A horse owner and mum-of-three disabled boys from Sleaford has made it through to the final of a national awards ceremony.
Amateur groom Rachael Longbottom has been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Groom of the Year awards, sponsored by Absorbine, by good friend and showing companion Kyla Turner.
The pair met in 2011 after Rachael advertised for a sharer to help with her ‘happy-hacker’. Rachael took Kyla under her wing, encouraging her to pursue her wish of becoming a capable and confident rider.
Rachael grew up riding, buying her first horse aged just 18. Having taken time away from horses to start a family. She then resurrected her passion in 2011 and, after moving to a small, private yard, began rescuing and bringing on horses.
A spokesman for the awards says Rachael ‘works tirelessly as a non-professional groom while simultaenously caring for her disabled children’, with the nomination recognising her ‘hard work and determination’.
A few years ago, Rachael and Kyla ventured into the world of showing, with their amateur, home-produced show team of two, named ‘Team Divas’. Due to her health and role as a full-time mum, Rachael has not ridden for five years. But while Kyla is the rider of the team, Rachael works hard in the background, ensuring the animals are in peak condition.
“My horses are my life” says Rachael, “they keep me sane.
“This award would mean a lot to me, because I always strive to turnout to my best ability” adds Rachael. “I’m always the one covered in chalk, hair and dust while Kyla wins inside the ring making me proud.”
“Her attention to detail is impeccable,” said Kyla, “And whilst I trot off into the show ring, reaping the rosettes and compliments, it is Rachael who deserves the acknowledgement because it is down to her hard work and passion.
“Rachael is always happy to help when people ask how she got our cobs’ feathers so white or how she got them so shiny. I would never have started showing if I hadn’t met her and I would definitely not have achieved the placings, or have half the knowledge I have, if it wasn’t for her.”
The winner will be announced at The British Showing Awards in Birmingham, on October 19.