Jenna Martyn’s girlhood fascination with horses has led to a thoroughly enjoyable career, and the finals of a national charity award.

Tonight Miss Martyn, from Burford, will find out whether she has beaten two other finalists for Animal Charity Employee of the Year in the Petplan and Association of Dogs and Cats Homes Animal Charity Awards.

She wasn’t even aware that Stuart Insley, her boss at the Burford rehoming centre of animal charity Blue Cross, had nominated her.

Miss Martyn said: “It was an amazing shock.”

She added: “My family have always had horses. I knew from a young age that it had to be horses.”

A keen rider, she has two horses of her own, Lucy Lou and Brego.

Miss Martyn, 33, has worked for the Blue Cross for 11 years, and deals exclusively with horses.

Her official title is horse welfare supervisor, vet and yard management, which means she oversees the welfare and health of the horses that arrive at Blue Cross.

She then ensures they are matched with suitable new owners. The horses can come from other animal charities, as well as private homes.

Reasons for getting rid of a horse are varied but can include divorce, financial problems, or if the owner falls ill or dies.

Miss Martyn, 33, said: “There’s definitely a horse crisis out there.

“People will try to give their horse away before selling.”

While Blue Cross finds a new owner for each horse, the charity always retains official ownership to prevent the horse being sold on. Miss Martyn said an estimated 6,000 horses across the UK require welfare, and the downturn in the economy has aggravated the situation.

This is the second year of the Petplan and Association of Dogs and Cats Homes Animal Charity Awards, which are building momentum.

This year, the awards received 5,564 total nominations, about 2,000 more than last year. Of the total nominations, 298 were for the employee of the year award.

A spokeswoman for the awards said Miss Martyn was shortlisted because of “her absolute dedication that she shows for horses”.

She added: “Her passion is very infectious.”

The other two categories are Animal Charity Team of the Year and Animal Charity Volunteer of the Year.