Rachel is groomed for stardom

Two years ago, she was working behind the tills at a Norwich supermarket.But Rachel Henning, who had no horse-handling experience when she joined a Norfolk equine welfare charity, is celebrating after winning a top award.

Two years ago, she was working behind the tills at a Norwich supermarket.

But Rachel Henning, who had no horse-handling experience when she joined a Norfolk equine welfare charity, is celebrating after winning a top award.

The 24-year-old from Norwich, who is a groom for the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) at Snetterton, has been recognised for her hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm after being named as newcomer of the year in a prestigious British Equestrian Federation (BEF) prize giving event.

The trainee, who currently lives at the ILPH Hall Farm rescue and rehabilitation centre, became the first winner of the best newcomer category of the Kuster BEF Groom Awards 2007 at the Olympia, London International Horse Show on Wednesday night .


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Miss Henning, who had no equestrian experience when she started a NVQ Level 1 course in horse care and management at the ILPH in 2005, has proven a natural with the charity's more than 150 rescued animals at Snetterton.

Along with her usual duties, and despite having no computer experience, she also ensures that the Hall Farm databases are updated, including veterinary, dental and farriery updates.

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Miss Henning said she “couldn't believe” that she had been shortlisted and won the title, which included a prize of an exclusive print by equine artist Tim Nathan.

“I am absolutely over the moon. Being awarded for a job I love is just great and it was very exciting to be presented with my prize at Olympia.

“It's lovely to be recognised for my work, which I have loved since day one. Naturally I love working with the horses and especially seeing the transformation they go through from when they enter the farm to when they are back to full health,” she said.

Sue Hodgkins, centre manager of ILPH Hall Farm, added that Miss Henning was “one in a million” because the charity had never employed a groom with no equestrian experience before.

“Rachel is one of our greatest assets, as she is so conscientious, hard working and dedicated,” she said.

Miss Henning was the only groom in the BEF awards to come from a welfare charity and follows in the footsteps of colleague Lynne Parkinson, who was runner-up Groom of the Year in 2006.

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