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National Equine Forum introduces special COVID-19 award
The National Equine Forum.
Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 to celebrate 'exceptional efforts' during 2020.

Organisers behind the National Equine Forum (NEF) have changed the emphasis of the Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 to celebrate those who have gone 'above and beyond' during this difficult year.

The NEF said the decision had been reached 'given the exceptional circumstances of 2020 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic'. The deadline for nominations has also been extended to 16 October 2020.

NEF Chair Tim Brigstocke, said: “We have already received many nominations for individuals and organisations, as yet without accolade, who have made exceptional efforts beyond their usual job or remit, during this troublesome year.

“The pandemic continues to present challenges for the equestrian sector on an unprecedented scale and we believe we should acknowledge the trials, tribulations and extraordinary efforts undertaken to overcome the challenges we have all been living through over the past seven months.”

Introduced in 2013, the Sir Colin Spedding Award has become one of the most respected annual awards within UK equestrianism. Previous winners include Suffolk Punch champion Nigel Oakley (2020 joint winner); welfare-driven equestrian journalist Eleanor Jones (2020 joint winner); equine sector stalwart Gordon Wesley (2019), and exceptional farrier Dr Simon Curtis (2018).

The award is named after the founding chairman of the NEF, who chaired the event for 20 years until his death in 2012. He ensured that representatives of all areas of the equine sector felt welcome and that topics of general interest and concern could be openly discussed.

For 2020/21, the award will be re-named to the Sir Colin Spedding COVID-19 Award. Individuals or organisations from any equestrian field are eligible for nomination, as long as their outstanding qualities have not been formally acknowledged elsewhere.

Non-pandemic related nominations that have already been received will be carried over to 2022. For more information and submit a nomination, visit the NEF website.

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit 

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News Shorts
Survey seeks views on keeping cows with calves

Researchers at Scotland's Rural College are seeking views from dairy farmers on keeping cows with calves.

Their study entitled 'Keeping Cow with Calf: bringing innovation to dairying in Scotland' aims to find out the motivations and reservations about operating a cow-with-calf dairy system.

The survey will help researchers build an evidence base and gauge what support farmers need to move to this practice. For more information, or to complete the survey, visit