2016 has been a fantastic year for equestrian sport at all levels and our teams have produced some amazing achievements.
For the first time in history our equestrian athletes travelled to Latin America for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. Coach and competitor, Carl Hester led the dressage quartet alongside Charlotte Dujardin, Fiona Bigwood and Spencer Wilton to a Team Silver medal. Charlotte made sure it was a Games to remember, and added to her London golden haul; aboard her dancing partner Valegro, the duo brought home yet another gold medal, becoming the first British combination to retain their title. Some good performances from our eventers saw them the only team to complete the testing cross-country course, but just missed out on the medals. As the attention turned to Showjumping it was the turn of Nick Skelton and Big Star, who after a tense six way jump-off, held on to their lead after some stunning jumping to become Team GB’s oldest medallist at the Rio Games and secure the first ever Individual gold medal for Great Britain.
The Paralympic Games saw Great Britain not only retain their coveted team title but produce a staggering eleven-strong medal haul, to better their London tally. Lee Pearson, who was picked to be flag bearer for Paralympics GB, got the GB squad on their way with Silver in the Grade Ib test with Zion before taking Gold in the Freestyle, and with it took his Games medal tally to 14. Sophie Wells got the team’s first Gold medal in her Grade IV test and added a Silver to her name in the Freestyle. In the Grade Ia, Sophie Christiansen and Anne Dunham recorded a British one two finish to take Gold and Silver medals in both the Team test and the Freestyle. Natasha Baker came into this year’s Games as defending Grade II champion and producing some lovely tests, defended her two titles on board Cabral, to become only one of 5 athletes, alongside team-mate Sophie Christiansen to secure triple Gold.
We have also seen some superb results produced from our youth teams. At the Pony European Championships, showjumper Jack Whitaker secured Individual Gold, whilst Great Britain’s jumping team (Jack Whitaker, Allana Clutterbuck, Robert Murphy and Hallie Lunn) took Bronze and the eventing team (Saffron Cresswell, Anya Kolleth, Eloise Carter and Molly Faulkner) took Silver. There was also a Bronze medal for the British Junior team (Felicity Collins, Richard Coney, Phoebe Locke, Chelsea Pearce, Chelsea Round and Bubby Upton) at the FEI Junior and Young Rider European Championships in Montelibretti, Italy, doing so for a second consecutive year. At the European Championships for Showjumping in Millstreet, the Great British team (Harry Charles, Leonie Aitkenhead, Scarlett Charles and Emily Ward) won Bronze and at the Veterans European Championships in Arezzo, Sally Swiers jumped her way to joint Gold in the Individual competition whilst the team just missed out on the podium finishing fourth.
In the FEI Nations Cup for eventing, Great Britain’s finished second of the overall standings after a tense final weekend in Boekelo where they topped the team competition with 150.6 points. Germany secured the overall series title.
- Nick Skelton: 3rd Sports Personality of the Year
- Sophie Christiansen: 5th Sports Personality of the Year
- Nick Skelton: FEI Best Athlete of 2016
- Mark Beever: FEI Best Groom Award
- Charlotte Dujardin: shortlisted for Sunday Times Sports Women of the Year and Olympian of the Year
- Natasha Baker: shortlisted for Sunday Times Paralympian of the Year category
- Sophie Christiansen: shortlisted for Sunday Times Paralympian of the Year category
- Sophie Christiansen: recognised within the Dow Jones Financial News Extra Mile List for 2016
- Emma Douglas: nominated for Women of the Future Awards, Sports Category