The eagerly-anticipated FEI Awards 2023 have revealed exciting changes as online voting opens today for the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete, Longines FEI Rising Star, Cavalor FEI Best Groom and Pivo FEI Inspire Awards.
Followers of the annual event, will no doubt notice that this year’s edition features just four categories, with the introduction of the Pivo FEI Inspire Award, uniting elements from the FEI Solidarity Award and the FEI Against All Odds Award. As the name suggests, the Award has been designed to showcase the incredible spirit and determination of individuals who serve as role models and show that anything is possible.
The FEI Inspire Award also proudly welcomes sponsor, Pivo, who became the FEI’s Official Technology Training Partner earlier this year. Pivo’s support stands alongside long-time sponsors Longines, Cavalor, and Peden Bloodstock.
The nominees in the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete category, include Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, fresh from a triumphant victory at the FEI Jumping European Championship in Milano (ITA), and Germany’s Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl, an undisputed powerhouse in Dressage, who has a series of gold medals to her name including a double gold at the FEI Dressage European Championship 2023 in Riesenbeck (GER). They are joined by Eventing’s Rosalind (Ros) Canter of Great Britain, who is currently ranked #2 and boasts an impressive list of wins in 2023, including the prestigious CCI5* Badminton title, and double gold at the FEI Eventing European Championship in Haras du Pin (FRA). Rounding off the list is Driving’s Marijke Hammink from the Netherlands, who holds the top position in the FEI Driving World Ranking Pony Four-in-Hand, and had an exceptional year with 11 consecutive wins throughout the season, including individual and team gold at the FEI Driving World Championship for Ponies four-in-hand in Oirschot (NED).
Celebrating the unsung behind-the-scenes heroes, the Cavalor FEI Best Groom category includes Steve Guerdat’s groom Emma Uusi-Simola (FIN) and Sarah Charnley (GBR) who grooms for Ros Canter. Also in the running are Danny Ingratta, a devoted groom at Millar Brooke Farm (CAN), and Sofia Flodin (SWE), who is responsible for the well-being of Dressage star Mathias Rath’s (GER) horses.
The Longines FEI Rising Star category, which spotlights young talents who have already left their mark on the equestrian landscape, includes 21-year-old Christian Simonson from the USA who has made waves in Dressage this year, and Endurance’s Rodrigo Storani Saliba of Brazil, who at 20 years old is already proving himself a force to be reckoned with. Another 20-year-old, Vaulting sensation Quentin Jabet (FRA) and USA’s Mimi Gochman, a 19-year-old Jumping prodigy have also made it to the final list of nominees.
Among the nominees for the new Pivo FEI Inspire category is Valeria Bonfiglio (ITA) who proves that passion and determination are not a number. At age 54, Bonfiglio entered her first Endurance event, and then took her first top placement in a 160km ride at 57. She is joined be Jennie Sharpe (GBR) who defied medical expectations after being diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome, and made a triumphant return to the saddle despite physical challenges. Completing the list of nominees is plane crash survivor Federico Fernandez Senderos from Mexico who, despite severe burns and vision impairment, competes successfully at 5* level in Jumping, and the Ukrainian Vaulting team of Polina Shovkova and Kateryna (Katya) Panasenko who fulfilled their dreams of competing at the FEI Vaulting World Championship for Juniors despite the war raging in their country.
The public have until 22 October to cast their vote for the 16 shortlisted candidates from 13 countries.
Established in 2009, the FEI Awards celebrate individuals and organisations that are making an outstanding contribution to the progress and excellence of equestrian sport, both in and outside the arena.
The lucky winners will be flown to the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Mexico City (MEX) on 21 November.
The shortlisted nominees for the FEI Awards 2023 are:
Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete
paying tribute to the athlete who over the past year has demonstrated exceptional skill and taken the sport to a new level.
• Steve Guerdat (SUI) – Jumping
• Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl (GER) – Dressage
• Ros Canter (GBR) – Eventing
• Marijke Hammink (NED) – Driving
Longines FEI Rising Star
for the athlete aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment.
• Christian Simonson (USA) – Dressage
• Rodrigo Storani Saliba (BRA) – Endurance
• Quentin Jabet (FRA) – Vaulting
• Mimi Gochman (USA) – Jumping
Cavalor FEI Best Groom
for the behind-the-scenes hero who ensures the horses they look after are given the best possible care.
• Danny Ingratta (CAN) – Jumping groom at Millar Brooke Farm (CAN) (Ian & Amy Miller)
• Sarah Charnley (GBR) – Eventing groom for Rosalind (Ros) Canter (GBR)
• Emma Uusi-Simola (FIN) – Jumping groom for Steve Guerdat (SUI)
• Sofia Flodin (SWE) – Dressage groom for Mathias Rath (GER)
Pivo FEI Inspire
For an individual who has pursued their equestrian ambition in an inspiring way and serves as a role model to show that everything is possible, and that even when faced with challenges, you should never stop believing in your dreams.
• Valeria Bonfiglio (ITA) – Endurance athlete – Passionate Motivator
• Jennie Sharpe (GBR) – Jumping athlete with physical impairment – Resilience Champion
• Federico Fernandez Senderos (MEX) – Ultimate Survivor
• Ukrainian Vaulting team of Polina Shovkova and Kateryna (Katya) Panasenko – Youth Sport Advocates
The winners will be decided through a system in which 50% of the public’s vote via FEI.org and on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, and 50% of the judges’ vote will be combined to give the final result. The seven expert judges are as follows:
• Ingmar De Vos – FEI President & Chair of the Judges Panel
• Bernardo Tribolet – Vice President Marketing Longines
• Martin Atock – Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award Title Sponsor
• Peter Bollen – Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award Title Sponsor
• Daniela Garcia Nigaglioni – Secretary General of the Pan American Equestrian Confederation
• Jessica Kürten – Chair of the Athletes Committee and member of the FEI Board
• Diane Smith – FEI Solidarity Award winner 2022