Prestigious equestrian award refocused amid Covid-19 pandemic

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All the sessions from NEF 2020 can be viewed online.
All the sessions from the 2020 National Equine Forum can be viewed here. © Craig Payne Photography

The exceptional circumstances of 2020 have led to a change in the National Equine Forum‘s Sir Colin Spedding Award for 2021, and will celebrate those who have gone ‘above and beyond’ during a very difficult year.

The 2021 Award will be renamed the Sir Colin Spedding Covid-19 Award, and the nomination deadline has been extended to October 16.

Any individual or organisation, from any equestrian field, is eligible, specifically for their exceptional efforts during the pandemic, as long as their outstanding qualities have not been formally acknowledged elsewhere. Nominations not related to the pandemic that have already been received will be carried over to 2022.

NEF Chair Tim Brigstocke said many nominations for individuals and organisations who had made exceptional efforts beyond their usual job or remit, had already been received.

“The pandemic continues to present challenges for the equestrian sector on an unprecedented scale and we believe we should acknowledge the trials, tribulations and extraordinary efforts undertaken to overcome the challenges we have all been living through over the past seven months,” he said.

The award was introduced in 2013 and has become one of the most respected annual awards within UK equestrianism. Sir Colin Spedding was the founding chairman of the NEF and chaired the event for 20 years until 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 amicably.

Previous winners of the Sir Colin Spedding Award include tireless Suffolk Punch champion Nigel Oakley (2020 joint winner); welfare-driven equestrian journalist Eleanor Jones (2020 joint winner); equine sector stalwart Gordon Wesley (2019);  farrier Dr Simon Curtis (2018); and fire and rescue pioneer Jim Green (2017).

» Nominations can be made here, and close at 12 noon on October 16. Write in no more than 100 words, why you believe your chosen candidate should be considered. Your nomination must reflect why your chosen candidate has been exceptional during the pandemic. The NEF Spedding Award Committee will produce a shortlist of nominations, from which the winner will be selected by the Organising Committee. Multiple nominations for the same person will not carry additional merit and the decision will be final.

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