Skelton learned of the award while competing in round five of the Global Champions Tour at Cannes, known the world over for its film festival. Fittingly, stars of the silver screen Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh appeared on the Honours list with him.
“I am very, very pleased and this is great for the sport of showjumping as well. It is a real honour,” said the 54-year-old rider, who, with his professional approach and extraordinary consistency, has helped spread the popularity of the sport beyond the UK. Proof of that consistency came when he won the third leg of the GCT in Hamburg on May 19, some 30 years after claiming bronze at the world championships in Dublin.
In between times the current world No. 3 has won nearly €7m in prize money, collected six world championship medals, ten European championship medals, one World Cup winner’s medal and over 60 Grand Prix titles. All that is missing from that exceptional career record is an Olympic medal, something Skelton will be hoping to put right in London in a few weeks’ time.