Two great riders and two incredible horses were welcomed into The British Horse Society Equestrian Hall of Fame during a ceremony held at the Household Cavalry’s Knightsbridge barracks earlier this month.
The BHS Hall of Fame celebrates the heroes and heroines — human and equine — of the equestrian world. Each year a select number of Britain’s most gifted horses and riders are invited to join the likes of William Fox-Pitt, HRH The Princess Royal, Sefton, Milton and Over to You in the list of equestrian greats.
The first horse to be inducted into the BHS Hall of Fame this year was dressage sensation Valegro, owned by Carl Hester MBE, Roly Luard and Anne Barrott. With his rider Charlotte Dujardin OBE and under the guidance of Hester, this remarkable horse has amassed a phenomenal record of eight Championship medals in just four years of competition.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hester said: “I think we’re just so lucky to have a day like this that celebrates horses, riders and the great things that happen in the equestrian world. Valegro has been such a massive part of the success of British dressage that this recognition is not just for us, but for everyone that’s supported him and seen him go from strength to strength.”
“We’re very, very proud of the horse, very proud of the rider and very proud of the trainer! We feel so lucky and privileged to be here on this fantastic day, I won’t forget this ever,” added Roly Luard.
Dujardin is also shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, with voting ending on December 14.
The second horse to be recognised was Big Star who, together with his rider Nick Skelton OBE, put in a foot perfect performance in the Team competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games to lead Great Britain to its first showjumping Team Gold in 60 years. The son of Quick Star, owned by Beverley and Gary Widdowson, has been produced by Skelton since he was a novice.
Beverley and Gary Widdowson said: “We are honoured to be here, Big Star has done us proud. We are very privileged to own a horse like him – his name certainly befits him!”
Two great riders were also honoured this year – both joining family members who already have a place in this elite group of equestrians. Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE LVO joins her sister, Jennie Loriston-Clarke FBHS MBE, in the Hall of Fame. As the first British woman to compete in Olympic eventing in Mexico 1968, Jane inspired a generation of young riders. The team brought home the Gold medal from Mexico and, in following years, Jane enjoyed many other great victories.
Speaking of her induction into the Hall of Fame, Holderness-Roddam said: “It’s a tremendous honour. Really it’s not just for me, it’s for all the people and horses along the way that have helped me to get where I am today. It’s a great feeling to see my plaque up there on the wall with all those superstars.”
William Funnell joins his wife Pippa as a member of the BHS Hall of Fame, making them the first husband and wife team to be recognised on this prestigious roll of honour. Funnell is a tremendous ambassador for British Showjumping and deeply respected for breeding and producing horses. A master at riding in the International Arena at Hickstead, one of his greatest achievements has been winning the Derby three times between 2006 and 2009 with Mondriaan.
“It’s fantastic to be inducted into the BHS Hall of Fame today,” he said. “When you see all the great names that are on the wall, to be up there with them feels very special.”
Members of the public may cast their vote to nominate equestrians and horses as laureates. Suggestions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.