"A friend showed me the competition in Horse and Hound Magazine and asked if it was ok if she nominated me." explains Tig, who of course said yes. This year was the first time Horse and Hound ran the awards, which recognise equestrian heroes throughout the equine world. The Pikeur award recognises an amateur rider, who doesn't make a living from their passion, for their dedication to equestrianism. Nominations are accepted and then 5 riders are shortlisted. "The shortlisted riders are presented in Horse and Hound magazine before the award is decided through online voting. They ask you lots of questions for this feature, and I felt I gave rubbish answers so I didn't expect to get many votes!" The winning rider is decided from the online poll, which is open for public voting for 2 weeks. All 5 riders are invited to attend the evening awards party - this year held at Ascot Racecourse - and no-one knows who the winner is until they are announced on the night.
The moment arrived. "And the winner of the Pikeur Amateur Rider of the Year 2016 is....Dr Claire Abel!" As it happened, Tig's speech went well as the presenter asked her lots of questions. "Thinking back now, I thought it was odd that everyone I knew from Horse and Hound didn't come up and say hello all evening - it turns out they all knew I'd won and didn't want to spill the beans." Tig was presented with a beautiful glass trophy and will receive full competition and home outfits from Pikeur. To receive such a high profile award is fantastic achievement for any rider, let alone one who rides for pleasure. Well done Tig!