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The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is launching a new award for British grooms, called the Kuster BEF Groom Award. It has been introduced to reward and recognise the work done by grooms, who constitute the backbone of the equine industry.

The award is a result of the work that the BEF’s volunteer representative for grooms, Lucy Katan, and the BEF Working Group for Grooms has been doing, which has focused on the recognition and respect which should be afforded grooms throughout the horse world.

The judges of this year’s competition will be Zanie Tanswell, who groomed for Pippa Funnell, throughout her Grand Slam successes and won the accolade of H&H groom of the year last year, show jumper Liz Edgar and dressage rider Nicky Barrett.

In potential winners, they will be looking for:

  • Dedication to the horses that they look after
  • Commitment to their job
  • Ability to communicate and deal with tricky situations
  • The ‘X’ factor

Lucy Katan was one of several to welcome the launch of the award.

“This is a revolution in the horse industry. I don’t think any other country has anything similar. In fact, I think we can be brave enough to say that we are leading the field,” she enthused. “This is just another example of how the BEF are taking the issue of grooms seriously.”

The winning groom and their guest will receive a luxurious holiday to Naples, including business class flights and to nights in the London Grange City Hotel. In addition, the winner will be presented with a bronze by sponsor Frank Kuster.

The competition is open to all grooms, with organisers keen to stress that applicants need not be from a competition yard, but could be from a local riding school or livery yard. The only criteria are that applicants should earn their living caring for horses in some capacity.

Grooms can be nominated by themselves, by employers, owners or friends, and nominations should include details of why, in the nominator’s opinion, the nominee deserves the award. Contact details of the nominee should also be included. Entries can be sent to Kuster BEF Groom Award, British Equestrian Federation, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, or e-mailed to: info@bef.co.uk