Gordon Wesley, an all round champion of the equestrian cause, was announced as the winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award at yesterday’s National Equine Forum (NEF) on 7th March 2019. This special commendation was given in recognition of his longstanding dedication to many aspects of the equine sector, both home and abroad.
Gordon Wesley developed his passion for equestrianism during the final years of his 31-year career in the Army when he was invited to run the School of Infantry Saddle Club. He went on to qualify as an equestrian coach and joined New Hall Catholic School for Girls as Riding Manager, turning their stables into a British Horse Society examination centre. During this time Gordon became an instructor for the Wylye Valley Pony Club, marking the start of 30 years of commitment to the organisation and culminating in him becoming Chairman of The Pony Club UK.
A senior and ultimately chief examiner for the BHS for 18 years, Gordon was also a loyal volunteer for the Association of British Riding Schools for 42 years. He was chairman of every committee and also introduced the ABRS examination system in Spain. Now, at the age of 90, he still works as the ABRS’s moderator for examination papers.
Gordon is a founder of the Jeffress Scholarship Trust and has worked tirelessly for 23 years, even in poor health, to help trainers and coaches achieve their goals and realise their teaching dreams with the support of scholarship bursaries. Gordon was also a member of the National Equine Forum committee for 17 years.
Unfortunately Gordon was not well enough to attend the Forum so the Award was presented to his daughter Boo Powe on his behalf, by HRH The Princess Royal, President of the National Equine Forum. Dr Georgina Crossman, NEF Convener, also presented the Award certificate to him at The Queens Arms, Corton Denham, last month.
The Sir Colin Spedding Award was introduced in 2013 in Sir Colin’s memory. It 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.
Previous recipients of the award are: Dr Simon Curtis, FWCF a practicing farrier in Newmarket, Suffolk (2018), Jim Green, pioneer of equine rescue methodology and training (2017), Sue Martin BHSII who runs Trent Park Equestrian Centre (2016), 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 Diseases Group (2014) and Martin Clunes on behalf of UK Equine Welfare Charities (2013).