Every day this past week, the FEI released a short list of nominations for each of the five categories for the 2015 FEI Awards. Award recipients will be selected from the short lists by a panel of international experts including FEI President Ingmar de Vos, and the winners will be honored during an elegant Gala in San Juan, Puerto Rico this coming Friday, November 13.
We are proud to see an incredible group of eventing representatives nominated in three of the five categories this year. Eventers are short listed for the Best Groom Award, Against All Odds Award and the Reem Acra Best Athlete Award.
Imogen Mercer, Best Groom: Just 22 years old, Imogen is head groom for Australia’s Sam Griffiths, winner of the 2014 Badminton Horse Trials with Paulank Brockagh. In an FEI press release announcing the short list for Best Groom, Imogen is described as a “people person” who is as good at managing the two-legged members of the team as she is at caring for the horses.
“With intelligence and common sense she continually strives to create and maintain a happy environment and can handle any situation positively and calmly. This quality is hard to find in anyone, let alone a girl of just 22 years old.”
Pepo Puch, Against All Odds: Pepo Puch is an Austrian event rider who was severely injured in a riding accident in 2008. After a six-month hospital stay, he began riding again with a focus on Para-Equestrian Dressage. He has since won medals at the London Olympic Games, the FEI World Equestrian Games and the FEI European Championships. His motto is: “If it is conceivable, it is doable.”
Ben Hobday, Against All Odds: Britain’s Ben Hobday is a 27-year-old with a strong social media presence that he has used to chronicle his journey through treatment for cancer. He announced his diagnosis via Twitter in June 2015 and received an immeasurable outpouring of support from the community.
Throughout his treatment, Ben has worked to raise funds for various cancer charities. An FEI press release stated that nominees were impressed by Ben’s energy and motivation and the way he has brought the wider equestrian community together to support an important cause.
“By making his story public, he is helping to inspire both other riders and others diagnosed with cancer. His positive outlook and determination to fight this disease whilst constantly looking to the future is inspirational for all.”
William Fox-Pitt, Reem Acra Best Athlete: William Fox-Pitt won his 14th CCI4* title this year with a victory at Badminton riding Chilli Morning. He was also on the team that won bronze for Britain at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships. William has been on all our minds recently as he recovers from a head injury sustained in a fall at Le Lion d’Angers last month.
Ingrid Klimke, Reem Acra Best Athlete: Germany’s Ingrid Klimke had an incredible year in 2015, taking home two CCI4* wins at Luhmühlen (riding FRF Escada JS) and Pau (riding Horseware Hale Bob) and was first and second with these same two horses at the Aachen CICO3* where Germany won the team competition. Ingrid won the FEI Classics Series as a result of her individual victories and was also on the gold medal winning team at the European Eventing Championships.