Posthumous tribute to longstanding National Equine Forum supporter

The late Richard Matson at the 2015 National Equine Forum.
The late Richard Matson at the 2015 National Equine Forum.

The Organising Committee of National Equine Forum will pay tribute to their former Vice-President and Honorary Fellow Richard Matson at their annual event next month. 

Matson, who died in December following a short illness, was the founder of the Twemlows Stud and an influential figure in the equestrian world. He was vice-chairman of the NEF for 21 years, and following his retirement in 2014 he was one of the first to be awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Forum.

Former NEF convener Graham Suggett said: “It has been my privilege to have worked with Richard on many initiatives in both the farming and equine industries over a long period of time. He was a man who knew his mind and was not frightened to speak out on matters in which he believed.”

NEF Chairman Tim Brigstocke continued: “Without the huge input that Richard Matson gave as vice-chairman to the National Equine Forum the now well-established annual gathering for anyone involved in the horse world would not have happened.

“Richard, along with the other Founders of the Forum, had the foresight and wisdom to see the need for such a gathering. Through sheer persistence and huge charm Richard remained a stalwart of the NEF until he stood down from the Organising Committee a couple of years ago. He continued to maintain his interest in the Forum and always could be relied upon to help or sort out issues. He will be sorely missed,” Brigstocke said.

Richard’s sons Edward and Tullis accepted the SEIB Insurance Brokers Meritoire last month for lifelong achievement in British Breeding on behalf of their father.

The National Equine Forum, to be held in London on March 3, will include a celebration of Richard Matson’s significant contribution to equestrianism.

• Three outstanding individuals have been shortlisted for the NEF’s Sir Colin Spedding Award 2016. The award is presented annually to an exceptional and as yet unrecognised individual or organisation that has made an important contribution to the equestrian world.

The three nominees for the 2016 award are Walter Gilbey, Baroness Ann Mallalieu and Sue Martin BHSII. The winner will be announced at the National Equine Forum.

Sir Colin Spedding was the founding chairman of the NEF and chaired the event for 20 years until shortly before his death in 2012. He ensured that representatives of all areas of the equine sphere were made welcome to the Forum, and that topics of general interest and concern could be discussed openly and without rancour. His aim was to allow the equine world to consider and then speak with a coordinated voice on matters of the moment. The award was introduced in 2013, in his memory.

The award committee will select the winner from the shortlisted candidates, to be announced at the National Equine Forum on Thursday, March 3.

Previous recipients of the award are: Paul Greeves, former Executive Director and Keeper of the General Stud Book at Weatherbys (2015), Dr Andrew Waller on behalf of the Animal Health Trust (AHT) Infectious Disease Group (2014) and Martin Clunes on behalf of UK Equine Welfare Charities (2013).

Tickets for the National Equine Forum are available to equestrian trade delegates and equestrian professionals at £100, which includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

To apply or become a Friend of the Forum contact Mary Martin

About the nominees for the 2016 Sir Colin Spedding Award:

Walter Gilbey has been active in the equestrian world since attending his first London Harness Horse Parade aged two, and having his first riding lesson aged four. He has competed in many events; driving from singles to teams, dressage, eventing, hacking, hunting, show jumping, TREC and is a partner in two successful livery yards.

He has achieved much in equestrian administration, being past President and Committee Member of the Shire Horse Society, past President and Director of the British Show Horse Association; for many years Chairman of the London Harness Horse Parade, Master of Bloodhounds and Member of the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Committee.  Walter was one of those who proposed the formation of the Showing Council, which is the coordinating organisation for showing societies and is also Secretary of the Manx Horse Council. His wife, daughter and two grandchildren are very active and successful equestrians.

Baroness Ann Mallalieu was hugely influential in successfully steering the Control of Horses Act through the House of Lords last year. She practiced as criminal barrister and was appointed Queen’s Counsel. She was made a life peer in 1991 and was Opposition spokesman on home and legal affairs in the House of Lords 1992-1997. Ann has had lifelong interest in horses. She is currently President of The Horse Trust, a Trustee for Racing Welfare and a Trustee for National Association of Stable Staff. She was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Horse 2012-2015 and was previously Independent Director of the British Horseracing Board. She still enjoys riding and hunting her home-bred horses.

Sue Martin BHSII runs Trent Park Equestrian Centre. Under her lead, the centre has grown into one of the largest and most successful riding schools in the country as well as a training and examination centre for students.

Most recently she has led and chaired the Equestrian Trailblazer Steering Group for the government’s initiative to reform apprenticeships. This brings together about 50 members from virtually all equestrian disciplines, as varied as British Racing, the Household Cavalry and horse charities. They have together designed the standard for two levels of world-class equestrian grooms, which is now approved by government. It is understood that this is the first time such a wide range of experts from their individual fields have worked together as a team. The group will continue working on the next phase of the process and then hope to remain together to work on further projects for the benefit of the equestrian world.

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