Absorbine Groom of the Year 2022

Welcome to the Horse & Hound Awards 2022, which are back for the seventh year to celebrate the stars of equestrianism, in partnership with NAF

  • Honouring the dedication, skill and sheer effort and love of horses this individual exerts to ensure the best care of their charges, day and night.

    The 2022 winner

    Ruth Asquith: Ruth is Nicola Wilson’s head groom and joined her team in March 2016.

    Career highlight: “Bulana and Nic winning individual bronze and team gold at Strzegom Europeans in 2017, and JL Dublin and Nic winning double gold at the Europeans in 2021.”

    Her top tip?: “Always go the extra mile, even when you’re tired or it’s late, because you expect your horses to give 100% and so should you. Also celebrate the good days, truly celebrate them, because those memories will keep you pushing on the bad days.”

    A special horse to Ruth: “That’s really tough as we’ve had some really special ones. Erano M, Hawk Eye and Annie Clover were all special to me, but Bulana and JL Dublin are definitely up there. Bulana is my best friend, and I went to everything JL Dublin did since he was a five-year-old.”

    Also shortlisted were:

    Alison Bell: Alison is 2022 eventing world champion Yasmin Ingham’s travelling groom, and has worked for her since January 2019.

    Career highlight: “It has to be Yaz and Banzai Du Loir winning the World Championships in Pratoni, but that is very closely followed by our trip to Kentucky five-star this year, where they finished second.”

    A special horse to Ruth: “Banzai is most definitely my soft spot!”

    Primrose Hawker: Primrose started working for dressage rider Daniel Watson at Aster Horses just over two years ago, having previously worked producing show horses and ponies competing at Horse of the Year Show and the like.

    Career highlight: “Being part of the team in Le Mans where Daniel competed Aster Berlin. They won and it was a special moment for the whole team.”

    Her top tip?: “Good old-fashioned grooming! I prefer not to wash horses every day, to help preserve the natural oils in their coats that provide a natural shine.”

    A special horse to Primrose: “Aster Berlin, who is Daniel’s up-and-coming grand prix horse – he is a joy to handle.”

    Polly Holbrook: Polly works for event rider Laura Collett and joined her team in June 2021.

    Career highlight: “Watching Laura and London 52 complete the cross-country at Badminton this year. I couldn’t bear to watch and I just remember bursting into tears as she galloped past me. Seeing them cross the finish line is something I’ll never forget.”

    Her top tip?: “Stay humble and never be above any job.”

    A special horse to Polly: “This is a hard one! A current horse on the yard would have to be Mr Bass – he always puts a smile on your face and is such a character. I also have a horse of Laura’s who has retired from eventing, called Canyon Du Fort Vert, living with me now.”

    Previous winners of this award include:

    • 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 2022

    The Horse & Hound Awards returned for the seventh year in a row, running again in partnership with NAF. Some 300 people, including Olympic and Paralympic superstars, gathered to enjoy a glamorous evening of champagne, winner reveals and dancing at Cheltenham Racecourse. As in previous years, the H&H Award winners were nominated and voted for by you, the readers. We seek to recognise both the big names who have made 2022 special and the unsung heroes who make it possible for all of us to enjoy equestrian sport and our horses, at whatever level.

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