Eventing heros recognised at Horse & Hound Awards
Top riders, star equines and a much-loved course-builder were among those honoured in a star-studded ceremony at Cheltenham racecourse last night (Wednesday 4 December), as the winners of the Horse & Hound Awards in partnership with NAF were revealed.
Eventing superstars came away with many of the sought after awards with Piggy French's team leading the way with three awards; Piggy herself took the Ceris Burns Equestrian Professional Rider of the Year, whilst her Badminton Champion Vanir Kamira, owned by Trevor Dickens, lifted the Horseware Horse of the Year and Piggy's groom, Amy Phillips (pictured), walked away with the NAF Five Star Groom of the Year.
Pippa Funnell's Burghley Horse Trials win saw her receive the Horserail Moment of the Year. Pippa said; “It’s been so long since my first victory and it was special to have the chance to win another big one. Hopefully it meant something to people because of my age and the gap between wins. The road is not always straightforward and I hope the achievement will inspire others to keep persevering and following their dreams and goals.”
Finn Healy, was the recipient of the Saracen Young Rider of the Year, after his performance at the 2019 FEI Eventing European Championships for Ponies which saw him take both the team and individual gold medal on Midnight Dancer.
The Pikeur Amateur Rider of the Year award went to eventer Adam Harvey, who in 2019 helped Great Britain secure a team silver medal at the CCI3*-S European Cup on Picasso V after finishing best of the Brits in fourth place. Alongside his eventing, Adam is training to become a Charted Surveyor.
Having started her volunteering journey helping to fundraise for Hannah Francis before she passed away in 2016, Olivia Robertson won the Prime Stables Volunteer of the Year.
Showjumping course-builder Bob Ellis — who was responsible for the tracks at the 2012 Olympics in London and who has announced his retirement from designing this year — received the Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I’ve known Bob for over 40 years and this award could not go to a nicer, more genuine, honest person,” said Olympic champion Nick Skelton, who was the first recipient of H&H’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, in a video played at the ceremony.
Hickstead showground’s Edward Bunn added: “Bob’s sympathetic to the horses, the riders and the organisers and produces very good entertainment for the crowd.”
Other winners last night included Joe Stockdale (Absorbine Inspiration of the Year), who put his flourishing cricket career on hold to take on his Olympian father’s horses after Tim’s death last year.
Winners at the 2019 Horse & Hound Awards in partnership with NAF:
- Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Ellis
- Ceris Burns Equestrian Professional Rider of the Year: Piggy French
- Horseware Horse of the Year: Vanir Kamira
- Balanced Horse Feeds Pony of the Year: Smurf
- Horserail Moment of the Year: Pippa Funnell’s Burghley victory
- Absorbine Inspiration of the Year: Joe Stockdale
- NAF Five Star Groom of the Year: Amy Phillips
- Pikeur Amateur Rider of the Year: Adam Harvey
- Saracen Young Rider of the Year: Finn Healy
- Prime Stables Volunteer of the Year: Olivia Robertson
- Horse Dialog Club of the Year: Royal Artillery Equestrian Centre Thorney Island
Amy Phillips receives her NAF Five Star Groom of the Year Award