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FEI Awards 2021 Celebrate Outstanding Achievement in Equestrian

The number may bring bad luck for some, but for the winners of the 13e edition of the FEI Awards, tonight was definitely an unforgettable moment as the stars of equestrian sport were honored in Antwerp (BEL). This year’s celebration also included the winners of the FEI Awards in 2020, which were celebrated virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can watch the 2021 FEI Awards Gala here

Peder Fredricson (SWE) took the FEI Award for Best Peden Bloodstock Athlete, adding to his already impressive record of medals at the Olympic and European Championships, as well as his number one spot on the Longines World Ranking which he took in October 2021 for the first time in his career.

In addition to winning individual silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in August, his exceptional performances helped Sweden win their first Olympic gold in team show jumping in nearly 100 years. The medal marked 29 years since Peder Fredricson made his Olympic debut at the age of 20 at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, when he was an accomplished runner and Sweden’s youngest Olympic equestrian athlete.

The now 49-year-old man, who was unable to attend tonight’s gala dinner in person, thanked sponsor Peden Bloodstock general manager Martin Atock and everyone who voted for him in a video address.

“I am really proud and grateful for the Peden award for best athlete. It means a lot to me, my team and all of my owners, ”said Fredricson. “Many thanks to the FEI, to Longines for the beautiful watch and also to Peden Bloodstock for supporting the Prize. I also want to thank everyone who voted for me. I am also very happy to be number one in the Longines ranking. This is a goal that I have had for a few years.

“I always try to do my best and improve myself, my team and the horses, rather than beating someone else. We all work very hard to keep the horses fit and healthy, to achieve those goals and to earn many medals along the way. I am also very grateful to my horse owners who are by my side and provide me with this good horse chain. Thank you so much!”

The evening saw 19 years Greta Busacker (GERMANY) bring home this year Longines FEI Rising Star Award and an elegant timepiece from FEI Top Partner, Longines.

Longines FEI Rising Star Greta Busacker (GER), Semieke Rothenberger, Mathieu Baumgartner FEI Awards Gala 2021 presented by Longines Antwerp 2021 © FEI / Dirk Caremans 11/17/2021
Longines FEI Rising Star Greta Busacker (GER), Semieke Rothenberger, Mathieu Baumgartner
FEI 2021 Awards Gala presented by Longines Antwerp 2021
© FEI / Dirk Caremans

Individual and team champion at this year’s FEI European Eventing Young Riders Championships, and bronze medalist at the 2021 German National Young Riders Championships, Greta Busacker is quickly making a name for herself in the sport. Her victory made the FEI Awards a decidedly family affair, with her mother and eventing legend Ingrid Klimke receiving the 2019 and 2020 Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Awards.

“I am very happy to receive the Longines FEI Rising Star Award. Words cannot describe how honored I feel because there are so many talented young runners out there, ”she said. “They work as hard as I do and I can stay here. It’s for my whole team, my family, my friends. Without them, I would be nothing.

She also paid tribute to her horse, the 10 year old Oldenburg gelding Scrabble, with whom she has competed since 2019. “With Scrabble, I learned to be patient. When I stand in the starting box and the countdown is on, I know I can trust him one hundred percent. He has such courage and never gives up. Our connection is such a strong bond. Thanks Scrabble!

Longines vice-president of marketing, Matthieu Baumgartner, was present in Antwerp to present the Longines FEI Rising Star Award, created to reward young athletes aged 14 to 21 who demonstrate exceptional equestrian sporting talent.

“Young athletes like Greta are the future of equestrian sports and we are delighted and honored to play a role in what we know is a long and successful career,” he said.

“Longines presents an award that celebrates young talents, while telling their story of determination and passion for a sport. These young stars are the future of equestrian sports and we hope they will continue to inspire aspiring riders around the world for many years to come.

It was definitely Sweden’s night like Marie Johansson took the Best Cavalor FEI Groom Award, in recognition of his hard work and dedication to looking after the horses of dressage athlete Patrik Kittel. Patrik and his wife Lyndal Oatley were on hand to celebrate Marie Johansson’s victory.

Cavalor FEI Best Groom 2021, Marie Johansson, SWE, Peter Bollen, Patrick Kittel, Cavalor FEI Best Groom 2020, Carmen Thiemann, GER FEI Awards Gala 2021 presented by Longines Antwerp 2021 © FEI / Dirk Caremans 11/17/2021
Best Bride Cavalor FEI 2021, Marie Johansson, SWE, Peter Bollen, Patrick Kittel, Best Bride Cavalor FEI 2020, Carmen Thiemann, GER
FEI 2021 Awards Gala presented by Longines Antwerp 2021
© FEI / Dirk Caremans

The award, presented by Cavalor founder and CEO Peter Bollen, is presented annually to grooms working behind the scenes to provide the best possible care to their equine athletes. The Longines vice-president of marketing presented an elegant timepiece to the winner for its exceptional achievement.

“This award means everything to me,” she said. “It’s amazing that we, the grooms, can also be part of this gala. I’m so happy with all the people who voted for me, it’s so important. I am super happy and super proud! Truly!”

The FEI Solidarity Prize 2021 went to china Equuleus Charity, which aims to help disadvantaged young students achieve their equestrian dream while successfully completing their university studies.

Presented by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, Chairman of the FEI Solidarity Committee, the award is presented annually to an equestrian development project or to an individual or organization that has demonstrated competence, dedication and energy in the expansion of equestrian sport.

“I want to thank, first of all, the FEI and FEI Solidarity who really care about what people do,” said founder and CEO Michelle Wang Qiang. “I want to thank the Chinese Equestrian Association, which supports colleges, students and our charity, and I want to thank our partner foundations as well as Alex Hua Tin and his mother Sarah Noble.”

To celebrate the FEI Awards and pay homage to China’s centuries-old tradition of valuing and cherishing horses, Michelle Wang Qiang wrote, in calligraphy, an iconic text on how to identify an exceptional horse by a scholar, poet and government official of the 8th-century Tang Dynasty. Han Yu. She dedicated her calligraphy work to the FEI awards ceremony.

Taking the FEI price against all odds was Béatrice de Lavalette (United States), who lost both legs in the March 2016 terrorist attack at Zaventem Airport in Brussels (BEL) and made his first Paralympic debut in Tokyo earlier this year in the sport of para-dressage.

FEI Against All Odds 2021, Beatrice de Lavalette, USA, FEI 2021 Awards Gala presented by Longines Antwerp 2021 © FEI / Dirk Caremans 11/17/2021
FEI Against All Odds 2021, Beatrice de Lavalette, USA,
FEI 2021 Awards Gala presented by Longines Antwerp 2021
© FEI / Dirk Caremans

The Prize, which is awarded to someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical disability or extremely difficult personal circumstances, was presented by FEI General Secretary Sabrina Ibáñez and Belgian Paralympic Committee President Anne d’Ieteren . To further underline Béatrice de Lavalette’s accomplishment, Longines vice-president of marketing rewarded the winner with a refined timepiece.

“The Against All Odds Prize says it all,” said Béatrice de Lavalette. “The FEI represents the highest level of competition I can reach, so to be recognized by them is great and a real honor. It shows me that everything I’ve done over the past five or six years has been seen and that people have realized how important it really is.

“As a result of the attack, I lost part of myself and my freedom. It took a while for me to get over my sadness of losing my legs, losing my ability to walk, and waking up to a completely different life. Every time I ride a horse, I regain my freedom. I ride horses almost like everyone else. I ride very well on horseback. I love to do it. Experimenting and doing different things with horses gives a feeling of power that I often lose while sitting in a chair. So having that feeling of freedom and that power back means everything.

This year’s winners were chosen by combining 50% of the public votes cast on FEI.org and on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, and 50% of the judges’ votes.

“This is the first time since 2019 that we have been able to celebrate the stars of our sport in person,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “The global pandemic and the EHV-1 outbreak have been very difficult for our industry, and I am pleased that we have had the opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate these achievements this evening.

“This edition of the FEI Awards is special for me, not only because it takes place in a town near my home in Belgium, but also because it is the FEI’s centenary year. These awards, and the high caliber of nominees each year, continue to testify to the growth of our sport and give us great hope for the future. “

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