Today, British Equestrian honoured leading equestrian figures for their services to the industry. Five individuals were presented with the British Equestrian Medal of Honour by the federation’s Chair, Malcolm Wharton CBE, and CEO, Jim Eyre. The presentation took place in the main arena at the London International Horse Show, during the afternoon performance.
The medals were presented to:
- Liz Brown
- Liz Geldard
- Caroline Griffith
- Rebecca Hewitt (2022 recipient)
- Anne and Gertjan van Olst (presented 14.12.23)
The British Equestrian Medal of Honour is awarded to those recognised as having completed acts of international endeavour in relation to equestrian sport, and for outstanding services to the Federation or its member bodies.
Liz Brown has been the Eventing Team Vet for the World Class Programme since 2008. During her tenure, she has supported horses and their human partners to numerous podium placings, most recently team gold and individual silver at Tokyo 2020, team and individual gold and individual silver at the European Championship in 2023 and individual gold at the World Championship in 2022. Her considerable veterinary expertise and equine knowledge is greatly appreciated by athletes, their support teams and owners, who find her presence a source of great reassurance on the biggest occasions.
Liz Geldard has been a groom for over 25 years. She has worked at numerous championships for dressage and para dressage during her career, and has supported the British para dressage championship teams since 2017. Her hard work, positive attitude and friendly disposition have earned her respect from athletes, officials and fellow grooms around the world. The love and care that she has for her equine charges is clearly evident and she’s always willing to make time to help or support those around her.
Caroline Griffith has been an integral part of the World Class Programme for over 20 years. Starting out as the Discipline Co-ordinator for dressage in the then newly formed World Class Start & Potential Programme in 2002, she now manages the U25 team at European Championships and the senior international teams at championships and Nations Cup competitions. Under her guidance, British squads have taken 13 team and individual championship medals, including team gold at the European Championship in 2023 and double World Championship titles for Lottie Fry in 2022.
Rebecca Hewitt was nominated for the Medal of Honour in 2022, but was only able to receive her medal today. One of only three ‘Fellows’ in British Equestrian Vaulting, Rebecca has been involved in the sport for over 30 years, first as a competitors and more recently as a coach and lunger at international level. She helped to set up the coaching levels in vaulting, becoming a senior examiner and managing the British Equestrian Vaulting coaching register, and also works with Riding for the Disabled Association vaulters, making her a key figure in developing the sport for all participants.
Yesterday, medals were also presented to Anne and Gertjan van Olst, who have been a driving force behind the success of British dressage in recent years. British star Lottie Fry has been based at their Dutch yard since 2014, where Anne and Gertjan’s mentorship and support has seen her build up an enviable string of Van Olst-owned horses and earn numerous championship successes, including double World Championship titles in 2022 with Glamourdale. In the breeding world, Van Olst stallion Negro is the sire of world-famous Valegro, while Lottie Fry’s Olympic ride Everdale is the sire of Charlotte Dujardin’s rising star Imhotep.
“It’s a privilege to present these awards because each individual has an inspiring story behind their contribution and their selfless dedication to our industry is remarkable,” commented Malcolm Wharton. Collectively, our winners epitomise all the characteristics that makes the equestrian community so extraordinary. I offer my wholehearted congratulations and gratitude to our winners of the British Equestrian Medal of Honour.”