Double of awards for 'awe-inspiring' Hickstead moments

Two stand out moments from this year's international shows were recognised at the 2023 British Equestrian Media Association’s (BEMA) Awards 

Bema 3

Two of the standout moments from Hickstead's international season were recognised at the 2023 British Equestrian Media Association’s (BEMA) Awards.

The awards took place during a lunch at the London International Horse Show on Thursday 14 December.  

Robert Whitaker’s King George V Gold Cup victory at the Royal International Horse Show aboard the homebred Vermento was voted BEMA Moment of the Year.

Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn said: “We are delighted that Robert Whitaker and Vermento’s win in the King George V Gold Cup has been recognised by BEMA members as the Moment of the Year.

“Robert produced the only clear round of the competition to win in definitive style, giving us the first British winner of this Grand Prix since 2013. Even more special, Robert’s winning ride was bred by his father John, by his great stallion Argento. John had been part of the winning Nations Cup team at Hickstead just two days previously, making it an extraordinary show for the Brits.”

Hickstead had double reason to celebrate, with a photo taken by freelance journalist and photographer Tilly Berendt winning the inaugural Kit Houghton Photo of the Year Award, sponsored by Fairfax & Favor. 

The photo was of Harriet Biddick and Silver Lift’s tack malfunction during the British Speed Derby. The 18-year-old gelding looked certain to set a new record for the greatest number of wins for a horse in the class. But as they tackled the Irish bank, Silver Lift’s bridle slipped over his head. The pair popped through the treble of Hickstead planks – the penultimate question on the Speed Derby course – but as the crowd started to roar them home, it became clear that the bridle had come off completely.

Tilly, who was working for Hickstead’s press office that week, captured the moment Harriet lifted her hands to the sky – complete with the bridle. “We arranged that I would go out and take some emotion shots for the press office and I happened to be totally in the right place at the right time,” said Tilly.

“I just happened to be really lucky to be outside the press office with a 300mm lens and got her reaction. I mean, gosh she played it well. She jumped the treble beautifully and just laughed her way to the in-gate!”

Lizzie Bunn added: “Hickstead’s Derby classes are known for producing thrills and spills, but few could have predicted what happened in this year’s British Speed Derby. Not only was this image a real hit on social media, but the video of the moment went viral, with more than 40 million views. 

“In this photo, Harriet's expression perfectly reflected how we were all feeling – a mixture of shock, disappointment, relief and amazement – and this is perfectly encapsulated in Tilly’s winning image. It’s a photo that shows all the drama and emotion of our sport, and we think Tilly is a very worthy winner of this inaugural competition.”

To read about the rest of this year's Award winners, click here


Harriet Biddick by Tilly Berendt

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