The Fédération Equestre International announced the winners of the 2011 FEI Awards on Nov. 14 in Rio de Janeiro. The winners are:
- FEI Best Rider Award: Adelinde Cornelissen (the Netherlands)
- With her Dutch Warmblood gelding Jerich Parzival, Cornelissen won all five Reem Acra FEI World Cup qualifiers in which she competed, as well as the Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle at the Final in Leipzig, Germany, in 2011. Cornelissen and Parzival also won the Grand Prix freestyle and Grand Prix Special at the FEI European Dressage Championships in August in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- Development Award: Soraya Ourrais (France)
- Ourrais received the FEI Development Award for her work in promoting equestrian sport in Cambodia, an area that has seen little in the way of horses since the 1970s. Ourrais is a Level 1 FEI Coach, and she trained Cambodia’s first judge and instructor. She also helped start Horse Future, a program in Cambodia that benefits underprivileged children and has provided Cambodia with its national equestrian team.
- Against All Odds Award: Meg Wade (Australia)
- Wade, a leading endurance rider from Australia, had a serious fall at a competition in 2009 that left her hospitalized for six weeks with a traumatic brain injury. She then spent 255 days in another hospital for rehab. She got back on a horse in November of 2010, and 11 months later, Wade completed a 3.1-mile ride. She had her driving license reinstated in January, so she can drive to events and ride a quad bike on the courses to monitor the horses that she continues to train.
- HSBC Rising Star Award: Nina Ligon (Thailand)
- Ligon has become the face of Thailand’s campaign to develop eventing throughout the country and an inspiration for young riders. Although based in the United States, the 20-year-old has ridden for Thailand since 2007, when she earned invidiual and team gold at the Southeast Asian Games in Pattaya. In 2010, she helped her country win silver at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
- Best Groom Award: Alice Gaillard (France)
- Gaillard has been grooming at Etrier de Bourgogne, in Dijon, France, for more than 50 years. At the age of 75, she still grooms for eventing riders such as Marie-Christine Duroy, Bruno Bouvier, and Jean Teulere. She has groomed at Olympic and World Equestrian Games, and many international events.