hashtag:  #FEIAwards

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
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Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
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