Johanna Vardon, the founder and owner of the National Foaling Bank, has been recognised for her outstanding services to the British sport horse breeding industry.

Johanna was hailed as a “good Samaritan for the breeding industry” on Saturday evening as she was awarded the Merial Meritoire.

The award was the finale of the British Breeding Breeders dinner and awards ceremony in London, at which 25 individuals and studs were recognised for their achievements in furthering the British-bred horse over the past year.

Founder of the National Foaling Bank in Shropshire 43 years ago, Johanna has been responsible for nearly 19,000 adoptions and has taken over 71,000 calls for help.

The bank provides an adoption service for orphan foals by matching them with a suitable foster mare which has lost its own foal, and takes on a range of problems from mares with foaling difficulties to foals that need 24-hour nursing.

“Johanna has helped everyone large thoroughbred studs to the one-horse breeder,” said Mike Tucker, compere for the evening. “But her great skills are in her vast knowledge of animal husbandry and dealing with distraught mare owners — she is one of life’s great heroes.”

As well as founding the National Foaling Bank, Johanna has also bred 500 horses from one foundation mare.

“Everything started from one little pony that appeared in my kitchen when I was a child,” she explained. “From her I went on to breed 500 horses from the same family — the smallest at 12.2hh the largest at 18hh.”

Chairman of the Supporters of British Breeding, Desi Dillingham, was also honoured as “supporter of the first decade” of British Sport Horse Evening.

British Breeding awards ceremony results

Racehorses to Riding Horses Performance Championships sponsored by South Essex Insurance Brokers

  • Combined unaffil: Jabulani
  • Endurance: Alderney Prince (USA)
  • Showing: Blue Streak
  • Dressage: King’s Piper
  • Show jumping: Midnight Royal
  • Eventing: Native Caption

BEF Futurity sponsored by Baileys Horse Feeds

  • Foal: Classic Prada (BHHS) s: Classic Juan d: Bella Benz (s: Benz) Breeder: Katy Holder Vale of Witcham House Farm
  • Yearling: Knockleith Eureka (SHBGB) s: Shingle Hall Senator d: Shawhill Subrina (s: Feraree) Breeder: Mandy Quinn of Knockleith
  • Two-year-old: Craigmancie Cracker (SSH) s: Welton Double Cracker d: Faerie Sing Song (s: Ben Faerie) Breeder: Alexandra Middler of Craigmancie Stud
  • Three-year-old: Classictop Notch (AES) s: Lauriston d: Fools Pride (s: Renkum Eireann) Breeder: Jane Townshend of Crowborough, Wilts
  • Stallion: Woodcroft Garuda K (WBB-UK) s: Munchhausen d: Gladness B (s: Angard) Bred in Germany, owned by Tim Harris & Bernadette O’ Sullivan of Woodcroft Stud
  • Mare: Sandrina (Hann) s: Sandro Z d: Natuschka (ds: Nordlicht) Bred in Germany, owned by Lynn Al-Redha of Bridgwater, Somerset
  • Top Pony Sire of Performance Ponies sponsored by Sports Pony Studbook Society Machno Carwyn s. Carregcoch Bleddyn SecD d. Machno Ceridwen (s: Tylan Danny) Breeder: Meirion Jones of Pen Machno, Conwy; owned by Family Schoch, Switzerland
  • Top British Bred Horse at Olympics sponsored by British Equestrian Federation Miner’s Frolic s. Miner’s Lamp d. Mighty Frolic (s. Oats) Breeder: Mr Maurice Pinto; owned by Mr & Mrs Nicolas & Valda Embiricos & Mrs Sarah Pelham; ridden by Kristina Cook

Top British Bred BE Breeding Championships sponsored by British Eventing

  • Four-year-old: Coopers Law (SHB(GB)) s. Mill Law m. Miss Cooper (s. Kildalton Gold (RID)) Breeder: Miss Nicola Dickson; Owners: Nicola Dickson & Sally Williams; Rider: Emilie Chandler
  • Five-year-old: Newmiln Dakota (Scottish sport horse) s. Newmiln Landini d. Newmiln Pauline Velocia. Breeder: Mrs Elaine McFarlane; Owners: Jane & Katherine Kirkland; Rider: Caroline Moore
  • Six-year-old: Cotton King SHB(GB) s. Mill Law d. Royal Gem II (s. Sovereign King) Breeder: Hazel Bramley; owner: Mrs RC Boucher; Rider: Rodney Powell

Top British Bred Dressage Horses sponsored by British Dressage

  • Four-year-old: Half Moon Dynasty s. Di Maggio m. Leandra (s. Laptop) Breeder/owner: Jon & Julie Deverill; Rider: Tim Sillevis
  • Five-year-old: Headmore Delegate s. Di Maggio m. Allerliebst (s. Akut) Breeder/owner: Sarah Oppenheimer; Rider: Alice Oppenheimer
  • Six-year-old: Woodlander Dornroeschen s. Di Maggio d. Claire (s. Caprimond) Breeder: Karin & Manfred Hoerner; owner: Lynne Crowden; rider: Michael Eilberg

Top British Bred Show Jumping Horses sponsored by BSJA

  • Five-year-old: Sorceress (AES) s. Cabri d’Elle d. Amanda Leah (s. Accord 11) Breeder/owner: Mr M J Dawson, Allerthorpe Farm Stud; rider: Jackson Reed-Stephenson
  • Six-year-old: Jumping Mac Flash (AES) s. Kannan (KWPN) d. Beauville. Breeder: Mr P J Doyle, Brooklands; Owner/rider: Robert Snaddon
  • Seven-year-old: Billy Congo (AES) s. Vechta d. Billy Autumn (s.Animo). Breeder: Donal Barnwell; Owner: Billy Stud; Rider: William Funnell
  • Outstanding Mare Award Sponsored by British Horse Foundation: Amber Du Montois s. Abdullah (Trak.) d. Katy du Montois (SF) (s. Digne Espoir) Breeder & owner: Denise Stamp; Rider: William Funnell.