Horse & Hound news editor Eleanor Jones and Suffolk horse enthusiast Sir Nigel Oakley were joint winners of the Sir Colin Spedding Award at the National Equine Forum on 5 March.
Nigel is dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the Suffolk horse, including owning, breeding, training, working and showing, as well as being a heavy horse ambassador for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Nigel ran a civil engineering geotechnical company for 40 years, during which time he started a stud. He has bred 34 foals of his own and some 15 for other people. He has nine Suffolk Punches, whom he works on his farm.
Nigel is a trustee and former president of the Suffolk Horse Society. He runs training days for the society and has been involved in five Countryfile programmes, while his horses have been used regularly for films and country show displays.
He said: “The Suffolk horse is my passion and I am delighted to have won the Sir Colin Spedding Award in recognition of my work to safeguard this magnificent breed.”
A spokesman for the forum said: “Eleanor, a conscientious and skilful journalist for Horse & Hound, has covered many important welfare-led stories, giving them a strong voice across the equine sector. By spreading the word in this way, she has helped significantly to change perceptions and improve equine welfare.
“Through her journalism Eleanor has championed the welfare of the horse, be that through articles looking at obesity as a welfare issue in horses or tackling the subject of rider weight as a welfare issue, which she has managed with great sensitivity.”
The award is presented by the British Equestrian Federation every year
‘He's an exceptional horseman who can be very proud of what he's achieved’
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Eleanor added: “Even to have my name put forward for this award was a huge honour; I’m delighted to have won, and in such incredibly worthy company. This is down to the amazingly hard-working team at Horse & Hound and if what we’ve done has improved the welfare of any horse, pony, donkey or mule, that means the world.”
The Sir Colin Spedding Award was introduced in 2013 in Sir Colin’s memory. It is presented annually to an exceptional unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world. Any individual or organisation from any equestrian field in the UK is eligible, as long as their outstanding qualities have not been formally acknowledged elsewhere.
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