My Top 10 Grooming Blunders


By now you guys know me.  I like to write about stuff that Grooms do, obstacles that we may encounter, and sometimes I *attempt* my hand at funny stuff.  In case the following article is unclear, it’s supposed to be funny.  For full disclosure, know that most of the following blunders actually happened, if not to me, then to someone I know.  Enjoy!


-Wrong ride times!  Sometimes, Grooms need to also keep their rider updated on the ride times for their various horses while at a horse show.  I used to keep a sheet of paper in my back pocket, and update it every morning during a show.  Scratches and adds usually change the schedule daily, so keeping up with the changes is critical.  I ran into trouble during a particularly hot day, there was some smudging, and I gave the rider the wrong times…  oops…. Then I switched to a white erase board in the tack stall...


-I once pulled a mane too short on a show horse!  Not such a big deal, if you are a skilled braider with teenie tiny hands you can still put a row of expert braids in.  The problem occurs on a daily basis, when the mane is loose, and now a spazzy mohawk that won’t lay flat for anything!  Solution?  Ate some crow and waited for it to grow out.  I also perfected some mane taming techniques….


-No clean saddle pads or boots!  Forgot to start the laundry the night before, so only dirty stuff the next day.  So I had to beg another Groom for a clean saddle pad to borrow, and I busted into the show stuff to hunt for a pair of polo wraps.  I still had to fess up, but it was also a good idea as I got to practice polo wraps for honor rounds.  


-Too much manure in the wheelbarrow.  This was the reason for the wheelbarrow spill down the barn aisle of a show at the LAEC.  A big show, the final World Cup Qualifier.  But only a few Olympians got to see me tip and wobble and struggle and then dump the big ol’ pile of dookie.  Good times, good times.  


-Busted out jeans.  There are only a few things that are an absolute MUST for me as a Groom.  You must have worker’s comp insurance, you must take your horse’s temperature daily, and you MUST MUST MUST have a change of clothes in your car.  Because when you don’t, you bend over and bust a big rip into your jeans.  In front of a lot of people.  And the people that don’t see it happen, will certainly ask why you have a duct tape patch on your bum.  


-The tack  is too oily!  I was absolutely rocking your new job as a Groom! I decided to take some initiative, and oil some of the tack.  Why? Because I was awesome, I worked without direction, and I also want your rider to have amazing sparkly tack.  Tack that’s  so super oily that you could wring it out..  My main error here was not waiting until the night before the horse’s day off, and perhaps using a *smidge* too much oil.  


-Leaving shavings in the mane. (I’ll preface this story by saying two things:  My rider at the time was a very respected, stern, intimidating, German Olympian.  My rider at the time was also a hysterically funny and quick witted, fun loving guy.) There was a particular horse, whose mane really resembled a bad 1980’s perm.  Super crunchy and super curly.  Did I mention he was like 24 hands tall?  So one day, I accidentally left a few shavings in the mane.  My rider, upon mounting, snapped up a piece of the offending shaving, and flicked it off while saying, with a totally straight face, “No shavings in the mane.”  For some reason, I quipped, also with a totally straight face, “Just warm up at the canter”.  Laughs were had by all (thank goodness).


-Manure in the feed bin.  It took me many, many times of this happening before I remembered every time to LOOK!   One particular horse I worked with loved to poop in his corner grain feeder.  Located below a handy feeding window, I was always dumping grain into the poop filled corner feeder.


-The zapper on the eurociser.  This one was actually NOT me, but I was there to, ahem, witness it and *help*.  Late one afternoon, a fellow Groom was putting a horse in the eurociser.  Normally, she would stop the machine to load up, but for some reason corners were being cut and her wiley horse had a plan of his own.  He tossed his Groom into the walker, which was still moving.  What we didn’t know what that the electric shock was on for the eurociser dividers.  This is what I heard.  “TURN OFF THE ZAPPER” followed by a thud.  “TURN OFF THE ZAPPER” followed by a thud.  When I got over there, the Groom was trying to walk ahead of the divider, but was a bit disoriented and holding out an arm to “stop” the walker.  Well, the hot divider would zap her arm, and she would thud to the ground.  Then she would get up and it all started over again.  I was able to stop the walker and turn off the zapper, we laughed for years about this one.  


What’s your biggest Grooming mistake??