A North Yorkshire Police officer has been given a prestigious BHS award in recognition of her work to help keep riders safe on the roads.
Sergeant Zoe Billings was presented with the Tarquin Trophy by the BHS president, Martin Clunes, at a ceremony in London on 23 November 2018.
The Trophy is awarded annually to an organisation that makes a significant contribution to equestrian safety.
To date, Sgt Billings has delivered safety presentations to around 300 riders at joint North Yorkshire Police and BHS events.
Her talks are aimed at reducing the vulnerability of horse riders and involve talking about both the practicalities of rider safety and the psychological side, such as when to ride, when not to ride, and how to react when their horse is scared by something.
Improving riders’ relationships with motorists, including courteous riding, such as thanking motorists and what to do when drivers react in a disappointing way, forms part of the talk along with presentations from the BHS and a civil law input from a solicitor.
Speaking after the ceremony which was held at Saddlers Hall, Sgt Billings said: “I am delighted that the talks have been recognised by the British Horse Society. After investigating fatal and serious road collisions for several years and seeing the devastation they cause, this is a small contribution to help keep riders safe.
“The presentation includes much humour and self-deprecation, and features my own horse, Megan. It’s been likened to road safety meeting stand-up comedy, which is a great way to engage people and get serious messages across.
“I’m also pleased that it’s received a lot of positive feedback, including some repeat audience members! I’m looking forward to supporting more events and raising awareness of the importance of rider safety.”
Director of Safety for The British Horse Society, Alan Hiscox said: “We’re delighted to have awarded North Yorkshire Police with the Tarquin Trophy for their exceptional service in the cause of equestrian safety. North Yorkshire Police were one of the first to support our ‘Dead Slow’ campaign and help spread its vital safety messages and they have shown continual support to the BHS over the past couple of years. All of us at the BHS are extremely grateful for their passionate commitment.”
North Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable, Phil Cain, added: “My congratulations go to Zoe on a very well-deserved award. Road safety is a priority for North Yorkshire Police and being a large, rural county, we have a thriving equestrian community with lots of activities going on.
“We are honoured that the British Horse Society has recognised Zoe’s work which contributes to our overall road safety strategy to keep all road users safe.”