Next month’s National Equine Forum, be held on Thursday 5th March 2015, in London, is set to play host to a dynamic line-up of speakers and delegates, in celebration of what was a golden year for equestrianism last year.

2014 was a spectacular year of achievement for equestrianism in the UK, not only in the world of sport but also in terms of an impressive roll call of important equestrian industry names on the Honours list. To celebrate, the National Equine Forum will be highlighting some of these considerable achievements and will also welcome a prestigious contingent of additional delegates this year.

The programme will cover diverse topics from equestrian politics and legislation to education and welfare. These, together with the event’s new, more flexible format should generate even more animated discussion and debate for which the Forum is renowned.

The new format will split the day into themed sections: The horse industry and the government, Training and professional development opportunities in Further Education in the UK and The horse industry: reflections and projections. The day will also include the presentation of the prestigious Sir Colin Spedding Award.

This year’s confirmed speakers include Lord De Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary for natural environment and science, who will give the Defra view of the industry. Jeanette Allen, Chair of the Equine Sector Council Steering Group and Louise Kemble, Chair of the British Horse Industry Confederation will introduce the Equine Sector General Election Manifesto for the Horse, followed by Animal Health and Welfare Officer Steven Gale giving the realistic view from the ground on the implementation of equine legislation.

A panel of Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) will explore equine health and welfare in today’s rapidly changing world. They will debate the hot topics of flygrazing, the tripartite agreement, the management of equine health, passports, horse meat and livery yard licensing. Chaired by Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, the panel will comprise Professor Tim Morris of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England, Robert Huey, CVO for Northern Ireland, Sheila Voas, CVO for Scotland and Professor Jo Price from the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework.

Professor Pat Harris, Head of the WALTHAM Equine Studies Group, Lisa Jarvis, Animal Health and Welfare Industry Product Manager at Lantra and Beth Maloney, owner of an equine training centre and former Assistant Principal of a large FE college, will explore further education training and professional development opportunities in equestrianism in the UK and open up the debate over whether we have the mix right.

Will Lambe, Head of External Affairs at the British Horseracing Authority, will assess the economic impact of racing on the industry. Claire Williams Executive Director and Secretary at the British Equestrian Trade Association will explore the results of the latest national equestrian survey, and Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation, will look at how participation in equestrianism can be increased.

In addition to the three themed sessions there will a number of five-minute topical slots interspersed throughout the day and the Sir Colin Spedding Award will be presented to the winner. This award was established in 2013 in recognition of the late Professor Sir Colin Spedding’s services to the equine sector – most especially for his extraordinary commitment in founding the National Equine Forum and then being Chair of the Forum for 19 years.

Tim Brigstocke, Chairman of NEF said: “This year’s programme is very much a reflection of the feedback and suggestions we have had from previous attendees and from detailed discussions with sponsors. The excellent array of speakers and topics should be of interest to anyone involved in the equine world.”

The Forum will be held on Thursday 5th March 2015, at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London. It now has a later start time of 10.15am, with networking from 9.15am, in response to suggestions from delegates travelling from further afield. Tickets are available to equestrian trade delegates and equestrian professionals at a cost of £100 per person, which includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. To apply or to find out how you could enjoy the privilege of becoming a Friend of the Forum please contact the Hon Secretary, Ms Tracy Allen, email teallen@warkscol.ac.uk or visit www.bef.co.uk/National-Equine-Forum/