Posted on 12th March 2019
The Sir Colin Spedding Award is presented annually to an exceptional unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world and Gordon Wesley is the recipient for 2019.
Gordon retired from the Army after 31 years’ service. Three years prior to that, he was asked to run the School of Infantry Saddle Club. That was when he got the equestrian bug and at the ripe old age of 48, he decided to leave the Army, six years before the official retirement age, to train to be an equestrian coach. He did his training at Talland S of E and Maperton Stud and Wyldcourt Stud.
He later joined New Hall Catholic School for Girls for 10 years and Licensee/Riding Master and turned their stables into a BHS Examination Centre. He was also able to help many young girls through their equestrian exams. He was much loved by them all.
During those years, he was also an instructor for the Wylye Valley Pony Club and became an Area Rep for the Pony Club, then Chairman of Management and later becoming Chairman of the Pony Club UK. He devoted in total 30 years to the Pony Club.
For 18 years, (1980-98), he worked for the BHS and became a Senior and ultimately a Chief Examiner for the BHS at Level 3.
He joined the ABRS in 1976 and he has been a loyal volunteer for 42 years. He was Chairman of every Committee up until 2009. He still works at the age of 90 as their Moderator for examinations papers. He is now ABRS Life Vice President. He introduced the ABRS exams system in Spain in the eighties, which still continues to this day.
Alongside his time with the ABRS, he became a founder of the Jeffress Scholarship Trust (holding the Chairmanship three times and has been the Trustee (Training) for a total of 23 years. He has worked tirelessly even in recent poor health, to help trainers/coaches to achieve their goals by being awarded scholarship bursaries, to improve their coaching expertise and thereby improve their career prospects. Many scholarship holders have had immense talent but have not been in a financially strong position to obtain training with some of the UK’s top trainers. Therefore, having the opportunity to get a bursary and train with such individuals has been an amazing experience for them and ultimately truly life-changing for them!
Just before he helped to found the Trust, he also joined the NEF Committee and during the period 1992 – 2009 (total of 17 years) he held the positions of General Secretary and now is an Hon. Fellow.
Gordon’s wife had Parkinson’s Disease for 23 years and died in 2013. He was her main carer during most of that period and yet still devoted much time to voluntary work. He is good-humoured, patient, firm but fair and extremely hard-working.
Congratulations Gordon from all at the ABRS