Queen’s honours for top eventer and Grand National trainer

  • Eventer William Fox-Pitt has been awarded an MBE for his services to equestrian sport.

    The 49-year-old Dorset rider is among a number of equestrians to be recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list, which was released at the weekend.

    “It’s a huge honour. They wrote a letter to me a while ago, so it’s ironic it’s come out now when we’re at Bramham, it’s bound to all go wrong this weekend now as that’s how life goes!” 49-year-old William told H&H on Saturday (9 June). He went on to finish 11th in the CCI3* on Oratorio II.

    “I feel proud to be on a par with the likes of Mary King and Ginny Elliot. I guess if you hang in there and get to my age and stage, something comes off.

    “It’s strange to get it now when I’ve not really done anything for a while,” added William, who fought back from a serious head injury sustained in a fall at Le Lion in 2015.

    “I felt I’d missed the moment. It’s an honour still to be recognised as an endless trier.”

    In a career spanning more than 30 years, William has represented Britain at five Olympic games, as well as on four World and nine European championship teams.

    He won medals at three consecutive Games from Atlanta in 1996 to London in 2012, also collecting seven European golds, and has been the British number one 11 times.

    The citation in which his MBE was announced stated that William’s achievements “make him one of the most successful British event riders of all time.”

    In a statement on his Facebook page, he added: ” I have been so lucky to have been involved with wonderful horses and people throughout my life that have allowed me to make my passion into a successful career, and this wouldn’t have been possible without them.

    “I really am very grateful and feel very humbled to be recognised in this way.”

    Lucinda Russell, trainer of 2017 Grand National winner One For Arthur, was honoured with an OBE for her services to horseracing.

    The 52-year-old is the partner of former jockey Peter Scudamore, a previous MBE recipient, and runs Scotland’s leading National Hunt Yard Arlary House Stables.

    In a statement on her website, Lucinda said she was “honoured” to have received the award.

    “I accept it for the hard work and loyalty shown by my staff and owners whose horses have promoted Scottish racing and our yard here at Kinross,” she said.

    “I am also immensely proud for my family; without their backing I would not be in the position to receive this award.

    “Most of all to Peter Scudamore (MBE) who has been by my side for the past ten years and who is my inspiration and soul mate.”

    Professor Stuart Reid, the Chair of Trustees at the Donkey Sanctuary, received a CBE for his contributions to the veterinary profession and higher education.

    He is Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Informatics, holding the position of joint chair between the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde.

    Mike Baker, the sanctuary’s chief executive officer, said: “We are thrilled to hear of Stuart’s appointment and offer our hearty congratulations. It is an endorsement of Stuart’s hard work and dedication which is reflected in his valuable contribution to the Donkey Sanctuary.”

    There were five further equestrians named as recipients of British Empire Medals (BEMs).

    Continues below…

    They included Duns racehorse trainer Doreen Calder — best known for her partnership with the prolific pointer Flying Ace, a winner of 59 races. She was recognised for her services to equestrianism and the community of Bewickshire.

    Gina Kitchener, Pony Club District Commissioner for the Mid Surrey branch was recognised for her services to sport in Surrey, particularly her 40 years volunteering for the Pony Club.

    Emma Ford and Charlotte MacDonald both received BEMS for their work with the Riding for the Disabled Association, helping to get more disabled participants involved in equestrian sport. 

    Another BEM went to Northern Ireland’s John Maurice Chambers for his services to equestrian sport.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    This week’s pony special, out on 7 June, features Britain’s naughtiest ponies and how you can find the dream smaller equine. We also look at the pros and cons of equine treadmills, talk to showing producer Aimee Devane and have reports from the H&H Festival of Eventing, Tattersalls Horse Trials, racing at Epsom and much, much more.

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