World No. 1 Kent Farrington has claimed the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider and the U.S. Olympic mare HH Azur was declared the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse at a special presentation in the Paris City Hall on April 11.
Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington took over the No. 1 slot in the Longines World Rankings in May 2017 and refused to allow anyone to break his winning streak, remaining at the top of the elite list for the rest of the year. The 37-year-old, who is well on the road to recovery after breaking his right leg in a fall in mid-February, received the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider after finishing the year on 3,313 points, holding off those snapping at his heels: Harrie Smolders, of the Netherlands, on 2,953 points and fellow U.S. Olympian McLain Ward on 2,903.
The 12-year-old HH Azur, which McLain Ward rode to victory at last year’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska, added another major accolade to her collection when being named the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse. Affectionately known as “Annie”, the mare is owned by Double H Farms and Francois Mathy, who collected the award at tonight’s presentation accompanied by his wife Claudia Mathy and Ward.
“We are delighted to the Longines FEI best rider and best horse here tonight in Paris in this beautiful setting of the Mairie de Paris, a fitting prelude to the FEI World Cup Finals,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said.
“We are all inspired by how these athletes-both human and equine-ignite the passion in our sport and show us what it takes to succeed on the world stage,” he continued. “In addition, the successful partnership we have established with Longines, demonstrating the synergies between the brand and our sport, not only give extra recognition to our athletes, but the creation of these awards has given additional value to the Longines rankings and provides a further incentive to our athletes worldwide.”
Kent Farrington and HH Azur’s co-owner François Mathy were each presented with a Longines watch from the Longines Saint-Imier Collection as well as a replica trophy of the crystal winged hourglass representing the brand’s emblem at the inaugural ceremony in Paris, alongside the FEI World Cup Finals 2018 draws for Jumping and Dressage.
Capturing the suspense and excitement throughout the year as the world’s best jumping athletes battled it out on the international circuit, these two new awards recognize the achievement and outstanding performances in Jumping across the globe.