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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Aussie world champion's groom up for FEI award

ABOVE: Emma Olsson at her post just behind Boyd Exell. Picture: CHRISTOPHE TANIÉRE

EMMA Olsson, who works quietly in the background for six-time world driving champion Boyd Exell, has been nominated for the FEI’s best groom award for 2022.

The award is among several made by the FEI each year, including FEI best athlete, FEI rising star, FEI against all odds and FEI solidarity awards, and can be voted on by the public.

The 20 shortlisted candidates from 15 countries include world champions, highly accomplished up-and-coming young athletes, grooms, inspirational equestrians, judges and charities.

Competing with Emma for the best groom – the behind-the-scenes heroes who ensure the horses they look after are given the best possible care – are: Kerryn Edmans (NZ), who is the groom for eventers Tim and Jonelle Price; Sue Schlegel (US) jumping groom for Elizabeth Madden; and Lars Seefeld (GER), the dressage groom for Daniel Bachmann Andersen.

Emma started working for Boyd at XL Equestrian in early 2015 after attending one of his clinics in Sweden. She has been part of his team winning individual gold at the three world championships held since.

Emma has been a key component in the growth and success of XL Equestrian since moving to The Netherlands. Emma has always shown her love for the sport and dedication to carriage driving, pushing to drive horses outside of her working hours and now competes for Team Sweden.

Emma has an acute attention to detail and photographic memory, which has proved invaluable in her work with the yard and the competitions. On top of caring for the horses, making sure they perform their best, Emma also has an important role on the carriage for all three phases.

Emma is responsible for the core teams of competition horses on the yard, essentially 20 horses, along with the young horses coming through.

Taking care of so many different individual horses has its challenges but in return, it has taught her a great deal. According to those supporting her nomination, Emma has a bond with all the horses and sees to their individual needs, whether from a veterinary perspective or any other grooming need, she has it all under control.

ABOVE: Emma Olsson and Boyd Exell at this year’s FEI World Championships. Picture: LIBBY LAW

In other categories, the shortlisted nominees for the FEI awards for 2022 are:

FEI Best Athlete

(Paying tribute to the athlete who over the past year has demonstrated exceptional skill and taken the sport to a new level.)

Charlotte Fry (GBR) dressage, Lambert Leclezio (FRA) vaulting, Sanne Voets (NED) para dressage and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) jumping.

FEI Rising Star

(For the athlete aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment.)

Alice Casburn (GBR) eventing, James Derwin (IRL) jumping, Sam Dos Santos (NED) vaulting and Karla Dyhm-Junge (DEN) para dressage.

FEI Against All Odds

(For an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.)

Trevor Harrison (NZL) former jockey, Estiven Palacio Hernandez (COL) vaulting, Muthoni Kimani (KEN) jumping and Mia Rodier-Dawallo (US) para dressage.

FEI solidarity

(For an individual or organisation that has used skill, dedication and energy to expand the sport.)

Zuzana Baciak Masarykova (SVK) Horse Charity Barbados (BAR), The Big Food Ride (SWZ) and The Dressage SA Solidarity Stars Project (RSA).

The winners will be decided by combining 50 per cent of the public’s vote and 50 per cent of the judges’ vote for the final result.

The ultimate accolades will go to the winners at the FEI Awards Gala on November 13 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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