Equestrian individuals were awarded for their excellence at last week’s National Equine Forum (NEF) on 7 March.

Two joint winners received the Sir Colin Spedding Award – Kirsty Withnall was recognised for her tireless determination as an RSPCA Case Officer and Amanda Stoddart-West was acknowledged for her pioneering work to enhance equine wellbeing as a Coordinator at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Anne Dicker, Managing Partner of the Catherston Stud, was highly commended as an Award finalist for her work in helping to unite the equine sector.

“I am honoured and absolutely delighted to receive this extremely prestigious award,” Kirsty said. “Through my 23 years working for the RSPCA, I know first-hand how rewarding but also extremely challenging the role can be, so it truly means a great deal to have my work recognised in this way.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky to work alongside some outstanding colleagues at the RSPCA, but also with support from other agencies and organisations such as the police, veterinary teams, local authorities and of course members of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) – and I believe this award belongs to all of them, too. Together we have achieved incredible results through our joint efforts to protect animal welfare and will for many years to come.”

Credit: Shai Dolev Photography www.shaidolev.com

Amanda Stoddart-West (pictured above) is Livestock and Entries Coordinator for the Great Yorkshire Show (GYS). She has pioneered work to support appropriate rider to horse weight ratios and other initiatives to enhance equine welfare at GYS.

“I was totally shocked to be told that I had been nominated for the Sir Colin Spedding Award, and incredibly honoured to be a joint winner of such a revered honour,” Amanda said. “There are great efforts going into ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare nationally, and this award is a reflection of all of those who are doing such excellent work in this area.

“I couldn’t have achieved any of what I have without the support of my employers the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, and the Great Yorkshire Show’s Vet, Julian Rishworth who I have been very fortunate to work alongside for the last 21 years.

“There have been times when we have been met with resistance to change but with the support of like-minded people within the industry, and thanks to my good friends, and long-suffering husband and family, hopefully we have made a difference to welfare standards within the showing world”.

Sir Colin Spedding was the founding chairman of the NEF and chaired the event for 20 years until 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 amicably.

The award was introduced in 2013, in his memory. It is presented annually to an exceptional unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world. Any individual or organisation from any equestrian field in the UK is eligible, as long as their outstanding qualities have not been formally acknowledged elsewhere prior to the closing date of nominations.

Last week’s Awards were presented by HRH The Princess Royal who is President of NEF.

The full list of Award winners can be found here

Lead image by Shai Dolev Photography www.shaidolev.com

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