What are the ESMAs?

Entries for the 2014 ESMAs were received until December 20, the during which time the public could nominate their favourite equestrian businesses, personalities, charities and brands in the world of social media through this website, from the list of pre-registered entries.

Nominees were then subject to strict engagement criteria such as how quickly they respond to comments, post original content and demonstrate good online etiquette. The top ten or eleven in each category with the most unique supporting statements went through to the finals.

The voting stage opened on 20 January when the finalists will be in the running for two prizes in each category. The first will be the Judges’ Choice ESMA, decided by an expert panel of the global equestrian industry’s most talented marketers and media professionals; the second will be the People’s Choice ESMA, 100% decided by the public.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale’s (FEI) Director of Corporate Communications, Richard Johnson will be judging the Judges' Choice winners of the regional categories to decide the overall winner of the World Award. The FEI Solidarity campaign is supporting a special award in 2014, which is open to projects that are at the heart of the grass roots development of equestrian sport and welfare. Called the FEI Solidarity Social Good ESMA, the award is for those who have captured the interest and conversations of the development of the sport in a creative and inclusive manner. Local sports programmes, individual riders, coaches, online communities, educational projects, charities and welfare campaigns achieving this are all eligible.

The Judges' Choice winner in the category for best use of social media by an Amateur Horseperson will receive a free place on a Hippikos training Programme (Intensive Training in Dressage or Jumping or Both). The training week includes three lessons a day on advanced horses (dressage to Grand Prix and jumping to 1.45m), all accommodation, meals and drinks.

That's not all…

Five new categories were introduced to showcase digital excellence beyond social media with the new Equestrian Digital Awards, supported by the Equestrian Creative Network.

The categories are, best:

1. Website <20k visitors pcm

2. Website >20k visitors pcm

3. E-commerce site

4. Mobile/tablet application

5. Rich media

Entries for the first Equestrian Digital Awards opened on November 4, along with the main ESMAs. The winners will be decided solely by the Expert Panel and will be announced, alongside the ESMA winners on 24 February.

In the spirit of social media, finalists will submit their acceptance speech videos for inclusion in an online award ceremony. This allows everyone to attend the award ceremony via the Equine Online Equestrian Social Media Awards' YouTube channel on 24 February.

Click here to view the finalists in both awards.