FEI Awards 2023 Winners

FEI Awards Gala 2023, Mexico City (MEX). Federico Fernandez Senderos (MEX) FEI Inspire, Mimi Gochman (USA) Rising Star, Emma Uusi-Simola, Best Groom (FIN) | An Eventful Life
(L-R) Emma Uusi-Simola, Cavalor Best Groom (FIN)  Federico Fernandez Senderos (MEX) Pivo Inspire, Mimi Gochman (USA) Longines Rising Star

For the first time in several years, eventing came away empty handed from the gala FEI Awards night.

Mexico City’s Colegio de la Vizcainas provided a stunning backdrop for the 2023 edition of the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines, which celebrated international and home-grown winners across four categories of equestrian excellence.

Sadly, the two nominees from eventing – Britain’s Ros Canter and her groom, Sarah Charnley – were not among the recipients, but they are still stars in our eyes!

This year’s winners were decided by combining 50% of the public votes cast on FEI.org, and 50% of the judges’ votes. National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders attended the FEI Awards, with well-known Mexican TV presenter Gloria Cazalda as Master of Ceremonies.

Mimi Gochman – Longines FEI Rising Star

The evening saw 19-year-old Mimi Gochman (USA) take home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award, created to recognise young athletes between the ages of 14 and 21 who demonstrate outstanding equestrian sporting talent.

The young Rising Star, who is currently pursuing a degree at USA’s Ivy League school Brown University, has already made her mark on the international stage with three senior FEI Jumping Nations Cup team appearances.

“Riding means everything to me. It’s the thing I've been doing my whole entire life and for which I’m very grateful” said Mimi on accepting the award from Longines International Sponsorship and Event Manager Michael Vuilleumier

“I've always had a connection to horses. I think they're incredible animals, and I'm lucky enough to spend my time with them. This sport has taught me a lot of valuable life lessons, and I hope to continue it as long as I can. Horses are very intelligent and when you make that relationship with them, a deep relationship, they work extremely hard to win with you.”

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl wins Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was the recipient of this year’s Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award, presented by Managing Director of Peden Bloodstock Martin Atock. Unable to attend the ceremony in person, Jessica accepted the honour via video.

“I feel very honoured to have won the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award,” Jessica said.

“Dalera is probably the most intelligent horse I've ever worked with so far in my life! She is the cuddliest version when we are in the stable and walking together, and she is a rockstar when we enter the arena. Dalera and I have a very special relationship. We love each other and we love what we are doing together. And this is something I really have to think of as a rider - How can I make my horses love me? And how can I make my horses love what we are doing?

“I always say don’t train hard, but train smart. Sometimes I think: How is it possible to feel so much love for so many animals and people? But it’s exactly what makes riding horses so special.

“I'm so sorry I can't be in Mexico tonight, but I want to say a huge thank you to everybody who voted for us. I always have to say ‘us’ because this is not only my success. It is Dalera’s and mine, and the success of my family and the whole team around us. And I want to thank all of them, and all of you, for making this happen!”

Jessica has won the individual European Champion title an impressive six times and has taken the FEI Dressage World Cup Final title for the past two years. With her exceptional mare TSF Dalera BB, Jessica remains an unstoppable force, dominating the FEI Dressage World Rankings, winning double gold at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and maintaining an unbroken streak of victories since then.

Emma Uusi-Simola claims Cavalor Best Groom Award

Emma Uusi-Simola (FIN) clinched this year's prestigious Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award, in recognition of her outstanding dedication and hard work as groom for Swiss athlete Steve Guerdat.

Over the past decade, Emma has been an integral part of Steve's team, demonstrating unwavering passion and commitment through the highs and lows of the sport. A trusted member of the Swiss team, Emma is often the groom of choice when travelling to equestrian events overseas is required. Her special bond with Steve’s horse Dynamix, her understanding of her athlete’s needs as well as her ability to anticipate and adapt to any situation has been pivotal to his success.

“Horses are my whole life. I love to work with them because they challenge me every day. All of them have their own personality, and I have to figure out how to handle each and every one of them” said Emma

“You need time to get to know the horses and it does not happen in one day. Some horses are easier and some horses are more difficult. With some of them you need two years to figure out what they like and don’t like.”

Federico Fernández Senderos wins Pivo FEI Inspire Award

The last award of the evening was presented to Federico Fernández Senderos (MEX) who won the newly created Pivo FEI Inspire Award, in his hometown of Mexico City. As the name suggests, the Award has been designed to showcase the incredible spirit and determination of individuals who serve as role models and show that anything is possible.

Aged 19, Federico was one of just three people to survive a plane crash in which more than 50 people were killed. After months of intensive recovery and with a new take on life, Federico returned to competition and has gone on to become one of Mexico’s most well-known Jumping athletes.

Federico has participated in seven FEI World Equestrian Games™, three Olympic Games, and won a silver medal, together with team Mexico, at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo (DOM) in 2003. He has also competed at countless CSIO5* Longines FEI Nations Cup competitions, with wins in Xalapa (MEX) and Dublin (IRL), to name a few.

For Federico, family is his motivation, entrepreneurship his drive, and horses his passion. He is known, respected and admired by many for his philosophy of letting go of what can’t be changed, focusing on making life meaningful and always expecting that the best is yet to come.

Receiving the award from CEO of Pivo Ken Kim, Federico said: “For me to receive the PIVO FEI Inspire Award is an honour. I should be the one to say thank you for all that equestrian has done for me because it has been so important in my life.

“I'm going out every morning with passion and I try to make every day special and happy for myself and for the people whose lives I touch daily. I really think that horses are the healthiest way of taking a step back into real nature and into the basics of life. It is about interacting with the animal and not with technology or anything else. Getting on a horse heals every physical and mental pain and it’s just an indescribable moment when you’re on top of a horse.”

“All week during the FEI Hybrid General Assembly 2023, we have spoken about our role as governing bodies, what more we need to do to serve our sport and our stakeholders, and how we can build a better future for the next generation of equestrians,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“And tonight, we are celebrating the individuals who effectively inspire our decision-making process and the many discussions we have behind the scenes, so that we can provide them with the very best platform to thrive. So, this is a special night and I look forward to this occasion every year.”

FEI Awards 2023 | Mimi Gochman Rising Star | Jessica von Bredow-Werndl Best Athlete | Emma Uusi-Simola Best Groom | Federico Fernández Senderos Inspire Award | An Eventful Life