Horse & Hound Awards 2016: Equo Events Volunteer of the Year

  • Equo Events Volunteer of the Year Award
    2016 winner: Jane Cepok

    The Equo Events Volunteer of the Year Award is to recognise the sacrifice made by this volunteer to enable countless others to enjoy their sport or profession week in, week out. Watch Jane collect her award below.


    Equo Events Volunteer of the Year Award nominees

    Jane Cepok, 68

    The stats: Jane has volunteered in the equestrian world for over 50 years including with the Strathearn branch of the Pony Club, Central Scotland and Blair Castle International Horse Trials, and Riding for the Disabled Association Auchterarder Group. She has been a district commissioner (DC), instructor, event secretary and jump judge coordinator.

    2016 highlight? Coordinating 115 jump judges and radio operators at Blair Horse Trials for two days of cross-country, with my daughter Katy.

    Top tip for volunteers? Take on tasks that you can do and enjoy seeing the resulting benefits.

    What the fans say… “Jane has given up her time to support our equestrian sports, helping people enjoy riding in any sphere, both as an organiser and support at events.” Katy Cepok 

    Joy Peatman, 64

    The stats: Joy is membership secretary for the Royal Artillery branch of the Pony Club and also helps the DC with admin and supporting children at events. She fence judges for British Eventing (BE), local hunter trials and riding club one-day events.

    2016 highlight? My week at senior camp. I am the live-in “nanny” and I love every second of every day — from cleaning the loos (someone has to) to hitting a rounder or being a kind ear for a homesick youngster.

    Top tip for volunteers? Throw yourself into it, do everything to the best of your ability and enjoy every moment.

    What the fans say… “Joy embodies the spirit of our Pony Club branch. She is a friend to everyone, no matter who you are or what your pony is like. She is always supportive and there to help out.” Emma Pike 

    Sheona McNeill, 71

    The stats: for over 55 years Sheona has volunteered at all levels, including as chair of the Polnoon Castle Riders Association, helping at British Dressage, BE, Pony Club and riding club events.

    2016 highlight? There are no standout moments — if each event runs hitch-free that is a bonus.

    Top tips for volunteers? Ask plenty of questions about the job. Read the rulebooks, interact with competitors, and try to look as if you are enjoying your role.

    What the fans say… “Sheona marshals an army of volunteers, always making sure they are looked after and thanked so they come back for more. She has a wealth of knowledge, which she happily shares. Down to earth, full of chat, dedicated and massively experienced, she is an inspiration to us all.” Morag Smith

    Terry Pattinson, 76

    The stats: Terry has stewarded for the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) for 30 years, as well as helping his wife Pat at local shows (and mucking out for the grandchildren).

    2016 highlight? The BSPS sports pony classes at Burghley. The children were so excited to be there, because it is such a different show to the rest. And they all really wanted to do their best.

    Top tips for volunteers? Make sure you keep a sense of perspective.

    What the fans say… “Terry is the hugely popular father figure of the BSPS, beloved of children and parents alike. He’s the steward who soothes stressed mothers, encourages nervous children and whispers magic words to errant ponies. He is never without a kind word and a modest smile, and never loses his cool.” Polly Eddis 

    Penny Ridley, 68

    The stats: for 25 years Penny has been involved with the Rochdale & District Riding Club and the Saddleworth & District branch of the Pony Club, currently as DC of the latter.

    2016 highlight? This year’s camp with the Saddleworth was one of the best ever, thanks to our fantastic instructors, helpers and the children pulling together. We had T-shirts made saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work”.

    Top tip for volunteers? Get involved, start small and work your way up. It’s important to get on with people, and accept constructive criticism.

    What the fans say… “Penny has worked her whole adult life to ensure that children and adults can enjoy our sport. She has given up her time to help riders develop and have fun both at Pony Club and Riding Club.” Zoe Reeves

    About our sponsor: Equo Events

    HH AWARDS EQUOEquo Events is delighted to be supporting the Horse & Hound Volunteer of the Year award at the inaugural Horse & Hound awards ceremony. The Equo team is out meeting event organisers day in, day out and along the journey we have met an incredible amount of volunteers. We truly realise and value the importance of these dedicated individuals in allowing others to continue to get maximum enjoyment out of their sport.

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