The Karen Hughes Memorial Grooms Award will be judged at The Whatley Manor Hotel Gatcombe Park International Horse Trials and Presented on Sunday 9th September

The Whatley Manor & Spa International Horse Trials (Fri 7th Sat 8th & Sun 9th September) held at Gatcombe Park, the home of The Princess Royal, near Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, will this year host the judging of Karen Hughes Memorial Grooms Award and its Presentation.

The idea behind the Karen Hughes Memorial Award is to recognise the groom with the highest of standards. Not to worry if the horse is withdrawn or retired, before the end of the competition, as it does not necessarily mean that the groom to the winning horse has the best standards.

Karen Hughes dedicated her whole life to horses and Eventing. Working with the best in the world she groomed at multiple national and international competitions for over 25 years including five Olympic Games.

Diagnosed with cancer in November 2011 Karen continued to work hard and with her doctors help she was able to continue her Olympic support grooming for Japan (London 2012) and was key to the preparation of Lochlan Glen for the USA at Rio 2016, the horse that won her last CCI*** at Blenheim in 2015. Karen was a font of knowledge, offering help to all in need at competitions; she was always looking at new techniques and could be relied upon to always put the horse’s health and wellbeing first before anything else.

She worked first for the MacConnel- Mason eventing yard in Oxfordshire and then for Irish International event rider Melanie Duff. In 1994 she started working for Andrew Hoy at Gatcombe Park, as well as Bettina Hoy later on. After working for the Hoys for 14 years she worked for Harry Meade and then with Clarke Montgomery, and also fitting in the 2012 Olympics with Yoshiaki Oiwa.

Gatcombe Park is situated at Hampton Fields, mid-way between Minchinhampton and Avening; the event will be signposted from both directions. Spectator admission is £6 for a car and all occupants and £4 for a programme. For full information about directions, accommodation, course maps, timetable and all entries visit our web site

‘Her dedication was her life; her life was her horses’.

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