t NoelleFloyd.com, we’re firm believers in horsemanship and have the utmost respect for our four-legged animals. Mutual trust and friendship are at the core of equestrian sports, and there are men and women out there who have a unique, innate ability to connect with the horses they work with on a deeper level than most. Through kindness and patience, they learn to speak the horse's language and bring out the best in them. In thanks, their horses try their hearts out for them.
For this category of the 2018 Best of Awards, we did not create a short list from which to vote. Instead we asked you to choose, unaided, who you think is the top horseman (or woman) of the year. Collecting three times as many votes than the runner-up, we’re pleased to announce that you voted McLain Ward the NoelleFloyd.com 2018 Horseman of the Year.
Although it comes as no surprise, McLain was on top of his game this year (but he’s always bringing his A-game). It’s difficult to list all of his accomplishments this year alone, but let’s mention a few of his most outstanding performances. Currently ranked third in the FEI Longines Rankings, McLain and his powerhouse string of horses made a statement in the past 12 months.
- 2nd CSIO5* Rome Nations Cup, HH Azur
- 1st CSI4* Devon Sapphire Grand Prix, Clinta
- 1st CSIO5* Aachen Prize of North Rhine-Westfalia, Clinta
- 2nd CSIO5* Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe Aachen, HH Azur
- 1st CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix de Dinard, Clinta
- 1st CSI4* Hampton Classic GP, HH Gigi’s Girl
- Team Gold World Equestrian Games, Clinta
- 3rd CSI5* IRJC Top 10 Final, Clinta
Regardless of the results, it’s the bond with these incredible animals that is the greatest reward. McLain himself sums it up best:
"...We owe them our lives. They give us so much and they ask for only basic kindness in return. I believe horses and humans have a connection that draws us to each other. I believe in their own way they know we need them and they are pleased to be our partner whether it be in work or sport. We need to remember to never take this privilege of working and living with horses for granted. To never lose our appreciation for what they have given us throughout the history of time and to be sure that their relevance in our society does not fade away. This is our greatest responsibility as equestrians."
There are many reasons to love McLain. Continue reading:What McLain Ward Said About Horses Is a Lesson For All of Us
A Well-Deserved Retirement for McLain Ward's Rothchild
McLain Gets Real on 5 Things It Takes to Master the Mental Game
Proving Ground: Mclain Ward's Clinta Steps Up to the Plate at WEG
"This Is Our Sport at Its Best": Team USA Rises to the Occasion to Clinch Show Jumping Gold
The annual Noëlle Floyd Best Of Awards celebrate the horses and riders who soar to great heights, the community leaders who move the needle in the sport, and the extra special moments that define our shared love of horses. For the 2018 NF Awards, we created short lists of extraordinary individuals who stood out to us this year, and then we handed it over to you to determine who is the best of the best. Turning out a record number of votes in NF Awards history, we heard you loud and clear. Now we’re rolling out the red carpet. One by one, we’ll announce the winners of all ten categories between now and the New Year.
Photos by Shannon Brinkman.