Ann merits horse award

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JEDBURGH horsewoman Ann Fraser has been awarded a national leading horse charity’s award of merit.

Mrs Fraser of Overwells received the British Horse Society’s (BHS) recognition from BHS president Martin Clunes in London earlier this month.

BHS Borders chairwoman Wanda Dodd said: “This award is very well deserved. Ann has done exceptional work for BHS and BHS Borders especially with the Borders Festival of the Horse of which she is the instigator.”

BHS Scotland’s Helene Mauchlen said: “Ann has incredible energy and is a force to be reckoned with. We are really proud that she represents BHS. She thoroughly deserves this award. She is the mastermind behind the festival and, never one to sit still, she is still improving and enlarging the festival which now has European dimensions.”

BHS’s former access officer in Scotland for 12 years is recognised by her peers as the ‘grandmother of Scottish equestrian access’ for Mrs Fraser is credited with gaining horse riders the same rights as walker and cyclists in the ‘right to roam’ Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

A member of BHS for 32 years, the former Pony Club mum co-ordinated Scotland’s first horse count by postcode in 1981 which produced the first objective data on the value of the equine industry to the rural economy.

But Mrs Fraser is best known for starting the popular Borders Festival of the Horse in 2002 in the wake of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak the previous year.

She told TheSouthern previously: “The equine industry in the Borders had really fallen apart. Several people had gone out of businesss. I had always said the Borders was Scotland’s horse country, with the most number of horses per head of population of any of the regions in Scotland, so we came up with the idea of this shop window to bring everything back to life again. It’s grown from there.”

The festival now includes 40 events over 14 days, attracting 10,000 people and horses annually.

Mrs Fraser was also the driving force behind another innovation, the extensive network of 350km of off-road South of Scotland Countryside Trails for riders, which were launched in 2005.

Mrs Fraser has been a Riding for the Disabled (RDA) instructor for 35 years and is also a past chairman of Scottish Land and Estate’s south east Scotland branch.