Incredibly hardworking and with enviable attention to detail, those shortlisted for the Horseware Groom of the Year are the grooms who keep some of our top horses in peak condition. The award winner was revealed at the H&H Awards dinner at Ascot Racecourse on 2 November.
*WINNER* E-J Eldridge, 30
Grooms for: Yard Manager at Stallion AI Services.
2017 highlight: “We had an open day here in April which showcased around 44 beautiful stallions, including Big Star, Ramiro B and Arko. My team and I had to get them all bathed, groomed, trimmed up and plaited for that one day and it was a challenge but fantastic fun.”
I decided to become a groom when… “I got into horses at a young age and always wanted a job with them — horses are my passion. I groomed for Gareth Hughes and Emile Faurie before I took the yard manager’s role at Stallion AI Services four years ago.”
Top grooming tip: “I’m a perfectionist and like to know where everything is which helps when I’m working quickly.”
Words from the boss: “E-J has been nominated for this award in recognition of her commitment to her vital role at Stallion AI Services,” says proprietor Tullis Matson. “She has responsibility for some very high-profile stallions (including horses such as Big Star), but her excellent standards of care are given to every stallion that visits our facility.”
Also shortlisted were:
Sophie Richardson, 23
Grooms for: Kathryn Robinson and Giovanni Ugolotti.
2017 highlight: “Watching Let it Bee finish 12th in the ERM at Blenheim — he’s my favourite and who I went to Rio and Badminton with. Going to shows with him is always a highlight.”
I decided to become a groom when… “I’ve always wanted to work with horses and love going to the big shows, so being a groom enables me to do that. I worked with Kathryn and Giovanni as a working pupil and then went back two years later in 2015 as head girl.”
Top grooming tip: “Don’t get stressed — being a groom can be hard work so always have a plan and be as organised as you can.”
Words from the boss: “She cares so much about the horses and us,” says Kathryn Robinson. “She keeps us on track and organised, and is always in a good mood. She is more like a best friend to me and is always there when I need her. She is the glue that holds us together.”
Jade Rudman, 26
Groom for: Christopher Burton.
2017 highlight: “Being in the lead at Badminton Horse Trials this year was amazing and winning two classes in Haras Du Pain at 3* and 2*.”
I decided to become a groom when… “I always wanted to work with horses and a weekend job at Chris’ yard turned into a full-time one four years ago.”
Top grooming tip: “Get to know the horses as well as you can to get the best out of them. If you know them really well, you’ll know if something isn’t quite right.”
Words from the boss: “Jade’s level of care and personal devotion to the horses goes above and beyond what is expected of her,” says Chris Burton. “She always knows when things are wrong with her horses certainly before I know and sometimes before they even know. We feel very lucky to have had her for so long!”
Sarah Charnley, 55
Grooms for: Ros Canter.
2017 highlight: “Grooming for Ros at the Europeans and Badminton Horse Trials were definitely my highlights of this year. Helping her at the Europeans was a massive honour.”
I decided to become a groom when… “I work full time as a building control surveyor and event my own horse at grassroots level so grooming for Ros is a side venture that I do because of my passion for eventing and my friendship with Ros. I drive Ros’ lorry and groom for her at events which enables me to not only give something back to the sport and help a friend, but also experience some amazing places.”
Top grooming tip: “Being organised is key so make sure you have everything to hand that you need.”
Words from the boss: “Sarah goes above and beyond for me,” says Ros Canter. “She is always there to help me out, driving long hours in the lorry, and does it all with a smile on her face. She is always happy and chirpy and endlessly enthusiastic towards the horses.”