Ben Maher, who won last year’s Hickstead Derby, has become an ambassador for the ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses). The 23-year-old show jumper, who has represented Britain on junior, young rider and senior teams is keen to involve himself in the work of the ILPH.

The successful, practical work of the ILPH and the belief that horses should never be used and abused was what initially drew Maher to the charity. “I am impressed with the work that the ILPH do both here and abroad,” he said, “The network of field officers in the UK working to improve the life of the horse and the fact that they believe that horses should be used but never abused. I’m all for that and if I can help I’m only too pleased to add my voice.”

Maher is used to being a team player; he was a member of the gold medal winning team at the Pony European Championships in both 1997 and 1998 and helped the young rider team score gold at the 2004 European Championships. He is a member of the world class start and potential programmes and was awarded a prize for being the best up and coming rider at this year’s BSJA Ball.

“We are delighted that Ben wants to become involved with our charity,” said Chief executive John Smales. “He is a brilliant young horseman and has a clear understanding of welfare issues. He has an exceptionally pragmatic approach to his life with horses and believes in what the ILPH stands for and the work that we do both here and abroad.”

Maher will be meeting members of the public and signing autographs at the ILPH Stand in Hall 1 stand number B5(d) at Horse of the Year Show. He will also be attending the HOYS Stage and will be talking about his hopes for the future and his work with the ILPH.