Competitors and the team behind Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) waved an emotional farewell to retiring stalwarts who have committed decades of their lives to making the show a success.
Showjumping course-designer Bob Ellis, Pony Club steward Danny Wilson and the show’s FEI chief veterinary delegate James Sutton worked their final HOYS this week (2 to 6 October).
Mr Ellis was awarded the HOYS equestrian of the year trophy for his lifetime contribution to the sport.
“I had absolutely no idea and it is such an honour,” said Mr Ellis, who was presented with the award on Puissance night (Saturday, 5 October) by Grandstand Media chairman Sandy Anderson.
“Having been a part of HOYS for 44 years it’s quite emotional to be saying goodbye. But I will be back next year as a spectator and I am confident that I am leaving it in good hands.”
This year also marked the final one as part of the HOYS team for Mr Wilson, who has stewarded the Pony Club mounted games at the show for more than 25 years.
He first became involved in 1993, when the show was still at Wembley, and thousands of children have children have benefited from his guidance.
“It’s been great fun and a privilege to be involved with the show for so many years,” he said. “The people are amazing, and I have genuinely made life-long friends.”
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Mr Sutton is retiring after 45 years as HOYS’ FEI chief veterinary delegate.
“The vets at HOYS work tirelessly behind the scenes to protect the welfare of the 1,600 horses and ponies who compete throughout the week,” said a HOYS spokesman.
“After 45 years of service James has embarked on his retirement with a presentation from Grandstand Media’s chairman, Mr Anderson.”
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