Past FEI Award Winners Are Still Helping Disadvantaged Kids

FEI LogoFEI Development Award winners continue to make a difference

Press Release Date:  June 17, 2013

Just two weeks after launching the FEI Awards 2013, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body of equestrian sport, has already received dozens of nominations.

Many of these are for the Development category, which rewards an individual or organisation dedicated to making equestrian sport accessible to a wider public.

Past recipients of the FEI Development Award are still enhancing lives through their work with horses.

Thanks to the efforts of Ros Spearing, founder of the Ebony Horse Club, winner of the FEI Development Award 2010, more than 700 children now enjoy a riding centre, incongruously located in Brixton, London.

The centre was built in one of London’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in 2011 after Ebony’s eight-year fundraising effort. Its opening was a dream for Spearing who, since 1996 had dealt with the logistics of transporting the young members of her horseless club to riding centres around London. In addition to riding, they learned key social skills. To date, eight have moved on to careers in the horse industry.

More than 160 children use the centre each week and 17 local schools send pupils there.

Spearing, who was awarded an MBE from HM Queen Elizabeth II, told the FEI:

“The grassroots level is very important. Projects like this need attention and the FEI Development Award is one of the ways in which they are highlighted.”

South African-based Shumbashaba – Horses Helping People, headed by Sharon Boyce, winner of the FEI Development Award 2012, continues to improve the lives of seriously disadvantaged people in the township of Diepsloot through its equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning programmes.

The non-profit organisation will on 22 June host a day of equestrian, boccie, volleyball and 7-aside soccer that will see able and disabled sportspeople compete side by side.

This is the second consecutive year that Shumbashaba will join forces with Special Olympics South Africa and Bona Lesedi, a day care centre in the township of Diepsloot for people with disabilities, to organise a “Unified Sports Day”. The event is expected to attract 100 participants.

Speaking of winning the 2012 award, Sharon Boyce commented:

“My initial reaction was ‘WOW! People do notice and value what we do!’ I believe it incredibly important to support and affirm the Development work around you as this increases awareness and is an impetus for greater motivation to make a difference.”

Nominations for the FEI Awards 2013 can be made via

Media contact:
Richard Johnson
Director, Corporate Communications
[email protected]
+41 21 313 44 89
+41 78 750 61 22