At the British Horse Society Annual General Meeting on 28 June Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the Society, presented the Society's Awards, including the Awards of Merit, traditionally given to those who work for the Society in a voluntary capacity.
The Society is indebted to hundreds of volunteers who give unstintingly of their time, energy and expertise to furthering the cause of horses in the areas of welfare, training, education, safety, and access and rights of way.
The Award of Merit is given for outstanding services to the British Horse Society and is awarded to:
CAROLYN ANDREWS (Kemerton, Gloucestershire)
SUE ROGERS (Lanchester, Durham)
AILSA PEASE (Barnard Castle, Co Durham)
SYLVIA SULLIVAN-TAILYOUR (Warminster, Wiltshire)
Dr SHEILA BELL (Co Down, Northern Ireland)
British Riding Club Honorary Life Vice President Award
JOHN HOLT (Preston, Lancashire)
MICHAEL CLAYTON (Oakham, Rutland)
Mrs CAROLYN ANDREWS (Kemerton, Gloucestershire)
Carolyn Andrews has been a Development Officer for the South and South West Regions for over 12 years. Since the membership of the two regions stands at over 13,000 members (almost 24% of the whole Society), she has become very well known and highly respected.
In addition to her job as BHS Development Officer, she has given a tremendous amount of her own time to helping with horse events, in particular Riding Clubs competitions.
Carolyn is very skilled in dealing with horse owners - who are often not the easiest people to satisfy. Her tradestand is well known on the show circuit and often she would return home after a meeting or show to find a string of messages on the answerphone most of which she would find the energy and commitment to respond to at once. Carolyn has given so much to the Society and she will be sadly missed.
Mrs SUE ROGERS (Lanchester, Durham)
Susan Rogers has served the cause of equestrian access for over 20 years. Tireless in striving for improved and new riding routes, she was the Durham County Bridleways Officer and then the Regional Access Officer for the Northern region. She has given leadership and encouragement to the rest of the volunteer team and she also made a valuable contribution to the ARoW Policy Committee.
So great has been her commitment to the cause that she gave up her teaching post in the late 80s to become the Pennine Bridleway Officer for the Countryside Commission. She retired from this post in September 2000 having played a key role in negotiating and helping secure Government approval for the creation of this new National Trail, designed especially for horse riding and which will eventually extend from Derbyshire to Northumberland.
She has coupled her working life and her love for long distance riding and competition, with extensive voluntary activity, striving for better opportunities for equestrian access. She justly deserves great recognition and thanks from the BHS, and from riders and carriage drivers throughout the
Mrs AILSA PEASE (Barnard Castle, Co Durham)
Ailsa Pease was Chairman of the BHS Durham County Committee for three years in the early 70s, combining the positions of both Welfare Representative and Chairman.
In the 25 years that followed, she was a dedicated, committed, and truly devoted Welfare Officer. Ailsa is a brave and remarkable person. Rather than breeding, judging or watching her homebred horses win so many of the top showing awards, she has worked tirelessly to help less fortunate animals around her. She has tackled tough and tricky individuals with her inimitable brand of calm and courage; charming some and convincing others that what she recommended was right. She was very much a 'one man band' and would often venture alone into a welfare case, at times putting herself at considerable risk, but all the time focused on the animal concerned and with no thought for her own safety.
Ailsa was never too busy to go to an emergency. She dealt with some appalling cases in her years as Welfare Officer and we shall perhaps never know how many cases she rescued, transformed and re-housed personally.
Ailsa worked tirelessly with the RSPCA to enlist their support and to improve their knowledge and effectiveness when dealing with horses and ponies. She cared passionately for the underprivileged horses of Durham, and never faltered in her efforts to improve their lives.
Mrs SYLVIA SULLIVAN-TAILYOUR (Warminster, Wiltshire)
Sylvia Sullivan Tailyour has been working with the BHS in Wiltshire since 1981 when she became involved in Road Safety. In 1991 she became an examiner. She also holds the Advanced Road Safety Certificate.
In 1984 she was appointed County Welfare Representative and in the past 16 years has spent countless hours in dealing with local welfare cases. In 1994 she took over as the Regional Representative and has helped set up the system of welfare representatives in most districts in the South West, so that no one has to travel more than 20 miles to make a visit.
Sylvia is a wonderful counsellor. For those with old horses no longer capable of being ridden, she is able to help them understand when the horse or pony should be put down - never an easy decision - and has on many occasions been thanked for helping owners through that difficult time.
She judges dressage for Riding Clubs and the Pony Club and is a regular fence judge at Horse Trials. Her three year Chairmanship of the South Wiltshire Riding Club put it on a sound financial footing.
In addition she has given tremendous support to the County and Regional Chairman; without her support, suggestions and help, the region would not have reached its present standard.
Dr SHEILA BELL (Co down, Northern Ireland)
Dr Sheila Bell has been Vice Chairman of the British Horse Society since thechange in its constitution in 1998, having served with Mary Van Reyk on the Working Party responsible for the reorganisation of the Society. She has been Chairman for Northern Ireland since 1991. She was a member of BHS Council as elected representative for Northern Ireland from 1991 to 1994 and was on the General Purposes and Finance Committee. She was a Committee member of the Irish Horse Trials Society and has also been treasurer of Belees Three Day Event, adviser to Touche Ross for the Survey on equestrian tourism and a founder member of the riding clubs liaison committee for Northern Ireland.
Sheila has shown boundless energy, enthusiasm and dedication to the Society, spending countless hours in the air between Northern Ireland and England. She has had the full support of her husband Millar and her daughter Gillian, a successful Horse Trials competitor. She herself is an outstanding team player in whatever she undertakes for the Society or the equestrian world.
British Riding Club Honorary Life Vice President Award
John Holt first joined Longton Riding Club in Lancashire in 1956, after being demobbed from the Household Cavalry (Life Guards). John was elected to the Longton committee in 1960, and is still involved today as Vice President.
Longton Riding Club became affiliated to the BHS in 1964. John went on to become Vice Chairman of Area 3 (North West) Liaison Committee in November 1977, until 1980 when he became Area 3 Chairman, a post he held, with only a short break, until his semi retirement from BRC activities in 1999. John's involvement with Riding Clubs at national level began in 1982 when he was elected to sit on the Riding Clubs Executive Committee.
After being directly involved in long and sometimes heated discussions, in which his loyalty to Riding Clubs was unshakeable, he was the first to welcome a new and improved relationship between the BHS and Riding Clubs. In the summer of 1998, he took great pleasure in writing to all affiliated Clubs, recommending that they stay within the Society.
John retired at the end of 1999, both as BRC Chairman, and from the Executive Committee, although he is still involved with the Rural Riders European Championships and attends all BRC Championships in a voluntary capacity.
John is one of those invaluable volunteers who make an organisation like BRC what it is. The Riding Clubs family is extremely fond of him, and grateful for his 40 years of hard work on their behalf. We can think of nothing more fitting than to recognise this officially, and we are therefore delighted to make John the very first British Riding Clubs Life Vice President.
MICHAEL CLAYTON (Oakham, Rutland)
Michael Clayton has been a member of the British Horse Society for over forty years.
He guided the BHS through a radical restructuring in 1998, and became the first Chairman of the new Board of twelve elected Trustees. The Society has emerged stronger and more focussed under his leadership.
As Chairman of the BHS Welfare Committee he was the driving force behind the setting up of the BHS National Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, which is a model in the restoration to health of neglected and abused horses and ponies, and now serves as a national education centre in equine care.
As Chairman of the British Horse Industry Confederation he has succeeded in raising awareness of the needs and value of the equestrian industry with Government. He has championed the cause of riding schools, stressing the valuable educative role they play in the formation of young riders. During the current foot and mouth crisis, he has led the way in fighting for the cause of a crippled equestrian industry.
He has united the horse world across every discipline and interest in a way that has never been achieved before. For the first time the horse world speaks with one voice, uniting the common interests of hundreds of different societies, interests, sports and disciplines, as well as the growing number of recreational riders.