Groom Awards finalists
13 January 2006

Julie Barker, groom to the Burton Hunt, Lincolnshire has been judged the best groom of the year 2005. Record nominations were received for the Kuster BEF Groom Award and the standard of entries was exceptionally high this year.

Julie was one of seven finalists at the judging day and Champagne Lunch at the Grange Bracknell Hotel, courtesy of the competition?s sponsor Frank Kuster. Judges Carl Hester and Chris Saunders were unanimous in choosing Julie, but the outstanding quality of the finalists made it a challenging task. As her prize, Julie has a holiday to America to look forward to.

Second place went to Warwickshire based Mark Beever who has groomed for Nick Skelton for the past 20 years. ?Mark is utterly professional, is on call 24/7, and looks after my horses with total dedication,? says Nick.

In third place was driving groom Eilidh Munro, who travelled from Fife in Scotland to make the final. She works for the Countess of Lindsay and is based in Fife in Scotland. Eilidh has sole charge of a yard of 13 horses which compete in driving trials and hunt. "She is a brilliant back step," says the Countess " and her turnout is immaculate, we always get compliments! It is difficult to put everything down why Eilidh is so exceptional. She is an immaculate time keeper - never, ever late. Displays meticulous care and attention for all the horses, keeps the yard and harness room tidy and above all good company. She is the X Factor ! "

Eilidh is currently breaking in a pony to drive plus learning to drive herself.

Picture of finalists, showing left to right: Chris Saunders (Judge), Clive Milkins (Dressage), Mark Beever (Showjumping), Eilidh Munro (Driving), Judith Harrison (Livery Yard), Vicky Sutton (Eventing), Frank Kuster, Susie Dennis (Rescue), Julie Barker (Hunting), Carl Hester (Judge)