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news RoR Horse Personality of the Year - Watch the films

21st January 2020
RoR Trustee Lady Emma Balding and Sarah Peacock, owner rider of Ned Causer, accepting the RoR Horse Personality of the Year Award
  • Three beautiful films captured the stories of the finalists

This year’s RoR Awards heralded the twentieth anniversary since RoR achieved its charitable status and this was marked with the inaugural RoR Horse Personality of the Year award.

From over 250 nominations, best-selling author and renowned horse lover, Jilly Cooper selected three finalists with the eventual winner being the 11-year-old gelding Ned Causer, who has had a transformational effect on the life of his owner, Sarah Peacock, helping her overcome bouts of anxiety and depression.

On the night of the awards, the audience at the Jockey Club Rooms were treated to three beautiful films about each of the finalists, the winner Ned Causer and the equally worthy runners up Real Desire and Grouse Moor.

Sarah Peacock, from East Yorkshire, said: “To win this award is just an amazing moment and I can’t believe that Ned has done this. He has really changed my life. I’ve suffered from depression and it is quite a debilitating illness and Ned has been such a turning point since we got him on New Year’s Day last year

“I have periods when I get really quite low so it’s difficult, but coming down to Ned every morning I know I have a responsibility and that he’s always there waiting for me and he always makes me laugh. In October we did our first dressage test together and I thought I was never going to be able to get out in front of people because I was so nervous and I put a lot of pressure on myself. But he helped me through it.” Watch Ned Causer's video via

Sarah Peacock accepted the Paul Mellon Trophy from Lady Emma Balding for RoR Horse Personality of the Year. The trophy is named in honour of the late Paul Mellon in recognition of the generous bequest from his estate to RoR when the charity was established 20 years ago.

Di Arbuthnot added: “Ned Causer ran just three times in a short lived racing career when trained by Reg Hollinshead but he has had a transformational effect on the life of Sarah, indeed all three finalists for Horse Personality of the Year have changed the lives of people around them, and it is a powerful reminder of the value of developing a connection with a thoroughbred.”

The 14-year-old Real Desire was nominated by his owner Bridget Bond. Dessie has helped Bridget through some tough times while at the same time overcoming his own physical challenges. Jilly Cooper said of Dessie: “He emerges as such a character and a clown and it is great that he is succeeding in so many different disciplines. He epitomises all that is so giving, forgiving, resilient and adaptable about these wonderful horses.” Watch Real Desire video via

The film of Grouse Moor and his rider Jacqueline Doughton brought many in the audience to tears as they witnessed the bond between the two and how ‘Grouch’, as he is known, fulfilled Jacqueline’s dream to ride a thoroughbred despite her being paralysed from the waist down after being born with spina bifida.

Grouse Moor is based at Tettenhall Group of Riding for the Disabled and Jilly Cooper said of the Grouse and Moor and Jacqueline: “It is so touching the way his gentleness and perfect manners have enabled her to really enjoy her riding and indeed, in her words, ‘His legs are mine and I am free to move’. So well done Grouch!” Watch Grouse Moor's video via

Now in their sixth year, the awards took place at the historic Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket on Saturday 18th January, hosted by Clare Balding and Luke Harvey. The awards showcase and celebrate the versatility of former racehorses across a range of disciplines with prizes awarded to winners in dressage, endurance, eventing, hunting, polo, showing and show jumping.

Latest news RoR is always interested to hear of other success stories so please email us and send a photograph of your own story.

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