Jackie Potts - Eventing
A recipient of the prestigious FEI Groom of the Year Award recipient and Head Groom to William Fox Pitt for plus 25 years. Jackie has always been a BGA member and supportive of the association.
"I started riding when I was 10 and never wanted to work with anything else but horses, I look upon my work as a way of life not a job.
When I was asked to be an ambassador for the BGA I felt very honoured and hope that I can pass on some of my experience to younger grooms and encourage them in their careers as the industry is always calling out for good grooms.
Working in a yard for several years is so rewarding being able to see not only the horses develop but also to see students progress and hopefully to go on to be successful riders and grooms themselves.
I have been very lucky in my career and travelled all around the world, met some great people and been fortunate to look after some amazing horses which has to be a dream job! "
ALAN DAVIES - DRESSAGE
I've been a groom for over 30 years, working with different disciplines I flew show jumpers over from America for the first WEG in Stockholm in 1990, I've taken show horses to HOYS and RIHS, and have just been to my 4th Olympics.
I still love learning and finding new ways of doing things so the Ambassador series by the BGA is a fantastic way to help us all to keep on being great grooms!
I love my job, I have a really important part in the team and take it really seriously. If I can help encourage and inspire other people in the industry it will be amazing as we need more great grooms! I am really pleased to be asked to be an Ambassador for the BGA.
KATE VICKERS - FREELANCERS
"I have been working in the horse industry for about 15 years. I have been a freelancer since 2013 and offer a variety of services including holiday cover for individuals and businesses, show preparation and basic training via in hand work and lunging. I have two horses of my own which enjoy hacking and low level dressage in their senior years.
I'm very excited about becoming a BGA Ambassador and the chance to represent freelance grooms like myself.
I feel freelance grooms are often forgotten about when discussing the job role of a groom, as our work may not be as glamorous as that of competition grooms. However without us many people would not have peace of mind when they go on holiday, that extra helping hand in the winter months, or some great showing turnout to help give you the edge over other competitors."
'ZODAN' - Young Showjumping Ambassadors
Show jumping grooms Daniel Tarpey and Zoe Herbert, ‘ZoDan’, are well-known and approachable pair on the show jumping competition circuit. Both have many years of experience between them and have been selected to act as a voice on the floor for the show jumping grooms.
Daniel, who works for Harry Charles, and Zoe, who is William Funnell’s show groom will be sharing some of their amazing experiences, professional skills and knowledge via our new e-news, website and social media, for us all to enjoy.
“We are proud to represent all generations of show jumping grooms, both from the team at home to those that travel” commented ‘ZoDan’.
TARA SLEAFER - POLO
"I'm one of those people who followed my heart and I'm living my childhood dream of working with horses.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have worked in almost every discipline and during that time I've competed in small local classes, groomed at County Shows and worked freelance. I discovered the exciting buzz of polo and was given the opportunity of a lifetime to groom at Cartier Polo for the grand parade.
Polo really got me, it got under my skin, in my blood, that feeling of knowing I didn't want to do anything else. I now have the privilege of looking after the kindest, most wonderful loving ponies I've ever met.
My heart belongs to the ponies. I'm a groom, I'm on this planet to put the needs of my ponies before my own, even when it's nearly the end of the season, I'm really tired, and we're back late from an away tournament. I wouldn't want it any other way!
The British Grooms Association didn't exist when I began my horsey career. I didn't have their support or advice but I stuck at it through all the bad times, the lies, the insults, the shouting, the drafty damp caravans without heating or hot water, the non payment of wages and the broken promises. But the BGA is here now and I'm proud to be a part of it!"
MARK BEEVER - SHOWJUMPING
As a groom for over 35 years, and having worked for Nick Skelton for 25 of those, Mark is no stranger to the limelight having won more than a handful of awards through his journey as an elite groom.
Mark is well-known on the international circuit for being one of the most hardworking and professional grooms in the industry.
"I think that younger grooms look to older grooms for advice. I'm very lucky, I always knew what I wanted to do and it's a great career to have. I've wanted to learn and had some amazing opportunities. All of the girls and lads that work with horses are amazing and I want to give something back to the industry."
My name is Rachel Hartopp I am a qualified headteacher, SEND Leader, Teacher of 21 years within mainstream settings, Equine Facilitated Learning Practitioner, Shetland pony agility trainer, Mental Health and Animal Therapy Practitioner.
I am the founder of Berry Fields Animal Assisted Education & Consultancy we provide animal assisted interventions and activities to schools, private settings and individuals through the use of our herd of ponies and donkeys.
Having used animals within education successfully for many years, these experiences came together and created a vision to utilise the amazing therapeutic power of animals to support young people in their learning and development in a more regulated way.
Berry Fields works with a team of like-minded experienced consultants all with a passion to improve the lives of young people with the use of our highly trained school support animals.
"I'm really proud to be a BGA Ambassador. I have completed all of the BGA online learning courses and found these amazingly helpful, alongside the freelancer's toolkit."
Mandy elder - Driving
Mandy Elder has spent her whole life growing up with carriage driving. This seasoned groom, based in Scotland, is now passing her knowledge on to newcomers with help from her 'wee groom’s caravan' and her mild tea addiction.
When she’s not out on marathons she’s also driving tandem and training new grooms up on her yard. A pure breath of inspiration who wears her heart on her sleeve and a passion for driving horses’ health and welfare.
“Carriage driving has been my life for over 20 years. Like all grooms, the marathon is the highlight, but it’s also about the skills I’ve learned and the amazing people I’ve met along the way. It’s an honour and a privilege to be a part of such an amazing sport with such welcoming and warm people. I'm absolutely delighted to become a BGA Ambassador, it's a real pleasure to be able to help carriage driving reach others.”
Paige Howarth - Northern Scotland
"I started working with horses on various yards when I left school at the age of 16. I became a freelance groom in 2017 and offer a range of services including general yard work, holiday cover, show preparation, schooling and more. I do this alongside competing on my own ex-race horse in dressage, showjumping and ROR showing.
I am excited to be chosen as one of the ambassadors to represent all the freelance grooms in the North East of Scotland and also to help any other freelance grooms to have a say and find out more about what the BGA can offer."
Lucy blain - Central SCOTLAND
"My world has always revolved around horses and from the moment I left school I had my heart set on a job with them. After a few grooming jobs in dressage and showjumping yards, I landed in my role as Head Girl and Event Groom to event rider, Sorrel Porteous. I was with Sorrel on the eventing circuit for a little under four years and loved my job, and most of all, I loved my horses. I would not trade those late nights and early mornings for the world!
In 2018, I relocated to Central Scotland and have been working as a freelance groom since then. I am feeling extremely privileged to be an ambassador for the BGA and to be flying the flag for grooms in Scotland, whether they are working for professional riders or caring for a herd of Highland ponies."