What skills are good to have if you are a new Groom? Or you want to bust into Grooming?
It’s always daunting to think about jumping into a new job - especially if you have never worked in that position before! Same goes for Grooming.
I’ve always said that being a Groom is more barn management, horsemanship, and farm labor than grooming. So if you are thinking about becoming a Groom, what sort of things do you have to know before your first day on the job? What about some things that you can expect to learn on the job?
Some thoughts on what you need to know before your first day (or interview!) as a Groom:
-Horse behavior. Can you read horse body language? This will help save you (and horses) from certain accidents!
-Horse handling. Working with retired horses is very different from working with high performance athletes. Know how to handle hot and fit horses. This includes proper and safe use of lead shanks and chains, and may even include lungeing.
-First aid. Know what to do in the event of an emergency and how to do basic first aid until the Veterinarian can arrive. This goes for people, too, you may even want to explore getting a CPR certification. Knowing how to take a horse’s TPR is also a great idea.
-Basic grooming and tacking up skills, including wrapping and blanketing. Each employer or client will have a certain way of doing things, but knowing the basics will decrease any learning curves.
-Tack pieces and parts. Know the names of horse equipment, and the names of all of the pieces and parts. Same goes for bits - many horses have several bridles that are distinguished by nothing more than the bit.
What about some skills you may learn on the job?
-How to use specific machinery on the farm. Not all tractors are alike!
-Mending fences, fixing pipes, changing golf cart tires!
-How to stack hay without throwing your back out.
-How to pack 500 cubic feet of tack room into 40 cubic feet of trailer space.
-Arena care. Each footing system will be different, and each barn will have a different way to maintain the arena.
-And pretty much everything else on the Groom’s job description!
What have your learned on the job, and what skills did you have before you started grooming?