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Horse & Hound is relaunching its popular “Groom of the Year” competition, in association with National Association of Grooms and Students (NAGS), with a fantastic prize up for grabs, courtesy of Grange Hotels.

The successful groom and their guest can look forward to spending one night in the five-star Grange City Hotel, opposite Tower Bridge in London before being flown business class to Venice to spend five nights at the luxurious four-star Starhotel Splendid Suisse hotel. On returning to the UK, the winner and guest will enjoy another night at the Grange City Hotel, London.

The competition is open to all grooms, whether from a local riding school or top competition yard. Applicants can nominate themselves or be nominated by their employer or fellow professional. A brief self-written CV of the nominee’s grooming career must support all applications.

The hopefuls will be short-listed for the final, which will be held at Hartpury College. The applicants will have a short relaxed interview with a panel of judges in which they will be encouraged to display their depth of knowledge and passion for their job.

The judging panel will be Jane Holderness-Roddam, Jeremy Michaels and Michael Whitaker’s head groom for six years, Helen Galbraith.

The winner will be presented with their prize at the prestigious Supporters of British Breeding Dinner at the Grange City Hotel on 10 January 2004 including accomodation for the winner and a guest, courtesy of Grange Hotels.

“Grooms are the under acknowledged backbone of the horse world,” says Horse & Hound editor Lucy Higginson. “I hope this award will help raise recognition of the thanks every rider owes the grooms who help keep our horses happy and healthy, with a fantastic prize for the winner, thanks to Grange Hotels.”

Full competition details and an entry form will appear in the 6 November issue of Horse & Hound.

Brains of Britain

Now in its fifth year, the prestigious Eqvalan Thesis of the Year Awards will be held in the Royal Pavilion at Stoneleigh Park on 1 November during the British Equine Event.

Five students, selected from 20 equine colleges around the UK, have been short-listed to present their original research thesis to a panel of equine industry professionals. The winner will receive a cheque for £500, and the runner up £200.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) initiated award is designed to reward academic excellence within colleges offering equine degree courses.

Mike Calvert, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society says: “The awards are designed to recognise student excellence. We are spotlighting research conducted by colleges that otherwise lays unrecognised. These students represent the research industry’s executives of the future and we want to provide them with a showcase in which to highlight their work.”

The five finalists will present a 15min overview of their findings to the judges before being questioning about their research, which is then reviewed by the panel.

Last year’s winner was Lynne Uttley, a student of Hartpury College, Glos, who is currently continuing her research into equine dentistry as part of her master’s degree. Lynne says: “Winning the award has had a huge impact on my life, and enabled me to speak at the National Equine Forum in London, which was a brilliant experience. My work has gained recognition and the field of equine dentistry has been highlighted.”

The five finalists are:

  • Jessica Davies, Royal Agricultural College: The molecular genetics of equine stereotypic behaviour
  • Hannah Jane Haskew, Nottingham Trent University: The effect of different coloured ramp matting on loading behaviour in horses
  • Rachel Heenan, University of Limerick: Foal Pneumonia and subsequent race and sales performance
  • Hannah Sweeting, Writtle College: Storage of equine concentrate feeds: implications of mould and mycotoxin contamination
  • Kirsty Dougal, University of Aberdeen: Molecular mechanisms involved in equine laminitis: regulatory motifs for transcriptional factors controlling the expression of MMP-2 in the equine lamellae

Become a member

Membership of NAGS is free to all bona fide grooms and students. Benefits include: Horse & Hound subscription at £1 per copy, £3 discount voucher on a sack of Blue Chip Dynamic, 10% discount on Splash Equestrian equipment and clothing, no P&P charges from Equestrian Vision mail order and eligibility for NAGS-only competitions and offers.

If you are interested in becoming a member, write to: NAGS, Room 2018, Kings Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LS (tel: 020 7261 6993), or e-mail: nags@ipcmedia.com

And remember, the club is open to all students, not just those studying for an equine qualification.

  • If you have any news or information you think would make a story for the NAGS weekly bulletin, please e-mail details to: kerry_bowness@ipcmedia.com
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