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Meet the Haddon Training British Grooms Award Winners

With 2016 being a fabulous years for recognition of grooms in general, this years’ nominees for each category were of an exceptionally high standard. 

This is the third year Haddon Training has sponsored the awards, it is a great event which sees real recognition for the dedication and hard work of the grooms of Great Britain. 

At the British Breeders Awards Dinner, Chris Hewlett, Managing Director of Haddon Training presented the winning candidates with their awards, commenting:

“The standard of nominations received in the four categories was extremely high and along with my co-judges, Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Jenny Ellis, we deliberated for a number of hours of who should be the worthy winners and feel that they have all made an outstanding contribution in their careers or at the start of their career in the equestrian industry”.

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Image Left to Right - Jennie Loriston-Clarke, Janet Willis, Mark Beever, Georgie Thomas, Marcelle Tattersall, Elizabeth Killick and Chris Hewlett

Liz Daniels from the BGA caught up with the winners to find out more about these super grooms:

HADDON TRAINING BRITISH GROOM AWARD WINNER – JANET WILLIS

Janet has been part of the Newton family for the last 31 years, where she is their Head Girl. Her Nominator, Wilma Newton, says, “Janet has always taken responsibility on her stride and able to make decisions at crucial moments. Her attention to detail has meant that every aspect is covered and no stone left unturned.

She has enormous empathy with the horses, treating every one as an individual and caring for their every need. Janet is always the first to arrive in a morning and last to leave at night and always manages to keep her fantastic sense of humour throughout. Janet is a true professional and a credit to her work, and even at sixty one has never waned. I feel privileged to have her as part of my team.”

What does it mean to win this award?
I was a bit shocked, it was a complete surprise. It’s so nice people recognise and appreciate you. I just get on with my job and never expected this. I am so humbled, there are hundreds of other hard working grooms who are deserving and I can’t quite believe that its me!

How long have you worked with horses?
I’ve worked for the Newtons for 31 years and with horses for about 40 years in total.

Who would you like to thank? 
Thanks to the Newtons for putting up with me over the years. We have been through thick and thin! I’d also like to thank the people that I work with, it’s a real team effort, it’s not just one person who works hard, it is all of us.

How important are the awards? 
People don’t always realise how much work goes in to it so it’s great to be thanked and for grooms to be appreciated by the industry.

Janet Willis

THE HADDON TRAINING BRITISH GROOM AWARD RUNNER-UP - GEORGIE THOMAS

Georgie works for Danni Evans and is in charge of the day to day running of her event yard.

Her nominator Danni says, “Georgie is an outstanding team leader. With a continuous smile and a happy positive outlook she has made an enormous difference to the feel and atmosphere on the yard, so much so that owners and other staff have commented on it. Georgie has a natural feel for the horses and is very aware of their needs, everyday pampering happens a lot and they are her friends as much as anything. She is seriously one in a million."

 Georgie Thomas

THE HADDON TRAINING BRITISH EQUESTRIAN TEAM GROOMS AWARD - MARK BEEVER

Mark worked for Nick Skelton for 25 years full time, and more recently started working on a freelance basis for the last 18 months. 

His nominator says, “When Nick Skelton paid testament to Mark, in his interview straight after winning Individual Gold at Rio 2016 it highlighted to the world the value that he placed on his groom of more than 31 years. Just a few months later, when Mark was awarded the Grooms Award at the British Showjumping Award Ball, Nick stood on stage and told the entire room how relentless, meticulous and diligent Mark had been in nursing of Big Star back to health from an injury many thought he wouldn’t come back from.

Without Mark’s professional approach to his job and his going beyond the call of duty will without doubt have played a pivotal part in GB’s success. A success, which made history by being the first time GB have won an Individual Gold in Showjumping.”

What does it mean to win this award?
I’ve been lucky enough to win a few awards but I always tell people that it’s not about me, it’s a big team that is involved. It’s the icing on the cake after everything that Nick and Big Star have been through. I’m very lucky, I’ve wanted to learn and I’ve worked hard, but I’m just a normal person. I’ve always wanted to work with horses and so it’s a dream come true.

How long have you worked with horses?
I’m 56 and I’ve been in the job for 35 years.

Who would you like to thank?
Maria for nominating me for the ward, but ultimately thanks to Big Star and Nick. Ultimately Big Star won and it’s the horse that wins it for you. I wouldn’t have been to half of the places in the world if it wasn’t for Nick.

How important are the awards?
They are so important and I think that younger grooms will look to us older grooms for inspiration and advice. The recognition from the industry and from Nick means a great deal. All of the grooms out there are amazing and work so hard, so these awards are a great thing.

Mark Beever

HADDON TRAINING YARD MANAGER AWARD - MARCELLE TATTERSALL

Yard manager to International event rider Gemma Tattersall. 

Marcelle’s Nominator, Martin Bell in collaboration with a group of Gemma’s other owners, said, “Marcelle has made an extraordinary contribution to her daughter Gemma’s eventing career that led her to representing GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

From being the original ‘Pony Club’ mum that was broadly similar to that of hundreds of other Mums (and also Dads) who sustain the recreational and junior competition levels in eventing by providing an astonishing multi-tasking array of skills: stable manager, trainer, financier, groom, transport driver, first-line para-medic and, particularly important, in-house sports psychologist that led Marcelle over the years to take on the roles joint travelling Competition Groom with, then Gemma’s Yard Manager, Elodie Frost.

Marcelle’s contribution is the extraordinary energy and endurance she commits to all her roles in developing good relationships; working with the home team involved with Team Tattersall, the co-ordination of the travelling grooms team, with owners in connection with activities at specific event, providing a social media news service to owners who are unable to attend events, to her legendary and well-noted horsebox driving stamina nationally and internationally!”

What does it mean to win this award?
I am completely surprised, I received an email saying I had won the award and wondered if I was reading it right! I was amazed that anyone had nominated me, or even noticed, I was just cracking on and doing what I always go. It’s a real honour.

How long have your worked with horses?
I did my A-levels, as my parents wanted me to, and then left to get a job at a riding school. I’ve always had a career with horses and training in the old fashioned way, hundreds of years ago and did my stages and my AI.

Who would you like to thank?
Thanks to all of Gemma’s owners for nominating me and writing the lovely things that they did. Thanks to my family for putting up with me running out of the door every five minutes, and to all of the girls at home – they are amazing.

How important are the awards?
We grooms all work so hard and we love the horses and previously have got such little recognition for it. Everyone puts in above and beyond the hours and the riders couldn’t do it without the grooms. Anything the industry can give back is so good, so thank you for recognising us.

HADDON TRAINING APPRENTICE AWARD - ELIZABETH KILLICK

Elizabeth, a groom, trainee rider and competition groom, was nominated by Haddon Training Assessor Alex Hubbard, and her employer Matt Hicks.

Matt says, “Lizzie has worked for me for the past three years. When she came to me she was inexperienced, lacked confidence and was nervous. She has improved immeasurably and embraced her Haddon Training opportunities whole heartedly. She has exceeded expectations. Lizzie is enthusiastic and reliable and we wouldn’t be without her.”

What does it mean to win this award?
It really means a lot because of all of the work I have done, and it acknowledges the work that grooms do. It means a huge amount to be recognised, its really boosted my confidence and I’m really proud.

How long have you worked with horses?
I’ve worked with horses for three years. I started working on my gap year and meant to go to uni, but never did.

Who would you like to thank?
My boss Matt Hicks. We have got a great working relationship, he helps me lots and has been really good to me, and also put me forwards for this award.

How important are the awards?
I think they are really important as it gives grooms a voice and acknowledges us. It’s nice for people behind the scenes to get noticed and great that the award recognises people across all levels. Thank you, it really means a lot.

Elizabeth Killick

Thank you to the British Grooms Association for conducting these interviews. 

 

 

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