Equine Charity, The British Horse Society (BHS) has honoured the incredible winners of this year’s Annual Awards in a ceremony with BHS Ambassador Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes.
The awards programme celebrates the individuals and organisations who have gone the extra mile, making a huge impact on behalf of the charity and the equestrian world. The BHS’s volunteers, partners and supporters were recognised as shining examples of humanity, endurance and hard work across safety, education, access and welfare.
It was a memorable celebration, reflecting on how truly magical horses are for so many people, no matter their background, interests or experience.
Young Person’s Award
At 20 years old, Amelia Cooke was one of two people presented with the Young Person’s Award to recognise the outstanding example she has set for others. After struggling through school with dyslexia, Amelia has since broken in nine horses for The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and rode at the late Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth II’s funerals. This is an amazing, inspiring achievement and offers a shining example to many other young adults.
Changing Lives through Horses
For the second year running, Changing Lives through Horses (CLtH) featured strongly in this year’s role of honour. Shanie from Country Treks won The Pamela Almond Changing Lives through Horses Achieve Award. After being excluded from school, Shanie came to Country Treks with no experience with horses. Since then, she has shown a remarkable change in attitude, with a love of horses and a passion for the equine industry.
The Changing Lives Through Horses Approved Centre Award also went to Country Treks. Their commitment and success with the programme has transformed many young peoples’ lives, and is a shining example of the effectiveness of the programme.
Unsung Hero Award
John Fletcher was one of five who was presented with the Unsung Hero Award, having spent over 40 years promoting the endangered Shire Horse Breed. Through passion and determination, Gentle Giant Shire Horses have worked tirelessly to grow a business. They not only promote the breed but have a keen interest in passing on their knowledge and skills to future generations.
The Unsung Hero Award was also won by Sally Wood, a riding coach with an overwhelmingly positive attitude. She has inspired countless young people to follow their dreams and pursue a life in equestrianism. Having been nominated by 31 different people, it is clear that Sally has made a remarkable difference to so many people’s journeys with horses.
Equine Personality of the Year Award
After celebrating 20 years with the Merseyside Police, the Equine Personality of the Year Award went to Jake. A 24-year-old Cleveland Bay cross gelding, Jake has taught hundreds of officers to ride with his gentle and charismatic personality. He has presented the force at a large number of events, including the 2012 Olympics and the 2011 riots.
Welfare awards went to four inspirational people, including Josh Eddleston who has shown incredible commitment to his work as a farrier. Although based in the North West, Josh has travelled across the country to support the BHS at various healthcare and castration clinics, often completing around 30 trims a day. He is also keen on passing on his knowledge to owners.
The BHS paid tribute to the Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership (RSP) with the Tarquin Trophy, which is awarded for excellent service by an organisation or business in the cause of equestrian safety. Since its creation, this RSP has gone above and beyond to share advice and guidance with drivers in Warwickshire. There is no doubt their help and assistance have improved safety in the equine community.
Dedicated volunteers Debbie James and Virginia Jones were recipients of the Access Award. Debbie and Virginia have both worked tirelessly to promote, improve and extend safer off-road riding through important fundraising initiatives.
Following her very sad passing this year, the BHS were also proud to commemorate Claire Robinson with the charity’s President Award. Claire started volunteering in 1998 and was an extremely valuable, experienced welfare advisor who visited over 500 welfare concerns – many of which were deemed to be serious or an emergency.
Not only was Claire a valued member of the BHS Cleveland committee, but she also touched the hearts of so many people through the work she did to help change the lives of many horses and their owners.
A full list of all the 2023 winners is available here: www.bhs.org.uk/about-us/annual-awards/award-winners-2023