The eight finalists in the Horse & Hound Groom of the Year competition have been interviewed by judges Jane Holderness-Roddam, Jeremy Michaels and Helen Galbraith at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.

The finalists, who are chasing the prize of a luxury holiday in London and Venice, generously donated by Grange Hotels, are:

  • Pamela Baker, who has worked with polo ponies, show jumpers, eventers and hunters and will be assistant stable manager at the 2004 Olympics
  • Caroline Dawson, dressage rider Carl Hester’s travelling groom who previously worked with show horses and hunters
  • Amy Ayris, show jumper Lynne van Heyningen’s groom; Georgina Hirst, an endurance groom
  • Jane Graham, groom to the British Paralympic dressage squad
  • Zanie Tanswell, head girl for Pippa Funnell until recently starting a yard with her eventing boyfriend, Chris King
  • Kelly-Anne Lainsbury, who has worked on many top dressage yards and is currently with Louise Spate
  • Marie Smith, who works at the Talland School of Equitation

The overall winner will be presented with their prize, £100 spending money from NAGS sponsor Blacup Training Group and the new Groom of the Year Trophy on 10 January at the British Horse Foundation Breeders’ Awards, part of the Supporters of British Breeding dinner at The Grange Hotel, London.

Students support ragwort research

National Diploma Horse Management students at Myerscough College, Preston have raised more than £900 for The Ragwort Trust by organising a lecture demonstration at the college’s new indoor international arena.

Around 150 people attended the training event, which focused on novice level instruction and advice, with lectures on dressage by Chris Farnaby and Ashley Ward and on show jumping by Jeanette Powell.

The Ragwort Trust, which is based at Liverpool University, is developing an early warning diagnostic test in response to the increasing number of horses dying from advanced liver failure due to ragwort poisoning. The British Horse Society estimates that up to 6,000 horses die from the poisoning each year.

Dr Derek Knottenbelt, senior lecturer in Equine Medicine at the University of Liverpool and ambassador for the Ragwort Trust, was presented with the cheque at Myerscough College this month.

Dr Knottenbelt says: “I’m delighted to accept the cheque on behalf of The Ragwort Trust. Thousands of horses die of liver damage caused by digesting ragwort and a simple blood test, which this donation will help fund, can detect the first signs, allowing horse owners to prevent further exposure to the plant. Unfortunately we cannot banish ragwort, but we can aim to increase awareness and blood-testing in order to save more horses. We owe these students a big thank you on behalf of the horses they will help to save.”

For information about Myerscough College contact (tel: 01995 642211/642222).

Competition winners

The winners of Bishop Burton College’s competition to name their new mechanical horse were:

  • Cath Plak of Richmond, N Yorkshire
  • Sarah Dace of Malton, E Yorkshire
  • Ganton School

The mechanical horse will be named Bertie.

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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