The British Grooms Association (BGA) will have a new chairman at the end of this month.

John Smales, former chief executive of the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), said: “I’m very excited to be asked to chair the BGA. It fills an important gap in the horse world because it represents the interests of those who physically look after our horses.

“We intend to raise the status of grooms as a profession: their contribution to success in all horse sports and activities is significant and deserves more recognition.”

The BGA now has nearly 600 members following its launch at Badminton last year. Mr Smales will replace founder chairman Andrew Edwards, who stepped down in October.

To join the BGA, tel: 0845 331 6039 or visit www.britishgrooms.org.uk