Image: Equestrian Australia Hall of Fame inductees from left to right: Barry Roycroft, John Fahey, Neale Lavis, Wayne Roycroft. Image credit: Julie Wilson/Equestrian Australia
More than 220 leading members of the equestrian and sporting communities gathered in the Olympic Room of the MCG to celebrate the sport’s highest achievers of 2015 as part of the Equestrian Australia Sport Achievement Awards.
Equestrian greats and enthusiasts joined award finalists, their families and friends as well a host of industry members at the Rio themed occasion which was hosted by Olympic swimmer Nicole Livingstone.
As well as honouring the highest achievers within the sport of 2015, the annual awards dinner also paid tribute to the legends of the sport through a new round of Hall of Fame inductions.
This year’s recipients included Olympian John Fahey who represented Australia in Jumping at the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games. Fahey’s fourth place finish at the Tokyo Games remains the best Olympic Games result of an Australian Jumping rider and earned him a place in the Hall of Fame individual category.
“I was only 21 and had never been out of Australia before; I’d never been on a ship. We sailed to Tokyo – it was such an experience to go there and watch the international horses,” said Fahey.
“It’s unbelievable to see how things have progressed in the sport over the last 50 years.”
Fahey formed many lasting partnerships with horses over the years but it was his Olympic partner Bonvale which he ranked amongst his favourite.
“Dad bought him in 1959 for 550 pounds which was a lot of money in those days. And we got to the local show and I was only 15 but we wanted to see how good he was so we put him in the high jump. Well he clean jumped seven foot two.”
“He wasn’t a difficult horse, all he wanted to do was jump.”
Olympian, coach and leading Eventing judge Barry Roycroft was honoured in the service to sport category, while Neale Lavis’ silver medal winning horse from the Rome Olympics was this year’s horse induction. The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Eventing team was inducted in the team’s category.
FEI Best Athlete, Boyd Exell was awarded Ariat International Athlete of the Year for the fourth time, adding to his wins in this category in 2010, 2013 and 2014. Exell’s four in hand team of horses – Demi, Conversano, Cselentano, Clinton Star, Bajnok and Lucky, who assisted Exell to a record breaking sixth FEI World Cup Driving title won the IRT International Horse of the Year award.
The Australian International Three Day Event, which hosted the Equestrian Grand Final, bringing FEI World Cup Jumping and FEI Dressage to the event for the first time, was awarded AIS Event of the year.
2015 Equestrian Australia Sport Achievement Award Winners
KER Owner of the Year – Nicole Brown
Administrator of the Year – Tina Stafford
Domestic Horse of the Year – Cera Cassiago
IRT International Horse of the Year – Boyd Exell’s four in hand team of Demi, Conversano, Cselentano, Clinton Star, Bajnok and Lucky
Gow-Gates Club of the Year – Sydney Show Jumping Club
Gow-Gates Coach of the Year – James Collin
Gow-Gates Volunteer of the Year – Joy Charlton
Gow-Gates Official of the Year – Suzanne Betts
AIS Event of the Year – The Australian International Three Day Event
Barastoc Young Athlete of the Year – Isabel English
Ariat International Athlete of the Year – Boyd Exell
Ariat Domestic Athlete of the Year – Brett Parbery
Please click HERE to have the detailed information on each Award winner.
Hall of Fame Inductees – click HERE for more information on the award recipients
Individual Achievement Category: John Fahey
Service to Sport Category: Barry Roycroft
Outstanding Horse Category: Mirrabooka
Team’s category: 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games Eventing Team
The Equestrian Australia Sport Achievement Awards Night is proudly sponsored by: