2019 BEF Medal of Honour recipients | An Eventful Life

2019 BEF Medal of Honour recipients

      Harry Meade on course at the Festival of British Eventing



Seven new recipients of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Medal of Honour were presented with their awards at this year's Olympia, The London International Horse Show, joining 316 other holders

The BEF Medal of Honour, which dates back to 1949, is awarded to those recognised as having completed acts of international endeavour in relation to equestrian sport, and for outstanding services to the BEF or its Member Bodies

 Three well-known members of the British eventing community were among the seven recipients; Cathy Butler, Harry Meade, Les Smith, Amanda Derbyshire, Holly Smith, Francesca Sterberg and Georgia Wilson

Cathy Butler announced her retirement as Chair of the Event Horse Owners Association (EHOA) in May this year, after having served in the role for nearly seven years.

During this time, she worked tirelessly to improve the sport for owners – although her efforts were often unseen, they were never-the-less experienced by EHOA members and many others. An event horse owner herself with her husband, she shone a light on the importance of owners in equestrian sport, and has made great strides in gaining recognition for them.

“This has come as a huge surprise and I feel immensely honoured to have been recognised in this way for my work with the EHOA,” commented Cathy. “It’s a privilege to have been a part of both the Association and the sport of eventing in general, which leads me to thank all those that I have worked with over the years.”

In addition to being a leading event rider, Harry Meade is a passionate and industrious contributor to equestrian sport. He is chairman of the FEI International Riders’ Working Group, on the board of the Event Horse Owners Association, a member of the Gatcombe Festival organising committee and an ambassador for equine charity Brooke. He has done much to improve understanding of eventing through his flourishing media portfolio – offering insightful contributions as part of BBC commentary team at high-profile events for the past five years and writing a regular column for Horse&Hound.

"It's a huge honour to be put forward for a medal of honour, and a great surprise,” commented Harry. “Horses and eventing have been such a big part of my life – I care deeply about both and want to be able to put something back in and do my part to ensure there's a sport for future generations to enjoy."

Les Smith is a British Eventing Board Director in his third term of office, having previously served for two four-year terms between 2007 and 2014. His greatest contribution to the sport of eventing comes through serving as an FEI Ground Jury member, regularly travelling to international events as far-flung as South Korea, Argentina, South Africa and Russia to support the development of eventing. He is passionate about the sport he has committed his life to and wants to see it flourish from grassroots all the way up to the highest level.

“I would very much like to thank the British Equestrian Fédération for awarding me this Medal of Honour, and British Eventing for nominating me,” said Les, who was unable to attend the presentation. “It is a huge honour and surprise. I find it very humbling and a little embarrassing to receive this for putting something back into a great sport that has offered me fantastic opportunities and challenges over the many years I have been involved.”