Most people know that the Queen loves horses and riding. She owns all kinds of horses, but is best known for her racehorses.
Those who watched the BBC documentary, The Queen: a Passion for Horses, which aired in May 2013 showed just how important all things equestrian are to The Queen. Therefore, when her birthday honours list was published it came as no surprise to see several high profile equestrians on the list.
The equestrians on the honours list come from all parts of the equestrian world, and are not just famous people. For example, John McEwen, who is the director of equine sports science and medicine for the Equestrian World Class Programme, has been awarded an MBE. Having worked for over 30 years with the British show jumping and dressage teams, he is well known within the equine world, but few people outside that world are aware of him and his dedicated work, which has helped to make British showjumpers so successful.
The general public perhaps better knows Andrew Finding. His work for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics bought him to the attention to many people who are not horseriders. Andrew, who is also the British Equestrian Federation’s Chief Executive, was awarded an OBE.
This year equestrian volunteers are also being recognised for the contribution they make. Catriona Cook, a volunteer with the British Horse Society is to receive an OBE. Over the years, she has been instrumental in helping the society to open up an extra 100 miles of bridleways and byways. Pam Rigby, the chair of the Mid-Cheshire Riding for the Disabled organisation has been awarded a MBE for her work with the disabled.
Perhaps the most famous equestrian on the list is Clare Balding who is well known by the public because of her work as a sports and entertainment presenter for the BBC and Channel 4. Most people first saw her when she presented highlights from Royal Ascot, in 1995. However, her connections with the equestrian world are actually far closer than that. Her father was a jockey and racehorse trainer who worked for the Queen. Clare was also a successful amateur flat jockey for five years, and became the Champion Lady Rider, in 1990.
The Queen has honoured people from the equestrian world in the past. However, this year there are more equestrians on her list than ever before.