A rider who made a remarkable comeback from a serious fall was among the winners at the 2020/2021 British Horse Society (BHS) Awards.

The awards celebrate individuals and organisations who have made a significant impact in the equestrian world, with BHS Vice-Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, and BHS President, Martin Clunes OBE, in attendance.

With last year’s ceremony cancelled due to the pandemic, Mr Clunes presented awards to the winners from 2020 as well as 2021.

Jane Cherry’s resilience was recognised with this year’s Exceptional Achievement Award. She beat the odds following a serious fall in 2019, returning to the saddle and resuming her work managing Washington Riding Centre.

Teenager Katie Turton won the Pamela Almond Changing Lives through Horses Achieve Award, for showing commitment to her personal development within the programme. Battling emotional challenges and with no prior equestrian experience, Ms Turton has shown a “natural dedication to horses” and is considering a career in the industry.

The Helen Barton-Smith Silver Stirrup Award for supporting young riders went to Scotland-based APC Bethan McDougall, who is delivering the new BHS Pony Stars programme, receiving excellent feedback from children and parents so far.

Welfare Awards went to Suzi Swete, for her work in helping rescue and rehabilitate 30-40 ponies who have now been given a second chance at life, and Dr David Marlin, for his life-long work in the field of equine welfare research, delivering unbiased scientific research and advice to horse owners in equine care.

HRH The Princess Royal spoke at the awards

Sarah Hills, a Police Support Volunteer (PSV) on Horseback with Suffolk Constabulary, won an Unsung Hero Award for her contribution to rural crime initiatives in Suffolk and fundraising for a children’s’ charity. Sarah’s horse Robbie won this year’s Equine Personality of the Year Award, having clocked up over 5,000 miles on police volunteer duties and rewarded for his efforts supporting Sarah in ensuring safer rural communities.

The Tarquin Trophy went to Carmarthenshire County Council, for their work with the BHS to help improve equestrian road safety in the county by placing signs featuring BHS Dead Slow messaging in hotspots areas, identified using BHS incident reporting data.

Gill Plumbley won the Fundraising Award after she raised nearly £80,000 to improve a key bridleway in East Hampshire earlier this Summer, allowing local riders, walkers and cyclists to now safely enjoy the route.

“A big congratulations to all the BHS Annual Award winners from the past year,” said BHS Chief Executive James Hick. “These awards are our way to reward and recognise the incredible achievements of our volunteers, supporters and partners, whether that be expanding equestrian access, improving equestrian welfare, campaigning for equestrian safety and more.

“We are hugely grateful for the valuable contribution made by all of our volunteers, without whom the Society simply wouldn’t be what it is today.”

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