Tag Archives: FEI Awards

Vote for Your Favorite US Groom and Athletes in the 2020 FEI Awards

Photo: Nina Lamsam Ligon.

This year, the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) Awards will be fully online and virtual. 55 winners from previous FEI Awards are open for your nominations in each of the five categories. Throughout the voting period until November 22, nominees have the opportunity to promote themselves in order to obtain a maximum number of votes. The results of the public vote count for 100% of the votes. The winners will be announced during a virtual ceremony on December 11.

Cast your votes for your favorite U.S. groom and athletes by November 22!

Cavalor FEI Best Groom

Since 2009, the FEI Awards have celebrated great grooms and their dedication to their horses and their athletes. From famous partnerships to successful and long-term careers, who should be crowned best of the decade?

  • Lee McKeever
    Jumping (Groom to McLain Ward)
  • Jose Eduardo (Eddie) Garcia Luna
    Dressage (Groom to Steffen Peters)

FEI Against All Odds

Resilience and determination barely scratch the surface when you look back at our FEI Against All Odds winners since 2009. They all deserve our respect and admiration, but who should be adding a second FEI Awards trophy to their collection?

  • Sydney Collier
    Para Dressage
  • Courtney King-Dye
    Dressage

Longines FEI Rising Star

This category has celebrated outstanding performances and dedication by the next generation of athletes – all aged 14-21 at the time of their Awards win – with many going on to become household names. Who is your ultimate rising star?

  • Reed Kessler
    Jumping
  • Caroline Roffman
    Dressage
  • Nina Lamsam Ligon
    Eventing

© 2020 United States Equestrian Federation

FEI Awards 2020 Celebrate a Decade of Equestrian Excellence

If you had the chance to choose, who would be your favourites from the winners over the past decade of FEI Awards?

Well now you have that opportunity! In a year when our sport has been brought to a standstill by the pandemic, we are looking back through the years and giving YOU the chance to pick the best of the best from the five FEI Awards categories.

And the public vote for the special edition FEI Awards 2020 is now open!

This year the winners in each of the five categories will be chosen entirely by the public and votes can be cast on FEI.org from today until 22 November. Winners will be announced the second week of December.

There are 55 nominees representing 19 nations across the five Awards categories: Longines FEI Rising Star; Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete; Cavalor FEI Best Groom; FEI Against All Odds; and FEI Solidarity. The complete list of nominees can be found here.

“These Awards are a way to honour the heroes of our sport through their amazing stories of resilience, horsemanship, determination, and passion,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“Equestrian is not just a sport, but a way of life for many people, and this has been a desperately difficult year for the equestrian community, just as it has been for everyone, in every sector. Now, more than ever, we need to focus on the positives that our sport has to offer and celebrate the fantastic ambassadors that we have, both on the field of play and behind the scenes making a difference.”

Since their launch in 2009, the FEI Awards have become a key addition to the annual equestrian calendar and have grown in size and stature over the last decade. The FEI Best Athlete and FEI Rising Star Award categories have featured a high calibre of nominees from around the world with numerous Olympic, Paralympic, and FEI World Equestrian Games™ honours among them.

With nine awards in total, Germany has the greatest number of winners and also tops the leader board in the FEI Best Athlete category, with five wins in 11 years.

German athletes in different Olympic disciplines have won the FEI Best Athlete category three years in a row. 2019 winner Ingrid Klimke, one of the world’s most successful Eventing riders, was the third German female to win the FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018 and six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017.

Germany has also been to the fore in the FEI Rising Star Award, with the Rothenberger family claiming it twice, with Sönke winning in 2016 and his sister Semmieke taking home the honours last year.

Alongside the recognition of individual sporting accomplishments, the FEI Best Groom award highlights the important work of grooms, often the unsung heroes of equestrian sport, and the British have dominated this category. There was a double celebration in 2016 when Olympic champion Nick Skelton and his long-time groom Mark Beever were crowned Best Athlete and Best Groom. Career groom Jackie Potts won in 2014 for her long collaboration with Eventing legend William Fox-Pitt while Alan Davies, head groom to Dressage superstars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin, won the title in 2017.

The FEI Solidarity Award has raised the profile of a number of equestrian development projects, individuals, and organisations that have benefitted the sport and communities in countries such as Haiti, South Africa, Singapore, Uruguay, Zambia, and Great Britain.

At the 2018 FEI Awards Gala in Manama (BRN), the FEI Solidarity Award was given to The Horsemanship Movement, founded by Chinese Eventing star Alex Hua Tian and his friend Philip Wong. The programme aims to improve the lives of migrant children through building a positive partnership with horses, as well as to reposition equestrian sports as a value-led activity, rich with character education for children.

Following his win in 2018, Alex Hua Tian became the only individual to have secured two accolades at the FEI Awards having also won FEI Rising Star at the inaugural FEI Awards Gala in 2009 in Copenhagen (DEN). The FEI Rising Star recognition came on the back of his Olympic debut at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing at the age of 18, where he became China’s first equestrian Olympian and the youngest ever Eventer in Olympic history.

Perhaps the most inspiring of all the categories is the FEI Against All Odds Award, which has brought equestrian stories of courage, hope, and faith to the forefront. The Award, given to a person who has pursued his or her equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances, has been won by athletes from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Haiti, Palestine, Uruguay, and the USA.

“This year, more than ever, I invite you all to show your support for the multiple nominees in the different categories,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The equestrian community has been pushed to the limit this year but has come out stronger and this is our chance to unite and celebrate our community’s resilience in the face of adversity.”

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director, Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
vanessa.randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73

Multiple Olympian Klimke Takes FEI Best Athlete Award in Moscow

(left to right): Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li, and Yaofeng Li.

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow (RUS).

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners, and stakeholders.

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination, and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication, and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication, and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

FEI media contacts:

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

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Wheatland Farm and Marie Vonderheyden Named as Finalists for FEI Awards 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland – The Fédération Équestre International (FEI) has released the list of finalists for the FEI Awards 2019, which includes United States Equestrian Federation/U.S. Para-Equestrian Association Para-Dressage Center of Excellence Wheatland Farm in the FEI Solidarity category and U.S. para-dressage rider Marie Vonderheyden in the FEI Against All Odds category. Public voting to help determine the winners closes Monday, October 7. Category winners will be honored at the FEI Awards Gala on November 19, hosted during the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.

Public voting will count towards 50% of the overall selection for each category. Click here to VOTE NOW.

Wheatland Farm, founded by Mark and Muriel Forrest, is one of only nine USEF/USPEA Para-Dressage Centers of Excellence and is a leading member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), providing therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities and therapeutic programs. As a Center of Excellence, Wheatland Farm is instrumental in providing educational and developmental opportunities for para-dressage athletes and coaches in the United States, offering services which include classification, trainer/coach identification, and sport opportunities, as well as programs in both human and equine sports science and medicine. Wheatland Farm has remained heavily involved with the U.S. Para-Dressage Program and serves as an important touch point between the Developing and High Performance teams and the therapeutic riding community.

“We are honored and humbled to be shortlisted for such a wonderful award. Wheatland Farm’s mission is to provide healing and hope through an excellent, world-class adaptive sport program that is inclusive of all equestrians,” said Muriel Forrest, co-founder of Wheatland Farm. “We are grateful for the support of US Equestrian, who together with the United States Para-Equestrian Association, are providing amazing support for para-equestrian sport, and we are honored to be a Center of Excellence for them in that capacity. We believe that this nomination will help to raise national and global awareness of para-equestrian sport in general and para-dressage, in particular. Thank you to the FEI for considering Wheatland Farm, and we humbly ask our friends in the equestrian community and the general public to lift up para-equestrians by voting for Wheatland Farm.”

Marie Vonderheyden, the only U.S. athlete nominated for this year’s awards, suffered a devastating riding accident in 2015, which led to medical professionals placing her in a medically induced coma for seven weeks. When she awoke, her family was informed that the regulatory part of her brain controlling personality and speech was irreparably damaged and her chances of walking again were slim. She showed tremendous perseverance throughout the recovery process, in which she re-learned how to swallow, the alphabet, colors, emotions, and balance. She reconnected with horses through therapeutic riding rehabilitation and progressed from there, ultimately learning how to ride again without assistance. She competed in her first para-dressage competition in 2019 and has intentions of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Marie’s commitment and determination to return to the saddle is truly inspiring.

“A friend of ours submitted Marie’s story. We’re just amazed and so thrilled. We’re very humbled. We have so much thanks and appreciation for the people supporting and promoting Marie,” said Cecile Vonderheyden, Marie’s mother. “This is going to help us tremendously in our quest for Marie to go further in this sport and to help her accomplish her goal of competing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

About the FEI Awards
Launched in 2009, the FEI Awards have celebrated the champions of the sport both on and off the field, inspiring individuals and organizations from all over the world. The nominated categories presented at the FEI Awards Gala are the Longines FEI Rising Star, Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete, Cavalor FEI Best Groom, FEI Against All Odds, and the FEI Solidarity award.

More about the FEI Awards here: https://www.fei.org/awards/about.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Sporting Rivalries Feature between FEI Awards 2019 Nominees as Public Voting Begins

Steve Guerdat (L) and Martin Fuchs after winning first and second place respectively at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg (SWE). FEI/Christophe Taniere

Swiss Jumping stars Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs will see their long-standing sporting rivalry play out in the polls as the public vote for the FEI Awards 2019 opens.

An impressive billing of equestrian athletes, individuals, and projects have been shortlisted across five Awards categories following the FEI’s call to action for nominations from the global equestrian community.

Flying the flag for 15 nations on five continents, the 22 shortlisted nominees have been selected for their outstanding achievements on the field of play, inspirational outlook, and unparalleled dedication.

World number one Guerdat (37) and his great friend and rival Fuchs (27), who was crowned FEI European Jumping champion last month, are amongst the five nominees in the running for the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award 2019, along with Eventing legend Ingrid Klimke (GER), this year’s FEI Driving World Cup™ winner Bram Chardon (NED), and Dutch Paralympian and triple European gold medallist Sanne Voets.

The 2019 Awards winners will be celebrated at a star-studded ceremony at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow (RUS) on 19 November.

The public has from 25 September to 7 October to cast votes for their heroes. Make sure you have your say and vote here.

Shortlisted nominees for the FEI Awards 2019 are:

Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete – paying tribute to the athlete who over the past year has demonstrated exceptional skill and taken the sport to a new level.

  • Steve Guerdat (SUI), Jumping
  • Martin Fuchs (SUI), Jumping
  • Ingrid Klimke (GER), Eventing
  • Bram Chardon (NED), Driving
  • Sanne Voets (NED), Para Dressage

Cavalor FEI Best Groom – for the behind-the-scenes hero who ensures the horses they look after are given the best possible care.

  • Tim Varlec (SLO), groom for Irish Para Dressage athlete Tamsin Addison
  • Madeleine Broek (NED), groom for Dutch Jumping star Marc Houtzager
  • Yann Devanne (FRA), groom for French Olympic Eventing team gold medallist Thibaut Vallette
  • Ann-Christin De Boer (GER), groom for Olympic Dressage golden girl Helen Langehanenberg

Longines FEI Rising Star – for the youth athlete aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment.

  • Max Wachman (IRL), 16, Jumping
  • Juan Martin Clavijo (COL), 19, Vaulting
  • Semmieke Rothenberger (GER), 20, Dressage
  • Costanza Laliscia (ITA), 20, Endurance

FEI Against All Odds – for an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.

  • Marie Vonderheyden (USA), Para Dressage
  • Eric Lamaze (CAN), Jumping
  • Tobias Thorning Jørgensen (DEN), Para Dressage
  • Zhenqiang Li (CHN), Jumping

FEI Solidarity – for an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, an individual or organisation that has used skill, dedication, and energy to expand the sport.

  • DSA LEAD Programme (RSA)
  • Uno Yxklinten (SWE), farriery training programme in Zambia
  • The Wheatland Farm Equestrian Center, Virginia (USA)
  • The Jack Dodd Foundation (IRL)
  • The Urban Equestrian Academy (GBR)

The winners will be decided through a system in which 50% of the public’s vote and 50% of the judges’ votes will be combined to give the final result. The nine expert judges are as follows:

Ingmar De Vos (BEL), FEI President

Matthieu Baumgartner (SUI), Longines Vice President of Marketing

Marina Sechina (RUS), President Russian Equestrian Federation and member FEI Solidarity Committee

Simone Blum (GER), Jumping athlete and winner of the FEI Best Athlete Award 2018

Peter Bollen (BEL), Founder and chief nutritionist of Cavalor

Martin Atock (IRL), Managing Director of Peden Bloodstock

Robin Parsky (USA), Vice Chairman of the Jumping Owners Club (JOC)

Harald Link (THA), President Thailand Equestrian Federation

Eve Van Den Bol (CAY), President Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF) and member FEI Solidarity Committee

FEI media contacts:

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

World Jumping Champion Simone Blum Takes Fosun Best Athlete at FEI Awards 2018

FEI Awards winners (L to R): Philip Wong (CHN), Lee McKeever (USA), Simone Blum (GER), Alex Hua Tian (CHN), FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibanez (SUI), Victor Levecque (FRA), FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), Leila Malki (PLE), Juan Carlos Capelli Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, Natasha Baker (GBR), Juan Matute Guimon (ESP). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Manama (BRN), 20 November 2018 — Germany’s golden girl Simone Blum (29) has undoubtedly had the best year of her career to date, and she added another accolade to the list, taking home the Fosun Best Athlete Award at the FEI Awards 2018 presented by Longines in Manama (BRN).

Crowned individual world champion and winner of a team bronze medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (USA) in September, she became the first woman in the 28-year history of the Games and only the second female athlete in 65 years of the World Jumping championship to win individual gold.

“I am very proud to be the Fosun best athlete. I think it’s a dream of every rider,” Simone Blum said. “A lot of really good riders got it before and to the people I want to say thank you a lot; it was a pleasure for me and I have the best fans and supporters. Thank you.”

Hosts for the gala evening were five-time Paralympic gold medallist and multi world and European title holder, Natasha Baker (GBR), and Spain’s rising star, Juan Matute Guimon, FEI Dressage European Junior champion in 2015 and at 20, one of the youngest Dressage athletes at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Presenting the winners of the five categories, in front of more than 300 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders, these awards celebrate outstanding achievements within the equestrian community, tapping into the sporting excellence and celebrating the champions, the unsung heroes and the incredible individuals and organisations backstage making it all happen.

Groom to four-time Olympian McLain Ward, the USA’s Lee McKeever, took the award for FEI Best Groom. After 30 years working with McLain, he is still as dedicated about his work as when he started, going above and beyond to ensure the best possible care for his horses, and always willing to help others in the sport working tirelessly behind the scenes. McLain and Lee’s shared victories include the recent FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 team gold medal with Clinta, the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title with HH Azur in Omaha (USA), individual gold medal with Rothchild at the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN), and team gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Sapphire.

French Eventing athlete Victor Levecque was presented with the Longines Rising Star Award by Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, Juan-Carlos Capelli. This award highlights the achievements of athletes between the ages of 14 and 21 who demonstrate outstanding equestrian sporting talent. At the age of 20, Victor is already multiple winner, with 10 European medals, including two gold medals and five French national champion titles to his name.

“For a second consecutive year the online public vote has become very popular and a peer to peer recognition is one of the most powerful,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The influence of one’s peers and the recognition of talent and hard work is a testament to the strengths and development of the growth of the sport.

“Development, like youth, is key to our future and has been a strong focus throughout 2018 as we can see here tonight in the results of the youth of our sport shining through. With our top partner Longines, and their ever-increasing support, their commitment to these awards and equestrian sport globally, and for the first time to celebrate the Fosun Best Athlete award, we are delighted to be here in Bahrain to reward these fantastic achievements.”

Alex Hua Tian and Philip Wong of China accepted the FEI Solidarity award for the Horsemanship charity programme in China. Ten years ago, Alex won the Rising Star Award and he was here as part of the team working to communicate the core value of “Equestrianism as Horsemanship” to the world’s fastest growing equestrian market.

Leila Malki from Palestine was presented with the Against All Odds award. Her dedication to equestrian sport and her passion have made her a role model for young women in Palestine through her encouragement of girls and women to become involved in equestrian sport in her country.

“As FEI’s Top Partner, Longines is very proud to take part in the 2018 FEI Awards Ceremony in Manama,” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said.

“Our connection with the equestrian world dates back 150 years, and we attach great importance to supporting events that are aligned with our core values of tradition, elegance and performance. We are particularly delighted to present the Longines Rising Star award, acknowledging our commitment in supporting new generations of athletes in each sport that we are involved in.”

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Vote Today for Your Equestrian Heroes in the FEI Awards 2018

The public vote for the FEI Awards 2018 is now open! For a second consecutive year the public gets to vote and celebrate its equestrian heroes following publication of the shortlisted nominees.

A record of outstanding achievements on the field of play, horsemanship, commitment and behind-the-scenes dedication are just some of the qualities of the 20 nominees selected across the five categories.

The shortlisted nominees for the FEI Awards 2018 are:

Longines Rising Star – for the young stars aged 14 to 21 who demonstrate outstanding sporting talent and commitment.

  • Felix Koller (AUT), Jumping
  • Esmee Donkers (NED), Dressage
  • Victor Levecque (FRA), Eventing
  • Bunty Howard (ZAM), Jumping

Best Athlete – paying tribute to some incredible performances during the year, notably at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and the Asian Games, which took the sport to a new level.

  • Simone Blum (GER), Jumping
  • Yoshiaki Oiwa (JPN), Eventing
  • Lambert Leclezio (FRA), Vaulting
  • Stinna Kaastrup (DEN), Para Dressage

Best Groom – for the behind-the-scenes hero who ensures the horses he or she looks after are given the best possible care.

  • Lucy Miles (NZL), Eventing, groom for Jonelle and Tim Price
  • Alex Tyler-Morris (GBR), Jumping, groom for Harrie Smolders
  • Lee McKeever (USA), Jumping, groom for McLain Ward
  • Steffi Wiegard (GER), Dressage, head groom for Isabell Werth

Against All Odds – for an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.

  • Sammie Fritz (USA), Dressage
  • Leila Malki (PLE), Jumping
  • Sara Morganti (ITA), Para Dressage
  • Kate Shoemaker (USA), Para Dressage

FEI Solidarity – for an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding the sport.

  • Julie Battams and Equine Pathways (AUS)
  • The Horsemanship charity programme (CHN)
  • Riders of Hope (BIH)
  • Mercedes Campdera (MEX)

Make sure you have your say and vote here!

The online public vote will be open from 5 to 15 October and will count for 50%, with a panel of expert judges deciding the remaining 50%.

The winners will be announced at the FEI Awards 2018 Gala presented by Longines in Manama, Bahrain on 20 November. Presenters on the night of this prestigious ceremony will be five-time Paralympic gold medallist Natasha Baker (GBR) and young Dressage star Juan Matute Guimón (ESP). “I am beyond excited and honoured to have been asked to host the awards with Juan!” Natasha Baker said. “I can’t wait to meet all of the deserving award winners and hear their stories and celebrate our fantastic sport.”

Vote for your equestrian heroes and stay tuned to learn everything about the FEI Awards 2018 on fei.org.

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations and Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Unstoppable Isabell Werth Crowned 2017 Best Athlete at FEI Awards

Photo: Harry Allen (IRE), winner of the Longines Rising Star Award (centre), pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos (left) and Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli (right) at the FEI Awards ceremony in Montevideo, Uruguay. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Montevideo (URU), 21 November 2017 – Isabell Werth (GER), one of equestrian sports most decorated champions, has once again stolen the show, receiving the Best Athlete Award at the ninth edition of the FEI Awards Gala 2017 presented by Longines at the KIBON Avanza in Montevideo (URU).

The German superstar (48) was unable to attend the ceremony but spoke to guests via video message, and Soenke Lauterbach, Secretary General of the German Federation, received the award on her behalf.

“To receive the best athlete award is really fantastic it makes me really proud, really happy to get this support from so many people and that they’re really behind me and they respect what we have done in the last months,” Isabell Werth said.

“2017 was just amazing; it was a really great year. It was all horses, I have to say! Of course the highlight was Omaha with the World Cup final with Weihe; it was a fantastic freestyle!”

To the delight of the Montevideo audience, the festivities were opened by Swedish pop artists Matilda Frommegård and Martin Cederlöf, performing the world premiere of their “Two Hearts” song.

Joint-Masters of Ceremonies, TV news anchor Victoria Rodriguez (URU) together with author and entertainer Guillermo Lockhart (URU), host of Voces Anonimas, went on to present the winners of the five categories, in front of more than 270 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, FEI partners and stakeholders representing the member Federations.

Harry Allen (IRL), double gold medallist at the FEI European Pony Championships in Kaposvar (HUN) last August, was recognised for his numerous outstanding performances throughout the year, winning the Longines Rising Star Award. Presented by the FEI’s top partner Longines, this award celebrates youth, talent, determination and the stars of the tomorrow. The talented Irish athlete (16) was also presented with a Longines Conquest Classic Chronograph watch by Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli.

Alan Davies (GBR), recognised for his tireless effort behind the scenes for Dressage stars Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, was presented with the FEI Best Groom Award.  Praising the unsung heroes of the sport, Alan (48) was visibly moved by the public support for his dedication, commitment and hard work, saying, “Words can’t describe how I feel; it’s just amazing!”

The former Vice President of the Indian Equestrian Federation, Manoj Jalan, accepted the FEI Solidarity Award for the inaugural Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) project in Assam (IND).

Emma Booth (AUS) was commended for her strength, resilience, determination and drive as she was presented with the Against All Odds Award. Emma (26) was left paralysed after a road traffic accident in April 2013, yet nothing stops her passion for equestrian sport and is already planning her campaign around the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“We received over 100,000 votes and were overwhelmed with the response to this year’s Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We have incredible athletes, with remarkable stories, and this year we had the highest number of nominations from more countries than ever before, which clearly shows the universality of our sport.

“The public involvement in the voting process was phenomenal and was an essential part of the judging process for these prestigious awards. It is outstanding to see the tremendous support for our athletes, who deserve the recognition, not just from within our community but of the wider sports industry and fans globally.”

Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli, said: “It is my great pleasure to be here in Montevideo and to be a part of the FEI Awards Ceremony to reward remarkable people for their outstanding dedication to equestrian sports. As we have seen here tonight, all winners have shown what hard work and passion are all about.

“On behalf of Longines, I would like to address my warmest congratulations to all winners of the 2017 FEI Awards, and in particular our Longines Rising Star, the 16-year-old talented jumping rider, Harry Allen. It’s very exciting to see all these incredible people pursue their dreams and continue to be great ambassadors for their sport.”

Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

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

FEI Awards 2017 Shortlist Announced – Public Voting Now Open

Photo: Taiko traditional Japanese Drummers perform at the FEI Awards 2016 ceremony in Tokyo (JPN)

Lausanne (SUI), 20 September 2017 – The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has opened the public voting for all the shortlisted nominees of the FEI awards 2017.

For the first time since the creation of the awards in 2009, the public can cast a vote for their heroes and impact who they think deserves to win. A billing packed with champions and those who go above and beyond, the twenty nominees have been shortlisted across five categories for their outstanding contributions and dedication to the sport, showcasing some of the most successful achievements and talent within the Equestrian community.

We received hundreds of nominations from around the globe over the twelve week nomination period. The calibre of entries for this year’s awards was exceptional. Now it’s over to the public to choose their favourites from the final shortlist of candidates for Best Athlete, Longines Rising Star, Best Groom, Against All Odds and FEI Solidarity by registering through this link from now until 1 October 2017. The public vote determines 50% of the total vote whilst the other 50% will be decided by a star studded expert judging panel.

The winner of each of the five categories will be announced at the FEI Awards 2017 gala presented by Longines in Montevideo (URU) on 21 November 2017, in front of more than 350 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, FEI partners and stakeholders representing the 134 National Equestrian Federations. The awards will be broadcast live on FEI platforms, providing a valuable opportunity to celebrate the best of the best of Equestrian worldwide.

Follow along with all of the festivities of the FEI Awards 2017 on the FEI social media channels. More information on the nominees will also become available in the upcoming days on fei.org.

Who will walk away with one of these prestigious titles at this year’s ‘Equestrian Oscars’? Get voting for your favourites now!

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

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
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

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