The new title of honorary fellow was given to nine past and retiring members of the National Equine Forum (NEF) at this year’s event on 5 March.

The first recipients of the new title are past conveners professor Graham Suggett, who helped found the Forum twenty three years ago, Air Commodore Miles Williamson-Noble, former vice chair Richard Matson, former treasurer Lt Col Gordon Wesley and former joint secretary Pauline Harris.

Also recognised were former committee members Peter Clarke, Dr Harry Greenway, Rosemary Philipson-Stow and Antony Wakeham.

The new honorary fellows will be entitled to attend the Forum each year and provide an independent overview of NEF plans.

“The committee was unanimous in its decision to acknowledge the endeavours of past and retiring members without whom the National Equine Forum would not have become the highly regarded event it is today,” said Tim Brigstocke, NEF chairman.

The 2015 NEF was attended by over 200 of the most influential members of the equestrian industry including NEF president The Princess Royal, international equine vets, riders and trainers.

The need for an efficient equine identification database was highlighted as essential for the health, welfare and management of the industry.

Defra’s Lord de Mauley told delegates “a robust regulatory framework is important” for the introduction of a strengthened, fit-for-purposed Equine ID regime but to be effective “we need people to meet their responsibilities.”

“I would ask you in the sector to help us improve awareness and compliance so people know the importance of doing the right thing,” he said.

In his talk on fly grazing Steven Gale, animal health and welfare officer for Stockton on Tees Borough Council called for the microchipping of all equines, a robust passport system and said owner details needed to be kept up-to-date using a fit-for-purpose central equine database.

The full proceedings can be downloaded at www.bef.co.uk

The 2016 NEF will be held on 3 March at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Westminster, London.