Nick Skelton & Mark Beever: Winners of 2016 FEI Best Rider & Best Groom

Nick Skelton & Big Star compete at Rio 2016.
Nick Skelton & Big Star in competition at Rio 2016.
Nick Skelton & Big Star in competition at Rio 2016.

Great Britain’s Nick Skelton and his groom, Mark Beever were honored at the annual FEI Awards Gala in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday, November 22, 2016.

Skelton was named Best Rider, and Beever earned the distinction of Best Groom.

In winning the individual gold medal in show jumping at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Skelton defied expectations and capped a long and tumultuous career with this dream come true. In 2000, he broke his neck in a riding accident and was told he might never ride again. However, he made his comeback to the sport and in 2012, at the age of 54, he won team gold with Great Britain at the London Olympics. That moment was capped by this year’s achievement, which made him one of the oldest Olympic gold medal winners, at the age of 58.

And for three decades, Beever has been working alongside Skelton as his top groom. Beever’s dedicated and work ethic in the sport is difficult to match, and when Skelton’s gold medal was secured in Rio, Beever was there, holding Big Star’s lead.

“My groom has been with me for 31 years. If you realised how many hours in the day he spends with that horse (Big Star), you would be amazed,” Skelton told Equestrian Great Britain. “He is with him nine hours a day, constantly caring for and looking after him.”