The British Grooms Association (BGA) and the Showing Council have become members of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

On 1 February the two organisations joined the 16 other independent equestrian member bodies — which include British Dressage and British Eventing.

BEF membership gives grooms and showing competitors a greater voice both with the FEI, which runs horse sport globally, and with other domestic agencies. The BEF also works to improve standards in coaching, doping control and other areas.

The BGA is the world’s only professional association for grooms.

“Being invited to join the BEF is further demonstration of the vital role the BGA holds within the industry,” said BGA executive director Lucy Katan.

“We hope that even more grooms will recognise the importance of this development and join their professional association. With the support of the BEF, the BGA can continue to make a real difference for grooms and their employers.”

The Showing Council represents an amalgamation of key showing bodies and aims to keep breeding, welfare, education and health and safety standards high.

Brian Williams of the Showing Council said the move was a “significant leap forward” for the showing world.

BEF chairman Keith Taylor added: “The experience of both organisations will bring breadth and depth to the BEF.”