• 20 January 2016

Shortlist announced for important equestrian award

Three outstanding individuals have been shortlisted for the prestigious National Equine Forum (NEF) Sir Colin Spedding Award 2016. The award is presented annually to an exceptional and as yet unrecognised individual or organisation that has made an important contribution to the equestrian world. The three nominees for the 2016 award are Walter Gilbey, Baroness Ann Mallalieu and Sue Martin BHSII. The winner will be announced at the National Equine Forum on 3rd March 2016.

Sir Colin Spedding was the founding chairman of the NEF and chaired the event for 20 years until shortly before his death in 2012. He ensured that representatives of all areas of the equine sphere were made welcome to the Forum, and that topics of general interest and concern could be discussed openly and without rancour. His aim was to allow the equine world to consider and then speak with a coordinated voice on matters of the moment. The award was introduced in 2013, in his memory. 

Walter Gilbey has been active in the equestrian world since attending his first London Harness Horse Parade aged two, and having his first riding lesson aged four. He has competed in many events; driving from singles to teams, dressage, eventing, hacking, hunting, show jumping, TREC and is a partner in two successful livery yards.

He has achieved much in equestrian administration, being past President and Committee Member of the Shire Horse Society, past President and Director of the British Show Horse Association; for many years Chairman of the London Harness Horse Parade, Master of Bloodhounds and Member of the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Committee.  Walter was one of those who proposed the formation of the Showing Council, which is the coordinating organisation for showing societies and is also Secretary of the Manx Horse Council. His wife, daughter and two grandchildren are very active and successful equestrians.

Baroness Ann Mallalieu was hugely influential in successfully steering the Control of Horses Act through the House of Lords last year. She practiced as criminal barrister and was appointed Queen’s Counsel. She was made a life peer in 1991 and was Opposition spokesman on home and legal affairs in the House of Lords 1992-1997. Ann has had lifelong interest in horses. She is currently President of The Horse Trust, a Trustee for Racing Welfare and a Trustee for National Association of Stable Staff. She was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Horse 2012-2015 and was previously Independent Director of the British Horseracing Board. She still enjoys riding and hunting her home bred horses.

Sue Martin BHSII runs Trent Park Equestrian Centre. Under her lead, the Centre has grown into one of the largest and most successful Riding Schools in the country as well as a Training and Examination Centre for students.

Most recently she has led and chaired the Equestrian Trailblazer Steering Group for the government’s initiative to reform apprenticeships. This brings together about 50 members from virtually all equestrian disciplines, as varied as British Racing, the Household Cavalry and horse charities. They have together designed the standard for two levels of World-class equestrian grooms, which is now approved by government. It is understood that this is the first time such a wide range of experts from their individual fields have worked together as a team. The Group will continue working on the next phase of the process and then hope to remain together to work on further projects for the benefit of the equestrian world.

The Sir Colin Spedding Award committee will select the winner from the shortlisted candidates, to be announced at the National Equine Forum on Thursday 3 March 2016.

Previous recipients of the award are: Paul Greeves former Executive Director and Keeper of the General Stud Book at Weatherbys (2015), Dr Andrew Waller on behalf of the Animal Health Trust (AHT) Infectious Disease Group (2014) and Martin Clunes on behalf of UK Equine Welfare Charities (2013).

Tickets for the National Equine Forum are available to equestrian trade delegates and equestrian professionals at a cost of £100 per person, which includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. To apply or to find out how you could enjoy the privilege of becoming a Friend of the Forum please contact the Hon Secretary, Mary Martin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For further information on the NEF visit http://www.nationalequineforum.com