The Shapley’s Groom’s Class - Winter Equestrian Festival, Wellington, FL!
Our amazing sponsor, Shapley’s, has always led the charge to honor Grooms at shows by hosting and sponsoring classes JUST FOR GROOMS! This year, Shapley’s hosted three Groom’s Classes at WEF in Wellington, FL. I was there for the last, and biggest, Groom’s Class at WEF!
Sally, the Director of Marketing for Shapley’s, and I had a great afternoon at the showgrounds along with the owners of Shapley’s, Cindy Carfore and Vern Halverson. I had been to WEF before, but only to the International Arena at the center of this enormous complex. Sally showed me all around the showgrounds, which was a great mix of golf carts, horses, Grooms, riders, barns, spectators. I also can't forget about the amazing shopping on site - WOW.
Vern and Cindy from Shapley's
When it was time for the class, we gathered all of the “supplies” and headed over to Ring 8:
-T Shirts for every single Groom that entered the class
-Gift certificates for every single Grooms that entered the class
-Prize money ($500 in prize money going to the top three Grooms).
Sally from Shapley's, handing out shirts to everyone!
We met the Judge, Officials from the show, the Announcer, the Ring Master, the Photographer, and the Grooms. We checked in everyone in the warm up area, and then had them line up in the competition ring. At first we had about nine, which is a good showing! And then they just kept coming….and coming…. and then we had 19. Yes, 19. It was AMAZING. The arena wasn’t quite wide enough, so the row of Grooms and horses turned down the next side….
Both Sally and I were thrilled at the turnout. And then we started to wonder how on earth the Judge was going to be able to decide… but he did!
Tough job! Sally and I were able to meet everyone and get a close up look at some amazing details. Jumper Grooms brought blue “yoga mats” in their back packs to simulate water jumps in the warm up. The braids on both the hunters and jumpers were amazing. Towels were tucked into pockets so that the horse boots (yes, horse boots) could be polished before the class. All of the Grooms had perfected the skill of removing scrim sheets with one hand, and then putting them back on with one hand. Tack was spotless - flaps were lifted for the Judge to inspect, and stirrup pads were examined for cleanliness and safety. Hooves were polished to a shine, and the horse coats were slick and shiny. The judge also inspected and looked at each Groom’s backpack or tack box, just to make sure everyone was prepared.
When the points were tallied, the top six Grooms were announced. Everyone else left with a great white Shapley’s T-shirt and a gift certificate. Then the top six were awarded, ribbons given, and official show photos were taken.
The Top Six!
6th Place went to Leanne Callan grooming Regard.
5th Place went to Juan Lopez grooming Charlie.
4th Place went to Olbin Garcia grooming Bahama Boy.
3rd Place went to Cheryl Mazaleski grooming Vocas.
2nd Place went to Alesandro Aguilar grooming Casablanca.
and the Winner is Eduardo Cordova grooming Wisteria!
Here are a few more of my favorite shots from this class!
Me, Vern, Cindy and Sally from Shapley's, Ringmaster Extroidainare Gustavo Murcia, and Whitney Stahl - Sponsorship Coordinator at Equestrian Sports Productions
It was wonderful to be there for such an important class! I hope next year that we can expand these classes to also include some of the dressage Grooms across the street from WEF. What are your thoughts on this? What shows do you want to see host Groom’s Classes? Your input is important, so don’t hesitate to send your ideas over!
All photos (except the first two) are courtesy of Karen Fox. Thanks Karen!