The end of the competition season means the beginning of the awards season, and each day this week the FEI has unveiled the shortlist of nominees for each of the five categories of the annual FEI Awards. Besides the international scope and unique categorization of these awards, they are special because the public gets to cast votes for nominees. This year we are pleased to see two eventers on the shortlist.
The Against All Odds award is for “a person who has pursued his or her equestrian ambitions despite a physical impairment or extremely difficult personal circumstances.” The nominees in this category are inspiring individuals, and we are proud to see eventing’s own Hannah Francis in the running.
Hannah and her trusty sidekick Willberry Wonder Pony raised many thousands of pounds for cancer research throughout her own difficult battle against the disease. She passed away this summer, but her heroic efforts and everlasting hope and determination inspired people around the world, and her legacy lives on through the Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.
The FEI reports that it received by far the most nominations across all categories for Hannah. Learn about the other three nominees for the Against All Odds award here.
France’s Astier Nicolas is up for the prestigious Best Athlete award, given to an athlete who “has demonstrated exceptional skill on the field of play and taken the sport to a new level.”
Astier, 27, brought home a team gold and individual silver medal with Piaf de B’Neville at his first Olympic Games in Rio this summer. Earlier in the year he brought home a win from the Chatsworth CIC3* and was active in the Event Rider Masters Series, finishing seventh on the ERM leaderboard.
Also up for Best Athlete is Germany’s Isabelle Werth (dressage), Great Britain’s Nick Skelton (jumping) and Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen (Paradressage).
And yes, we’re as surprised as you are to see back-to-back individual Olympic gold medalist Michael Jung omitted from the list.
Also up for grabs is the Longines™ Rising Star award for talented young stars between 14 and 21. Meet the four nominees from around the world competing in vaulting, dressage, jumping and reining here.
A groom is a vital part of any high performance program and are as deserving of recognition for their efforts as anyone. The nominees for the Best Groom award this year include three Rio Olympic grooms and a professional “flying groom.” Click here to learn more about them.
The FEI Solidarity award focuses on “grass roots” projects and an individual or organization that has shown skill, dedication and energy in expanding the sport. There are three nominees this year. Learn more about their contributions to the horse world here.
The winners for each category will be honored at the glittering FEI Awards Gala, presented by Longines, at the Prince Park Tower Hotel in Tokyo, Japan on November 22.