British international show jumper Nick Skelton (54) from Warwickshire heads the list of appointments honouring equestrian achievement in The Queens Birthday Honours List, having been awarded an OBE for his services to equestrian sport. A leading rider in the sport for over 35 years Nick (54) has represented Team GB at six Olympic Games and if selected for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be the only athlete to have contested seven Olympic Games. In 1975 he kick-started his career when winning individual gold at the Junior European Championships since when he has ridden on over 170 senior nations cup teams and accrued ten european and six world championship medals, a world cup title and over 60 major grand prix’ wins. He still holds the British high jump record that he set at Olympia in 1978 jumping over 7’7” with Lastic.
After breaking his neck in a fall in 2000 Nick made a heroic return to the sport to continue his former partnership with John and Lisa Hales stallion Arko II competing at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004. He is currently enjoying a purple patch with Beverley Widdowson's horses, Big Star and Carlo, with who he won individual bronze at last year’s European Championships. "I'm very honoured with the award and it feels magnificent to have been recognised in this way. It's a great recognition not only for myself but also for the sport”, said Nick, who is currently third in the World rankings.
Ros Spearing the founder and director of the Ebony Horse Club, in Brixton, was honoured with an MBE for services to young people in London. Ros founded the club in 1996 to help improve life skills, education and aspirations of disadvantaged children and young people in the area by providing access to horse riding, outdoor activities and mentoring. Initially Ros raised funds to bus children from the estate to horse riding lessons at local equestrian centres, but in 2010 she achieved her ambition of building a fully accessible community riding centre in the heart of the city.
The facility boasts stabling for eight horses, a floodlit arena, turn out paddock, classroom and office that is enjoyed by local children and young people. Ebony is now a registered charity. “I am very honoured to receive this award and hope it puts the spotlight on urban riding and the need for all sports to be more inclusive,” said Ros who oversees the day to day administration and mentoring at Ebony, supported by a small team of professional youth workers and volunteers.
Belinda Turner the Chief Executive of Stubbing Court Training (SCT) in Derbyshire was also appointed an MBE for her services to training in the equestrian industry. SCT provides training combined with a career structure for those wanting to work in competition yards throughout the Midlands and Yorkshire. Belinda has developed SCT, that was initiated by her mother Felicity 30-years ago, to be a ‘Beacon’ status provider of training that has gained the accolade of ‘outstanding’ in its last three Ofstead reports. The company, that also initiated an online learning programme last year, currently has 130 apprentices on its training schemes. “I am passionate about learning and standards and providing role models to inspire learning and it is a privilege to be recognised with the honour,” said Belinda.
Four volunteers of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) have all received awards for their services to the national charity that provides therapy and enjoyment through riding to people with disabilities all over the UK. Rachel Mary Axford, leader of Treborth RDA in Anglesey, Annette Dorsey of the RDA association at Harrogate and Stockeld Park in West Yorkshire, Barbara Joan Johnstone of the RDA in Edinburgh and Rosanne Pudden the Director and Group Trainer of Lowlands Farm RDA in Warwickshire have all been awarded MBE’s in recognition of their outstanding work to the charity.
“Congratulations to all four volunteers,” said RDA Chief Executive, Ed Bracher. “It is always great to see the RDA recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in this Jubilee year it seems particularly special. All are long-serving volunteers, who continue to make a difference to the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities every year. These Honours are so well deserved.”
The British Equestrian Federation would like to send its congratulations to all recipients of The Queen’s Honours and thanks them all for their hard work, their dedication and for highlighting the many aspects of equestrianism through their much deserved awards.