Horse show grooms are essential in the operation of show barns in any discipline. A groom is someone that takes care of the horses while they are at home or at shows. They have a lot of responsibilities overseeing horse care and are an important part of the equestrian world.
What does a horse show groom do? Grooms’ jobs can vary from farm to farm or discipline to discipline, but there are some common duties that they have no matter what style of riding. Grooms have typical chores that are done while they are on the farm, and more complex jobs while they are working at shows.
At home around the barn, horse grooms' jobs are pretty standard. Their responsibilities include mucking stalls and paddocks, feeding and watering, clipping and grooming horses, cleaning tack and equipment, administering first aid, basic exercise and ground work, and assisting the vet or farrier. Sometimes, grooms are even responsible for operating heavy farm equipment to put away or move hay bales, drag the arena or drive the horse trailer off-property.
Preparing and packing for horse shows is another large part of a show grooms’ job. The grooms pack the horse trailer with horse equipment, rider equipment, tack, clothes, feed, hay, and whatever else is needed at the horse show! They also get the horse ready for traveling, by washing them and putting on shipping boots and sheets or coolers. Horse shows mean long days and even long nights for professional grooms! Depending on how far away the show is, sometimes horses have to be loaded very early in the morning and don’t get back until very late at night. It’s the groom’s job to make sure the horses are properly cared for, whether it’s 3 o’clock in the morning or 11 o’clock at night!
At the show, grooms are responsible for, well… a lot! Their job is to keep the horse(s) looking show-ring-ready at all times. This includes clipping or trimming the horse to make sure they look nice and tidy, bathing the horse so their coat is sparkling, and braiding or banding the mane and tail so they look clean and polished. The rider’s bridle, saddle and other tack also has to look spick and span at a horse show! Grooms help with tacking up and untacking the horses, holding and walking the horses between classes, and generally keeping an eye on them at all times. Other duties of a groom include running small errands for riders, trainers, clients, and owners; helping with travel arrangements; and sometimes dealing with stressed out or nervous riders (and horses!). When the rider’s classes are done for the day, it’s the groom’s responsibility to care for the horses by making sure they’re hosed off and comfortable, have a clean stall to sleep in, and proper grain, hay and water.
Are you interested in being a groom? It takes a lot of hard work and paying attention to every single detail - like a small change in a horse’s behavior that could lead to a big problem. You need to be prepared to work outside in all types of weather, and with different types of horses. Solid horsemanship skills and a can-do attitude are what makes grooms successful at their jobs! Do you have what it takes?