Sir Colin Spedding Award


What is the Sir Colin Spedding Award?

The Sir Colin Spedding Award is presented annually to an exceptional unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world. Any individual or organisation from any equestrian field in the UK is eligible, as long as their outstanding qualities have not been formally acknowledged elsewhere.

Who was Sir Colin Spedding?

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. The award was introduced in 2013, in his memory.

Why is the award a stag beetle?

The bronze sculpture of a stag beetle by Belinda Sillars was originally to have been awarded to the late Professor Sir Colin Spedding, in recognition of his services to the equine sector – most especially for his extraordinary commitment in founding and chairing the National Equine Forum. Sadly he died before it could be presented to him.

Award Winners

  • 2021: Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award: Claire Williams

In recognition of her tireless work, at all hours, to advise, support and maintain morale across the equestrian sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Her efforts included analysis of government guidelines and the development of protocols to allow feed merchants and tack shops selling feed and horse care products to trade legally, and continue with essential safety services such as hat fitting.  Without Claire's support many would have suffered financial hardship and potential loss of livelihood; it was her tenacity and quick-thinking that helped to keep many retailers open, and the nation's horses fed and cared for.

  • 2020: Joint Winners, Eleanor Jones and Nigel Oakley

Eleanor Jones, a journalist, was presented with the Sir Colin Spedding Award in 2020 in recognition of her conscientious, tireless and skillful journalistic coverage in Horse & Hound of many important welfare-led issues, giving them a strong voice across the equine sector. By spreading the word in this way she has undoubtedly helped significantly to change perceptions and to improve equine welfare.

Nigel Oakley, an ambassador for the Suffolk Punch horse, was presented with the Sir Colin Spedding Award in 2020 in recognition of his dedication and tireless energy in safeguarding and promoting the Suffolk Punch horse, including owning, breeding, training, working and showing this breed, as well as being a Heavy Horse Ambassador for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

  • 2019: Gordon Wesley, a stalwart of the equine sector
  • 2018: Dr Simon Curtis, for outstanding services to farriery and equine welfare
  • 2017: Jim Green, pioneer of equine emergency rescue methodology and training
  • 2016: Sue Martin BHSII, riding school and equestrian education champion
  • 2015: Paul Greeves, Thoroughbred racing and breeding advocate
  • 2014: Dr Andrew Waller, for the Animal Health Trust's Infectious Diseases Group in protecting the nation's equines
  • 2013: Martin Clunes, for the collective work of the UK Equine Welfare Charities during the winter of 2012

Pictures of all of the Sir Colin Spedding Award winners, along with the finalists from 2016, 2017 and 2018, can be found in the Roll of Honour.

More information about the Spedding Award can be found on the Podcasts page.

To celebrate the Sir Colin Spedding Award and those who have received it, we include a Memorial Lecture within the programme when appropriate.  The lecture can be given by the winner of the Award, or by someone with a connection to them.  Details can be found on the Memorial Lectures page.

How do I nominate someone?  

Nominations for the Sir Colin Spedding Award 2022 closed at 12 noon (BST), Saturday 31st July 2021.

Selection process

The NEF Spedding Award Sub-committee will produce a shortlist of nominations, from which the winner will be selected by the Organising Committee. The winner, together with any final shortlisted nominees, are invited to attend the next National Equine Forum, where the Award will be formally presented. Please note, the shortlist and ultimate decisions will be final and the National Equine Forum will not enter into any discussion.