As an Equestrian, we all clearly have the same love and passion for one specific thing in this sport; the horses. We were the little girls who asked for a pony EVERY single Christmas, until one day, our dreams could finally come true. But, there is so much more to being a responsible horse owner, and most people don't get to experience the other side of that. Sure, grooms are absolutely fantastic, and it is nice to have someone to do anything you need for you at shows, but, ask yourself this: 'Could I properly wrap my horses legs if my groom wasn't here?' 'Can I pull my horses mane, let alone do a simple button braid?' If your answer is no, this blog is for you (yes you, I see you!)
As the guru George H. Morris once said, "Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management."
No matter what level you're at, whether you're competing at Intro Rider in your first ever mini trial on an old school master, or you're in the process of bringing up your 3* prospect, everyone should know proper stable management, safety and first aid care, and proper grooming.
Being a true Equestrian means that you would, do, and will do absolutely anything necessary to keep the partnerships with our equine athletes as strong, healthy, and as efficient as possible. That being said, being a good horseman (or woman) comes far before the show ring. Going to the ends of the earth to make sure your horse is being properly taken care of should be a number one priority.
But, we all know that money doesn't grow on trees, and there is circumstances where many riders cannot afford grooms to take care of and prep their horse (or horses) for a show or everyday riding, which I can personally relate to.
But, do not fear, Cat and Emma are here! Introducing their book, "World Class Grooming," Olympic grooms Cat Hill and Emma Ford (who currently works for Phillip Dutton) have been doing a tremendous job with sharing their years of knowledge and experience, with all sorts of tips and tricks to help out all of us fellow Equestrians on improving and perfecting our grooming and care taking skills.
The last five years I have grown into my riding career from the roots up at Hinckley Equestrian Center located in Hinckley, Ohio, and on December 20th and 21st, Cat and Emma traveled from New York and Pennsylvania to Hinckley, Ohio to host a two day World Class Grooming clinic which I had the amazing opportunity to partake in.
They brought along copies of their wonderful book, prizes from their sponsors,(which include Equifit, Flare Nasal Strips, Absorbine, Equi-Nature, Shapelys, Horsewear, and IceVibes) along with their years of priceless experience, Cat and Emma were able to share their knowledge with the Bath Pony Club members, along with members from various pony clubs in the area, and students such as myself from Hinckley Equestrian, and created a knowledgeable, hands on learning environment for this clinic. Aspects of the book such as braiding, mane and tail pulling, clipping, different types of wraps and wrapping techniques, general barn management/safety and much more have all been taught hands on and are also covered in the book to help remember for later. Buying this book and participating in this clinic is by far the most beneficial thing I have done in my riding career thus far. All of what I learned in those few hours will benefit me for the rest of my riding years, especially in the long run. When we are taking care of our horses, we are taking care of our athletes and teammates, and they should be treated as if they were basically royalty (of they aren't already spoiled enough!), and should be just as well take care of as we would take care of ourselves.
Not only did Cat and Emma put together an amazing schedule of things for participants to learn, they made the day a fun, exciting experience. So, if you're thinking to yourself, "Well of course I can wrap a leg! But what do I put on underneath it?" Or, "Wait a sec, what size clippers am I supposed to use again?" I highly suggest (from first hand experience) to consider participant in this clinic if you have the opportunity, or f you can not participate, I would most definitely recommend buying the book. I know I will remember this experience for the rest of my life!