Queen Elizabeth II Receives First FEI Lifetime Achievement Award

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Queen Elizabeth II receiving the first FEI Lifetime Achievement award from FEI President Princess Haya at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. © 2014 Press Association
Queen Elizabeth II receiving the first FEI Lifetime Achievement award from FEI President Princess Haya at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. © 2014 Press Association

LONDON, Bov. 26, 2014–Queen Elzabeth II on Thursday received the first FEI Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of her leading role as supporter of equestrian sport throughout her reign.

The award was presented to the 88-year-old British monarch by FEI (International Equestrian Federation) President Princess Haya at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s husband and a former FEI president attended the ceremony.

Horses were in the Queen’s life from a young age. She had her first riding lesson in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews in January 1930, when she was three years old and was given her first pony, the Shetland mare Peggy, by her grandfather King George V on her fourth birthday.

One of The Queen’s favorite horses was the mare Burmese, a present from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969 when they performed at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Queen rode Burmese side-saddle for 18 years at the Trooping the Colour ceremony, which celebrates the sovereign’s birthday. The President’s Trophy, presented by Prince Philip for many years to the winning country in the FEI Nations Cup series, was a bronze of the Queen and Burmese.

In the Thoroughbred world, horses bred by the Queen have won more than 1,600 races. Of the British Classics, only the Epsom Derby eludes the Queen. She also breeds Shetland, Highland and Fell ponies to ensure the traditional bloodlines of the native breeds are preserved and enhanced.

As well as the Queen’s love of racing, breeding and equestrian sport, the British royal family has a long history linked to the horse. The Duke of Edinburgh played polo until 1970 and then took up carriage driving the following year. He played a key role in compiling rules for the international sport early in his 22-year tenure as FEI President. Prince Charles and two of the Queen’s grandsons, Princes William and Harry all play polo. The Queen also hosts the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show, which features international dressage, jumping and driving, and where many of the Queen’s home-bred native ponies line out in the showing classes.

Equestrian sport celebrated 100 years in the Olympics at London in 2012, where The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips claimed team silver in Eventing. Zara won team and individual gold at the World Equestrian Games in 2006 and was European champion in 2005, following in the footsteps of her mother, Princess Anne, who won the European title in 1971 on Doublet, a horse bred by the Queen out of one of Prince Philip’s polo ponies. Princess Anne, also a former FEI President, was the first member of the British Royal Family to compete at an Olympics when she rode at the Montreal Games in 1976.

The FEI Lifetime Achievement award was created by Princess Haya in 2014 to acknowledge an individual who has inspired generations across the global equestrian community.

The award is a white gold and diamond brooch of nine interlinked horseshoes.