A national lifetime achievement award has been presented to former a Warwickshire College principal and Welelsbourne man for his dedication to breeding sport horses.
Professor Graham Suggett, who is also a member of Warwick Rotary, said that being selected for a British Equine Breeders Award came as a great surprise. He was chosen as winner of the South Essex Insurance Meritore Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of breeding British sport horses and presented with his accolade at a banquet in London earlier this month.
Having pioneered horse courses in the UK, after retiring in 1996, Mr Suggett became the first director of breeding at the Stoneleigh-based British Equestrian Federation.
While there, he established a now widely-used system for evaluating young sport horses and he also set up the National Equine Database which, on his retirement as chairman in 201,1 contained breeding and competition data for some 1.5 million horses.
Mr Suggett is also responsible for setting up the successful website database Betfred, which records equine research being carried out by colleges and universities.
On top of all this, he helped to set up and coordinate the National Equine Forum, which runs an annual conference in London that attracts top quality speakers from home and abroad.
Speaking after receiving the award, Mr Suggett said: “Having recovered from the shock announcement, I felt deeply moved and honoured to be so recognised by my peers for doing something which has given me great joy and satisfaction.
“I could, however, not have achieved anything without the support of many others in the horse industry and the backing of my wife, Inger.”
Mr Suggett’s other successes includ the launching of a kite mark, the Breeders Quality Mark (BQM), for stud horses, jointly launching the National Equine Thesis of the Year Competition and being honorary secretary for 12 years of the equine charity the British Horse Foundation.
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is the national governing body for horse sports in the UK and represents the interest of more than 4 million riders, vaulters and carriage drivers across the country.