FEI Award Nominees Announced for Public Voting

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Weihegold OLD being led by a hazmat-suited Steffi Wiegard. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Oct. 5, 2018–The short list for FEI Awards was announced Friday for public voting on equestrians nominated.

Twenty equestrians in five categories were nominated for the awards with online voting open Oct. 5-15 and to count for 50 per cent with a panel of judges having the other 50 per cent. Winners will be announced at the FEI Awards 2018 Gala in Manama, Bahrain Nov. 20 and presented by youth dressage rider Juan Matute Guimón of Spain and five-time Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker of Great Britain.

Nominees are:

Longines Rising Star – for the young stars aged 14 to 21 who demonstrate outstanding sporting talent and commitment.

Esmee Donkers of the Netherlands, a 20-year-old dressage Young Rider. Esmee captured team silver and indiidual and freestyle gold at this year’s European Championships after earning bronze in 2017.
Esmee Donkers after a 2018 European Young Rider Championship Nations Cup ride. © Lily Forado for dressage-news.com

Victor Levecque of France, eventing

Felix Koller of Austria, jumping

Bunty Howard of Zamba,  jumping

Best Athlete – paying tribute to some incredible performances during the year, notably at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon and the Asian Games, which took the sport to a new level.

Stinna Kaastrup of Denmark, para dressage

Simone Blum of Germany, jumping

Yoshiaki Oiwa of Japan, eventing

Lambert Leclezio of France, vaulting

Best Groom – the behind-the-scenes equestrian who ensures the horses are given the best possible care.

Steffi Wiegard of Germany, head groom for Isabell Werth

Steffi always considers her horses first,  day or night. Her love for the horses can be seen in how she cares for them–accompanying them everywhere, plane, ship or trailer, and at shows.

Lee McKeever of USA, jumping, groom for McLain Ward

Alex Tyler-Morris of Great Britain, jumping, groom for Harrie Smolders

Lucy Miles of New Zealand, eventing, groom for Jonelle and Tim Price

Against All Odds – for an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.

Sammie Fritz of USA, dressage

Sammie of Plymouth, Minnesota started riding at the age 7. She was forced to sell her first horse, Rohanna, after parents divorced and her mother lost her life’s savings to financial fraud; she was then diagnosed with breast cancer. She later found another horse, Ferra, through a school friend that had never been in a show ring. In 2017, she competd Ferra for the first time and ended the season as Region 4 1st level Region 4 Championship Title. In 2018, Sammie made it to first alternate for the North American Championships in New York; created a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the trip and took team silver.

Kate Shoemaker of USA, para dressage

Leila Malki of Palestine, jumping

Sara Morganti of Italy, para dressage

FEI Solidarity – for an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, an individual or organzsation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding the sport.

Mercedes Campdera of Mexico

Mercedes has been involved in FEI World Dressage Challenge ground juries for about 20 years, one of a select few Technical Experts delivering Equestrian Sports Educative Events in Latin America. ESEE is an FEI Solidarity program aimed at educating and certifying officials in National Federations which have no education system in place. She is an FEI 4* dressage judge and 4* judge for Young Horses, 3* para dressage judge and Level 3 eventing dressage judge.

Julie Battams of Australia and Equine Pathways

The Horsemanship charity programme of China

Riders of Hope, Bosnia and Herzegovina