Grooms working at the European Dressage Championships at Hickstead (13-17 August) can look forward to enjoying improved facilities and conditions, plus the chance to win £100, courtesy of Natural Animal Feeds (NAF).
The important role played by elite dressage grooms, who are responsible for Europe’s top horses, is increasingly being recognised, mainly thanks to the efforts of former elite groom, Lucy Katan, who is international grooms co-ordinator at the show.
Lucy is a member of the BEF working party that is seeking toimprove conditions and career structure for elite grooms and has been appointed to ensure that all grooms feel welcome and enjoy their role at this special event.
“The working party aims to improve the way that grooms are treated at competitions and I hope that my commitment to Hickstead, and Hickstead’s comitment to their grooms, shows that this issue is finally moving forwards,” says Lucy.
Show director, Dane Rawlins agrees: “I greatly appreciate the vital role of the grooms at major events and we strive to ensure that they are properly welcomed and well looked after at Hickstead.”
NAF is the official grooms’ sponsor at the championships and has introduced a new “Groom of the Show” award, which will be presented in the International Arena.
Grooms will be judged on their horse’s turn out, their stable area tidiness plus general attitude and friendliness at the show. The winning groom will receive a jacket and a £100 cash prize from NAF.
NAF’s funding will also provide for better facilities and conditions for grooms than are usual at major events, with all grooms receiving a “kit bag” with the NAF and European Dressage Championships logos, full of NAF information and products.
Tracey Lloyd, marketing manager for NAF, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting the grooms in this way. It is about time these unsung heroes were recognised for their part and treated in the manner they deserve.
“All too often their hard work goes un-noticed, and we all know that without the back-up of a dedicated, knowledgeable groom, no horse or rider would ever make it into the arena in the first place!”