The BEF has announced the results of its top groom award:
- 1st – Laura Hale, head girl at Hole Farm Trekking Centre, Birmingham
- Prize: £1000 holiday vouchers and bronze trophy
- 2nd – Alice Walthew, yard manager for Celia Plunkett in Banbury
- Prize: £300
- 3rd – Joanne Fulham, groom at World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm, Peel
- Prize: £200
- Best Newcomer: Fay Cort, for her work with Olympic Show Jumper John Whitaker and his wife Clare.
- Prize: unique print by artist Tim Nathan
The winners and runners-up will attend the evening performance of Olympia, the London International Horse Show on 21 December, where Laura and Fay will be officially presented with their awards.
The awards were judged by; double-Olympic medallist Tina Cook, double-Paralympic medallist Simon Laurens and the Chairman of the British Horse Society, Patrick Print.
Laura (22) from Stourbridge won the judges over by demonstrating her clear passion for her work at Hole Farm Trekking Centre in Bartley Green, Birmingham – which is both a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and Pony Club centre.
Tina Cook commented, “Laura’s passion for the children and her dedication to the welfare of the horses is incredible – her commitment and drive to make a difference is what clinched it for us.”
The Newcomer Award was won by the youngest finalist, 19 year old Fay from Hertfordshire. Fay has been working for the Olympic Show Jumper for a year, which has included intense preparation in the lead up to the Beijing Olympic Games.
“In a relatively short space of time Fay has clearly demonstrated her ability as an excellent groom, taking on a range of responsibilities and showing great initiative, she’s obviously a real asset to their team.” Said Simon Laurens.
Second placed BEF Groom, Alice (26) has worked in her current role for seven years at a private yard in Banbury, where she helps to produce winning eventers, point-to-point horses and hunter chasers. She was nominated by her employer Celia Plunkett, who was keen to recognise Alice’s spirit, tact, hard work and organisation.
Third placed Joanne (20) impressed the judges with her mature approach and attitude to animal welfare. She works for World Horse Welfare Penny Farm, in Peel looking after and helping to rehabilitate, and ultimately re-home, ill and neglected horses.