Nominees have been announced for 2017 FEI awards, and for the first time since the creation of the awards in 2009 the public is being given a vote! Choose your favorites from the final shortlist of candidates for Best Athlete, Longines Rising Star, Best Groom, Against All Odds and FEI Solidarity from now until Oct. 1.
The public vote will count 50% of the total vote, with the other 50% being decided upon by this judging panel. We kinda think they ought to just let the people decide, ‘Murican democracy stylez, but whatever. You do you, FEI! You always do, anyway!
As patriotic citizens of Eventing Nation, we know which party you’re going to be voting for. Here are the eventing nominees:
Nominee: Ingrid Klimke (GER), up for Best Athlete
Why she deserves to win: Ingrid crushes it pretty much every year, but she had an especially stellar 2017, winning her first individual European title in Strzegom, Poland, in August. Plus, as reader Lida McAllister pointed out, how about this incredible moment of showjump-in-a-dressage-saddle showboating last December during the Nuremberg Burg Pokal Final? Just goes to show you can take an event rider out of their jump saddle, but you can’t take the jump saddle out of the eventer.
Nominee: Imogen Mercer (GBR), up for Best Groom
Why she deserves to win: An EN-certified “supergroom,” Imogen has worked with Sam Griffiths’ team for five years, and Sam is quick to credit her with much of his recent success. When EN asked what are her “couldn’t live without” items, Imogen says her favourite quarter marker brush and black grooming trolley box are strictly off limits to anyone else. “They all know not to go in there,” she said, poker faced. #dontmesswithImogen
Nominee: Emma Booth (AUS), up for Against All Odds
Why she deserves to win: In 2013, 21-year-old Emma Booth was returning home after competing in Albury Horse Trials when a truck smashed into her lorry, instantly killing both horses and leaving Emma paralyzed. She looked up para-equestrianism while still in the hospital and was back on a horse within six months of the accident. Exactly three years after her accident she qualified for the Rio Paralympic Games, where she finished fifth. She continues to inspire those around her giving talks to schools, equestrian teams, community groups and businesses. How incredible is that?!
Nominee: Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity (GBR), up for the FEI Solidarity Award
Why It Deserves to Win: This charity is left behind by beloved young rider Hannah Francis, who lost her fight to cancer in 2016 at age 18 but never lost her spirit. Her legacy charity, based on one of her favorite toys, supports research into Osteosarcoma and grants equestrian wishes to seriously ill people and their families. Her memory continues to live on through her charity and in the hearts of all who knew and loved her. Hannah Francis was nominated for the Against All Odds award last year but did not win, and with the public vote in place we hope she gets the recognition she deserves this go round.
The winners will be announced at the FEI Awards gala in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Nov. 17, and will be live broadcast here.