Four super-grooms who give their all behind the scenes to ensure their horses are smart, fit and happy – ready to shine on competition day – but only one can be crowned Absorbine Groom of the Year
The Absorbine Groom of the Year 2023 is Lucy Scudamore.
Lucy has been working for Carl Hester for nearly seven years. She was working with young horses on a nearby yard while looking after two horses belonging to Charlotte Dujardin (one of which was En Vogue). Charlotte told her about the job opening and after a quick phone call with Carl, Lucy was hired.
A career highlight: “Definitely the Tokyo Olympics. Every groom dreams that one day everything will come together and you will get to do an Olympics, and it really was amazing to be able to experience that.”
A special horse: “En Vogue. I’ve been looking after him since he was a five-year-old. To watch him go from being a rather wild young horse, to watching him canter down the centre line at his first Olympics, was very emotional for me.”
Top tip: “Being ahead of time. Having a horse ready at a competition five minutes early gives you time for some finishing touches and a chance to catch your breath.”
The other three grooms who made the shortlist for the Absorbine Groom of the Year 2023 are:
Adam has been part of Team McEwen for three years, having decided to become a groom when he wasn’t enjoying studying at university and “knew that horses was what I wanted to do”. He moved to William Fox-Pitt’s and instantly fell in love with the grooming side of the sport and the people involved.
Career highlight: “Our trip across the pond to Kentucky this year, where JL Dublin finished second.”
A special horse: “I have been so lucky to work with lots of incredibly special horses. But if I have to mention a few, it would be CHF Cooliser, JL Dublin, Luna Mist, Toledo De Kerser and Oratorio.”
Top tip: “Always prioritise the management and happiness of your horse over anything else – 99% of horses would rather be in the field grazing than being faffed with in the stables.”
Will is married to Kieran Price and they work together, with Will acting as groom and work rider. Hunting is Will’s first passion in the equestrian world – he is joint-master at the Wheatland. Prior to working alongside Kieran, Will had his own business preparing pedigree livestock for shows.
A career highlight: “Qualifying my own three-year-old Langaller Cambridge Don for the Price Family in-hand championships at HOYS [Horse of the Year Show] last year – he came fourth.”
A special horse: “Langaller Cambridge Don. A chap Kieran was working for passed away and he had lots of youngstock, and I picked him up. He’s my baby, so easy and takes everything in his stride.”
Top tip: “I’m a stockman at heart, so it’s all about the feeding. I go from the inside out. I use all the shiny things too, but I like to start with a horse that feels great.”
Sarah has been working for event rider Ros Canter for over 10 years, alongside a full-time job as a building control surveyor. She now grooms mostly at championships and credits the home team for their work year-round.
A career highlight: “Winning Badminton in the rain with Lordships Graffalo (Walter). I have never been so drenched, and Walter’s white boots will never be clean again, but it was fantastic.”
A special horse: “My heart will always be with Allstar B, he never went anywhere without me and I was with him until the end. And then you’ve got to love Walter – he’s such a goon who keeps us all entertained. And Izilot DHI is amazingly talented and very easy to do.”
Top tip: “I make my own hoof oil, mixing it with engine oil. It highlights the black while allowing white hooves to show through. And I slather white legs with a talcum powder paste the night before, so that I can brush off any stable stains.”
Previous winners of the Groom of the Year Award
Previous winners of this award include:
- 2022: Ruth Asquith: Nicola Wilson’s head groom, who joined her team in March 2016
- 2021: Tilly Hughes, groom to Laura Collett and was her travelling groom for the Tokyo Games
- 2020: Amelia Jay Sanderson, freelance groom
- 2019: Amy Phillips, groom to Piggy French
- 2018: Jane Felton, groom to Jonty Evans
- 2017: E-J Eldridge, yard manager at Stallions AI breeding station
- 2016: Alan Davies, groom to Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin
About the Horse & Hound Awards 2023
The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the eighth year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF.
As ever, the H&H Awards winners were nominated and voted for by you. We recognised both the big names who have made 2023 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.
This year, we hosted a glittering ceremony at Dallas Burston Polo Club in Warwickshire where some 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, enjoyed a glamorous evening of champagne, winner reveals, Oscar-style speeches and dancing.