Marsh Award for Conservation in Genetic Bio-Diversity

This Award, run in association with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, recognises individuals or a group that have made significant technical, scientific and practical contributions to the field of genetic bio-diversity. The Award has been running since 1996.

The understanding of genetic bio-diversity is of great importance in helping the conservation of rare breeds as well as encouraging breed variation. The Award recognises those who have shown a commitment to their research in this field, and who have gone to great lengths to apply their knowledge, and work with other individuals and organisations, in order to achieve these aims.

Pictured: Hackney Horses

The 2013 winner is Michael Dewhurst

Michael studied the genetics of Exmoor ponies at Liverpool University and since then has continued to monitor the genetic diversity of the Exmoor breed, providing much guidance and help to individual breeders.

Michael is a valuable member of the Breed Society Council and has delivered a number of presentations at the Breed Society AGMs, in order to provide information on the genetic viability of the Exmoor pony and the genetics that are poorly represented. He has also taken part in the Exmoor Pony Society training scheme to become qualified in assessing the sustainability of foals for registration as breeding animals.

As a practising veterinary surgeon, Michael has provided assistance to the owners of mares with some of the least represented genetics which do not often appear in foal. Because of this work and though the RBST semen bank, there are now foals on the ground with these genetics. Michael has also used his skills and knowledge to lease or purchase mares that are genetically important and breed them.

Pictured above: Michael Dewhurst with a young foal


The Rare Breeds Survival Trust
Avenue Q
Stoneleigh Park