As the nomination deadline approaches for the annual awards organised by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Haitian Para-Equestrian winner of last year’s FEI Against All Odds Award is calling on the equestrian community to nominate individuals whose efforts deserve acknowledgement.
The Against All Odds Award is given to an individual who has overcome personal setbacks or physical disabilities to pursue equestrian sport. It is one of five FEI Awards that reward outstanding dedication to horse sport.
Orphan Darlene Milord, who was born with the medical condition hemiplegia, has represented her country at the Special Olympics. Her passion for horses evolved from the riding therapy she received as part of a special needs programme at the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage in Haiti.
A judging panel, chaired by FEI President HRH Princess Haya, selected Milord as the winner of the 2009 Against All Odds award on the basis of a nomination that told the story of her love of horses and her determination to succeed in equestrian sport.
Milord, who received her prize at a special awards ceremony at the FEI General Assembly in Copenhagen, said: “Since the FEI Awards ceremony, I believe I have become a better rider because I was further motivated to improve my skills. I would like other riders like me to have a chance to live this experience.”
FEI Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Trond Asmyr commented: “Through my work at the FEI, I have met many admirable Para-Equestrian athletes. I sincerely believe that a partnership with a horse makes it possible for people with disabilities or in difficult personal circumstances to live better, happier and more rewarding lives. Last year’s nominations for the FEI’s Against All Odds Award testified to great courage and determination and it is heart-lifting to know that equestrian sport can affect people’s destinies in such a positive way.”
The deadline for nominations is 30 August. For further information and to make nominations, please go to www.feiawards.org
Caption: Darlene Milord and FEI President HRH Princess Haya at the 2009 FEI Awards ceremony (Photo: FEI)