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  • Celia Rijntjes (NED) Janne Bugtrup

    Celia Rijntjes (NED) Winner of the Best Groom Award 2012

    Celia Rijntjes has groomed for Swedish Jumping rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson for 13 years, since they both worked in the Netherlands for 1992 Olympic Team Gold medallist Jan Tops.

    Rolf  set up his own stables in Breitenburg, Germany in 2003 and offered Celia a job. She has looked after the Olympic silver medallist’s top horses ever since.

    Rolf  is full of praise for Celia.  “You could not find a better groom for your horses or to take responsibility for your stables,” he said. “She is always on top of things and always puts the horses’ needs above her own. I never have to worry one minute about the horses or the arrangements made for them.”

    Celia  has worked at Olympic Games, FEI World Equestrian Games™ and Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals, among other events, where she has also supported the Swedish equestrian teams. Anders Mellberg, President of the Swedish Equestrian Federation, has praised her reliability and team spirit.

    Best Groom Best Groom
  • Courtney King-Dye (USA) Photo: ©

    Courtney King-Dye (USA) Winner of the Against All Odds Award 2012


    Courtney King-Dye took to the saddle when she was nine. Years later, she represented the United States at the FEI World Cup™ Finals 2007 and 2008  and the Beijing Olympic Games. Along the way, she became a USDF-certified Dressage instructor and trainer and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in literature.
    In 2010, a horse Courtney was schooling tripped and fell. Courtney, who was not wearing a helmet, fractured her skull and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. After four weeks in a coma, she spent three months in hospital re-learning how to walk and talk and the accident still severely affects her coordination and speech.
    She advocates educating equestrians on the benefits of wearing helmets through the Riders4Helmets campaign (
    Although Courtney is still undergoing rehabilitation therapy, she qualified for the US Paralympic Team Selection trials for London 2012. She decided to wait and now aims to qualify for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014.
    Against All Odds Against All Odds
  • Thomas McDermott (AUS) Photo: © Julie Wilson

    Thomas McDermott (AUS) Winner of the Rising Star Award 2012


    Thomas McDermott’s meteoric rise to success on Australia’s elite Jumping scene has been impressive. Not only has his talent earned him Equestrian Australia’s Young Athlete of the Year title for the second time, he is also the first athlete in his country to become both National Junior Champion and Young Rider Champion. In addition, he holds the National Young Rider of the Year title for the second year.
    In 2011, Thomas enjoyed success on the senior circuit, competing at Gawler, South Australia in his third Jumping World Cup qualifier and winning it. This year he has followed up that victory with a second World Cup qualifier win at the Sydney Royal Show. 
    After three months’ training in Germany this year with acclaimed trainer Gilbert Bockmann, Thomas took the Young Rider and Senior titles at the Australian Jumping Championships in September – another feat that no other young athlete in his country has achieved.
    Rising Star Rising Star
  • Shumbashaba-Horses Helping People: Sharon Boyce (RSA) Photo: © Michelle James

    Shumbashaba-Horses Helping People: Sharon Boyce (RSA) Winner of the Development Award 2012


    Sharon Boyce founded Shumbashaba more than 20 years ago as a therapeutic riding centre for people with special needs. Over the years, its activities diversified to include equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning.
    This non-profit organisation improves the quality of life of seriously disadvantaged people in the township of Diepsloot near Johannesburg, often  working in partnership with government departments and non-profit organisations operating there.
    Its ground-based programmes have had a positive impact on teenagers faced with poverty, limited educational opportunities and unemployment by teaching them to relate to others, their environment and themselves on the basis on awareness, integrity, respect and trust. Children with disabilities from these communities, who have limited access to health facilities and treatment, benefit enormously from Shumbashaba’s therapeutic riding programme.
    Shumbashaba’s services range from non-riding “Youth at Risk”, “Trauma recovery and victim support” and “Substance abuse and eating disorder” programmes to psycho-educational riding and therapeutic riding and disability sport for people with disabilities.
    Development Development
  • Michael Jung (GER) Photo: © FEI / Holger Schupp

    Michael Jung (GER) Winner of the Best Athlete Award 2012


    Michael Jung turned thirty on 31 July 2012, the day he became the first rider to simultaneously hold Olympic, European and World titles and contributed to Team Germany’s Olympic gold medal.  A month earlier, he had triumphed at the penultimate leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ at Luhmühlen (GER), going on to finish in fourth place on the final leaderboard of the same series.
    In August 2011, Michael took gold in the final of the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships – again at Luhmühlen – where a year later he was crowned champion at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships.
    Michael, who topped the HSBC FEI World Cup rankings in 2010, the year he won the individual World title at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™,  is reputed as an outstanding and sympathetic horseman, who is also successful in Grand Prix level Jumping and Dressage.
    Best Athlete Best Athlete