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World Class Riders And World Class Horses Need World Class Grooms

The pivotal role that elite grooms play in the performance of world class horses and riders is recognised by the British Equestrian Federation: to win more medals Great Britain's elite riders must recruit, retain and work with the best grooms.

A working group has been set up to look at the elite grooming profession in Great Britain. The group, Chaired by Andrew Finding, includes Helen Huggett, BEF Executive Officer, Kathryn Payne, BEF Communications Co-ordinator, John McEwan, BEF Director of Equine Sports Science and Medicine and Lucy Katan, an ex-International Dressage groom of the highest level.

Lucy Katan is already making history as the first groom to be invited to speak at such high profile events as the Equestrian World Class Seminar (Lofer, Austria, 1-3 December 2002), and the National Equine Forum (London, 27 March 2003) about the needs and future potential for elite grooms.

Lucy said; "I am an example of an increasing trend within our industry: a real problem exists with recruiting and retaining top class, elite grooms. Our role can
be pivotal in winning a championship, a medal or even our country's qualification for the Olympic Games but I am one of the many grooms of recent times who have come to realise that however much we love our horses, this won't pay the bills, give us recognition or long term security. Competition grooms are voting with their feet and leaving the industry for good."

With help from the BEF Lucy has just completed a study into the status, abilities and calibre of elite grooms today, and to seek to find ways to improve the best, by interviewing and conducting a questionnaire with 27 World Class Performance and International riders and 23 of their senior grooms.

The results present a small view of a very real problem. They will be presented at the National Equine Forum and will provide the basis for the Working Group's discussion into how the industry might seek to address this issue.


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