Legendary show producer Allister Hood won the Lifetime Achievement Award at last night’s Horse & Hound Awards 2021 in partnership with NAF.

Allister, who said he wouldn’t change a minute of his long career, retired from the sport in July this year after winning his ninth Royal International supreme horse title.

“I’ve ridden so many nice horses that I couldn’t just choose one as my favourite, though Our Cashel Blue has to be a highlight,” said Allister, naming the cob on whom he won his final Royal International supreme.

“We’ve both returned to the show ring after health scares – Blue was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and I had a heart attack – and repeated our successes.”

Allister also shared a memory from Blue’s early days which illustrates the importance of patience and his skill as a horseman in bringing a tricky young horse to his peak: “I remember when Blue was a novice, I went into the house after riding him one day and said to my wife Anne: ‘I think he’s one of the best we’ve ever had, but we might never get him into the ring’.”

After the 2020 virtual awards, the sponsors and guests were all excited to return to a glittering in-person celebration, held last night (Wednesday, 1 December) at Cheltenham racecourse. More than 250 people attended, with celebrities from across the equestrian world present.

Other winners included Olympic individual showjumping gold medallists Ben Maher and Explosion W (Bloomfields Horse of the Year and NAF Five Star Magic Moment of the Year), Tokyo eventing team gold and individual silver medallist Tom McEwen (Uvex Helmets Professional Rider of the Year) and Ruby Hughes, a rising star in the dressage world who took the Tommy Hilfiger Equestrian Young Rider of the Year title.

“I want to thank everyone for voting for me – it’s very kind and a bit overwhelming,” said Tom. “It’s down to my home team and my supporters and sponsors. Without the hard work of every single one of them, I would not be up here now.”

The Horse & Hound Awards 2021 winners:

  • Bloomfields Horse of the Year: Explosion W
  • Stallion AI Services Pony of the Year: Redwings Phoenix
  • Uvex Helmets Professional Rider of the Year: Tom McEwen
  • Pikeur Amateur Rider of the Year: Lauren Innes
  • NAF Five Star Magic Moment of the Year: Ben Maher winning Olympic gold
  • Tommy Hilfiger Equestrian Young Rider of the Year: Ruby Hughes
  • NAF Five Star PROFEET Farrier of the Year: Chris Bailey
  • Horse Dialog Equestrian Club of the Year: Stoneleigh
  • Absorbine Groom of the Year: Tilly Hughes
  • Dengie Volunteer of the Year: Adrian Bigg
  • Baileys Horse Feeds Vet of the Year: Elizabeth Frew
  • Outstanding Contribution: Dickie Waygood
  • Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement: Allister Hood

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