By Real Riderz
I watched an FEI video with Matt Harnacke (link in a hot minute) where FEI teams did a tacking up challenge, and it struck me just how important grooms are at the top level.
I mean, think of it this way, suppose you have a chain of GP horses to ride every single day (and probably a couple of prospects or greenies here and there). How do you get by the day grooming each horse, tacking, then untacking, and grooming afterwards?
Here’s the video:
I saw some comments on the video saying how “horrible” it is for riders to have grooms and not groom for themselves. Many even assumed that the riders are unable to groom/tack their own horses. Well, besides at time 1:13 when a rider from a UAE completely botched polo wrapping, that doesn’t seem to be true. Most of the riders were able to put all of the gear on the fake horse properly, either because they learned physically or they visually learned from their grooms.
The problem with grooms in this sport is, actually not as big as one might think. It gives people a job and it keeps clients happy. Yet there are times when grooms are misused and even mistreated. Clients with one horse should technically speaking have no problem tacking for theselves, but the cricumstances are always different. Some are too busy with work while other have disabilities. Groom usage can be understandable at times, but the rider should make it clear that it is something done for comfort, and not because grooming a horse is “too dirty.”
There are riders out there that dismount, toss the reins to their groom, and without even batting an eye at their horse, leave the barn. Yet horses aren’t machines, and even if you are just “too busy” to even spend a second of time with your horse, there is a chance that maybe riding isn’t the best of sports for you, and you should try motorcycles or biking instead.