Britain’s top breeders were celebrated at a national awards event on Saturday (14 January).

The British Breeders Awards Dinner and Ceremony, organised by the British Horse Foundation, took place at the Grange City Hotel, London.

The British Horse Foundation is a charity that aims to improve the quality and breeding of horses and ponies by supporting a number of programmes designed to reduce indiscriminate breeding

Professional and amateur breeders were among those given British Equestrian Federation futurity certificates of merit at the awards.

Award winners included Barbara Heaton Smith, who was presented with two certificates for eventing-bred foal CAWrus Boy and eventing two-year-old CAWrus Girl, as were joint breeders Mrs Skepper and Mrs Marson for endurance yearling Heritage Vadel and eventing three-year-old Heritage Arrakis.

In the futurity age awards, Sarah Oppenheimer took the foal award for breeding Headmore Valentina, a dressage prospect.

Jane Townshend collected the yearling award for Classictop Up & At It, a potential eventer.

The two-year-old award went to showjumping prospect Balou for Pleasure, bred jointly by Lisa Maynard and Chris Jackson. The three-year-old award went to Millfield Counterfeit, bred by Sue Jagger, who was also bred for a showjumping career.

Young horse awards

Young horse awards were presented to the breeders of the best British-bred young horses in the three main equestrian disciplines.

Judith Davis, who bred Hawtins san Floriana, four, and Hawtins Barolo, five, was among the winners of the dressage awards.

The Billy Stud was also recognised, collecting the seven-year-old British Eventing young horse breeders medal for Billy Walk On and the six-year-old showjumping award for Billy Penny.

Horse & Hound outstanding mare award

The Horse & Hound outstanding mare award went to World’s Finest, owned by Judith Davis of Hawtins Stud, who was thrilled to be the recipient of this award for one of the stud’s foundation mares, who has created a lasting dynasty through her descendants.

The British Equestrian Federation award to the highest placed British-bred horse in Team GB at Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games went to event horse Don Geniro, bred by Pam Dews and owned jointly with Pip Higgins.

Haddon Training British groom awards

There were four categories in the Haddon Training British grooms awards, which were also announced at the ceremony.

Janet Willis was the recipient of the category open to all grooms in the equestrian industry; with Georgie Thomas taking the runner-up prize, both from the world of eventing.


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The British equestrian grooms award, which was open to any groom who supported any British equestrian team athlete at Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was won by Mark Beever, groom to Nick Skelton.

The yard manager award was presented to Marcelle Tattersall, mother of British Olympic event rider Gemma Tattersall, with the apprentice award won by Elizabeth Killick, who is based with dressage rider Matt Hicks.

The culmination of the evening was the Meritoire liftetime achievement award, which was presented to Desi Dillingham MBE.

‘So much to celebrate’

The ceremony was compéred by event commentator Mike Tucker and guests were entertained by speaker Henry Bullen, managing director of Peden Bloodstock.

Mr Bullen spoke about the planning, preparation and logistics of transporting horses around the world.

“There has been much to celebrate for British breeding in 2016 and this glittering occasion affords the breeders of these potential world-class horses the special recognition they deserve,” said a spokesman for the event.