Lexington, Ky. – The FEI has announced the opening of the voting period for the 2021 FEI Awards on October 5, and US Equestrian is pleased to congratulate the members of the American equestrian community who have been named finalists.
In the Best Groom category, Stephanie Simpson has been nominated for her role as groom for Olympic eventing athlete Boyd Martin. A native of Vermont, Simpson has worked for Martin for four years at his home base in Pennsylvania and across the globe for the world’s most prestigious competitions, including the FEI World Equestrian Games and the Olympics. Simpson was nominated for the award not only for her expertise in care and management of top competition horses, but her genuine love of the animals in her care and her relentless energy in ensuring that every detail is handled, both at home and on the road.
Paralympian Beatrice de Lavalette is a finalist in the Against All Odds category, in recognition of her journey from losing her legs in the March 2016 terrorist attack at the Zaventem Airport in Brussels, Belgium, to becoming a world-class athlete in the sport of para dressage. De Lavalette spent a month in a coma, recovering from a spinal cord injury, severe burns, and the amputation of her lower legs. With the support of family, friends, and horses, she worked through the long physical and emotional recovery process, and re-learned how to ride. This process led her to the sport of para dressage, and in 2021 she represented the U.S. at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Watch Bea de Lavalette tell her story here.
The Compton Cowboys are a collective of lifelong friends who have made it their mission to uplift their community through horses while drawing on the rich legacy of African American cowboy culture. By bringing horses and equestrian activities to their Los Angeles neighborhood, the Cowboys introduce local youth to opportunities they might not otherwise see. The group started Compton Junior Equestrians as a nonprofit organization that brings kids into the barn where they learn about horse care, riding, and training along with other educational activities while bringing the joy of horses to their community. For their important work in preserving culture and building community, The Compton Cowboys are nominated for the FEI Solidarity Award.
Voting for the FEI Awards opened on October 5 and closes on Sunday, October 17. Learn more about all of the finalists and cast your vote at fei.org/awards.