Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll is the first recipient of the FEI Lifetime Achievement Award. It was given in recognition of her leading role as a supporter of equestrian sport during her reign as British monarch.
The award was presented by FEI President and humanitarian HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace, in the presence of former FEI President the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip, and Keith Taylor, Chairman of the British Equestrian Federation.
Horses played a role in The Queen’s life from a very young age. She had her first riding lesson in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews when she was just three years old, and was given her first pony, the Shetland mare Peggy, by her grandfather King George V, on her fourth birthday.
Thoroughbred horses bred by The Queen have won more than 1,600 races. She also breeds Shetland, Highland and Fell ponies to ensure that traditional bloodlines in these native breeds are preserved and enhanced.
The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, interviewed last year for a BBC documentary, The Queen: A Passion For Horses, believes the importance of horses in Her Majesty’s life cannot be overestimated: “When she became Queen, she had to sacrifice an awful lot of emotions and thoughts of the future, but with horses it’s another world in that it reduces you to just the person in relation to the animal, and you’re not a Queen, you’re just a human being.” From Equine Wellness Magazine Feb/Mar 2015