Jackie Potts, head girl to British Olympic event rider William Fox-Pitt, has been named the Kuster British Equestrian Federation Groom of the Year.

Jackie, 43, has worked for William since 1993. After she accepted the award at the British Breeders’ dinner in London on Saturday night, she said: “The other finalists were just as deserving, so it was a competition right to the last.”

Jackie won a luxury holiday for two at the Swiss ski resort of Nendaz, worth £5,000.
In his nomination, William Fox-Pitt described Jackie as “the ultimate team player”.

“Jackie and I have enjoyed 14 seasons’ eventing together,” he said. “There have been the most amazing highs and lows, but through them all she has kept her feet firmly on the ground and her chin up.”

As work resumed on Monday morning, William joked: “We’re still celebrating here, but she won’t be allowed time off to go skiing!”

Second-placed and winning £300 was Lynne Parkinson, 28, yard supervisor at the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) recovery and rehabilitation yard at Hall Farm in Norfolk. Catherine Owen, 32, who grooms for eventing World Champion Zara Phillips, was placed third.

There were nine finalists in this year’s competition, which was judged by BBC commentator and former British Eventing chairman Mike Tucker and dressage owner, rider and breeder Sarah Pidgley.

“The standard was amazingly high,” said Mike, announcing the award on Saturday. “It was a very humbling experience.”