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Grooms across the country will soon be going head-to-head, all hoping to be named the best in their trade in the UK.

The Kuster BEF Groom Award is returning for the sixth year and grooms and their employers are invited to send in their nominations.

The winning groom will receive £1,000 worth of holiday vouchers. Second prize is £300 and third £200 in cash.

Lucy Katan executive director of the British Grooms association said: “The winner will be someone that shows dedication and passion to their job.

“The judges will be looking for someone that simply has the x factor and this can be anything from longevity of service, overcoming a difficult situation, helping and training others or has done something amazing at their work.”

From the nominations ten finalists will be selected. Judges Tina Cook and British Horse Society chairman Patrick Print will then interview them and name the winner.

“It was a fantastic insight to be involved with the Kuster BEF Groom Awards,” commented last year’s judge Richard Pitman, “I hope that other employers in the equestrian world are encouraged to nominate their grooms in the future. The nomination in itself means so much.”

The newcomer award, which was introduced last year, will also be running again this year. This category is open to any groom who has worked in the equestrian industry for a maximum of three years, but who shows potential to become a “super groom”.

The award will be presented in the main arena at Olympia in December.

Last year’s winner, Jenny Ellis, was nominated by international riders John Whitaker, Simon Laurens and Richard Davison.

“I couldn’t believe it when I had the phone call,” said Jenny. “In fact I had to ask them if I could call back, just so I could let the news sink in!”

Nomination forms can be downloaded from www.bef.co.uk and entries must be received by 24 November.

Entries to be sent to: Kuster BEF Groom Award 2008, British Equestrian Federation, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2RH.