Life after Grooming...
This is Michelle's story - how she transitioned from Groom to Groom. Wait, what??
What do you do when you’re not a groom anymore? That thought used to keep me up at night. From being 5 years old I had spent every possible, waking moment at the stables. We had moved internationally several times and I had always managed to stay connected to a good stable and trainer.
As an adult I groomed for amateur eventers and dressage riders. I was certified to teach therapeutic riding and all was right in my horse world. I woke up early every morning, fed, groomed, did barn chores and loved every minute. I even got married. My husband was in the military so I was forced to choose between going with him when the military moved him or staying with the horses. I chose to go with him. Fast forward and now I’m divorced, a single parent and getting back to being myself. But, now that I’m a single mom it’s very hard for me to take care of my two small (9 and 3) children and be able to travel as grooms so often are.
So, the next logical choice is to find a local barn and beg and plead ask if you can spend some time out there helping out. This has quickly spiraled into something I never imagined possible.
While “hanging out” at the barn I have met so many “new” horse owners. People who have either taken lessons for years and decided to buy a horse or people who have found themselves at a point in their lives where they can finally get that horse and learn to ride. Most of these people have hearts of gold and more than a few have rescued horses from horrible situations. They are, however, often not prepared for the daily routine that horses demand.
I found myself answering the daily questions of new owners, “how often do I need to feed?, “his feet are full of mud, what do I do?”, “it’s getting cold, do I really need to blanket?”, “it’s 115 degrees outside, can I still ride?” and the list kept growing. I started spending more and more time helping and giving advice. That transitioned into people asking me to “train” them to take care of their own horses.
I now help to run the small barn, full of fat happy horses, and new owners that have a new appreciation of just how much time, care, love and devotion it takes to properly take care of a horse. It’s been a learning process for me as much as it has been for them. In the past I thought as a groom I had reached the top when I worked with the top trainers and competitors. Now I know that I have reached the top when I see an owner taking pride in, not just their horse, but in how well they take care of their horse.
In our small corner of the equine world people are beginning to realize that the title “Groom” is all encompassing and often carried by the most humble people. I am proud to tell my children that, “once upon a time their Mommy was the best Groom around …”