Awards for outstanding equestrians

  • Rio Olympic silver dressage medallists Fiona Bigwood and Spencer Wilton were among the nine members of the equestrian community awarded BEF medals of honour at Olympia.

    The medals were presented on 16 December under the Olympia lights by the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) director of international affairs, Dr Tim Watson.

    The other recipients were all chosen for their outstanding service given to equestrian sport in 2016.

    Islay Auty was recognised for her dedication to British dressage and her “outstanding service” to equestrianism across the different youth programmes over the last twenty years.

    Valegro’s groom Alan Davies was awarded a medal for his “unfaltering dedication, pride and commitment to the equine industry.”

    Davies who was the H&H groom of the year title at this year’s inaugural awards is the first groom to win a medal of honour.

    Outgoing British dressage team manager Richard Waygood was given a medal for his many successes with the team over the last seven years.

    Former BEF chief executive, Andrew Finding and former BEF chairman Keith Taylor were given medals of honour for their commitment to the federation during their terms of office.

    Medals were also awarded to Derrick Mayes for his services to the sport of carriage driving and Sydney Smith for her commitment to The Unicorn Trust.

    “This is an unexpected honour, and a privilege,” said Miss Smith, who set up The Unicorn Trust in 1996 to help provide affordable training for riders of all ages.

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    The charity celebrated its 20th anniversary in October with a show featuring performances from paralympic dressage riders Lee Pearson and Sophie Wells, carriage driver Anna Grayston and vaulter Lucy Phillips, who all trained at the Cotswold-based centre.

    At Olympia three other equestrians were also recognised by the BEF for their “outstanding contributions and dedication to British equestrianism.”

    Outgoing eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner, who retires at the end of this year, was applauded for his 17-year tenure during which he lead the British eventing team to over 30 championship medals.

    Eventing team farrier for more than 26 years Brendan Murray and tireless fundraiser Rosemary Barlow were also recognised for their outstanding service to British equestrianism.

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