Perks of the Job!
The perks are pretty much the reason Grooms do what we do. Let’s be real here, if there were no perks why would we work these hours?
And what defines a perk? Well, I think that depends on who you are. For some of us, a perk is just rubbing the nose of a beloved horse in the barn. For others, it’s rubbing elbows at a big show with famous riders.
I always use my days in the barn as a Groom to gain knowledge. You will have the opportunity to talk with Veterinarians, Farriers, Trainers, Clients, Saddle Fitters, Massage Therapists, and other Grooms (to name a few…). Develop those relationships and learn from them. If you are the designated “holder” for a wiggly horse, use that time to ask questions if you can.
And just a warning here - you are going to ask a really stupid question. You will. And people will laugh at you. They may even point. Here’s the thing….laugh with them. It’s OK. I think we can all agree that it is better to ask a stupid question than none at all. I have learned more from talking to Vets and Farriers than any book could teach me - it's the hands learning that's so valuable. You may also have the opportunity to learn first aid, and how to do fancy bandage changes, and how to use some amazing technologies, like lasers or electro stem. You may not use it everyday, but it's likely that the knowledge you gain will look super on your resume.
There are many other perks to this job also. You may get swag. (Swag is, by my definition, the equivalent of an Oscar goodie bag.) Swag can range from hats, saddle pads, miscellaneous tack, and even prizes from shows. I was in charge of picking up ribbons and prizes for a male rider that I worked for. I would always pick the pink prizes so that I could keep them….
You may also get the chance to see some amazing riding. Or, to be able to listen in on lessons that they are giving their students. These are gems of wisdom! The lucky few get to sit on some fancy professional horses, get lessons, and jump the big stuff or do the fancy leg work.
Watching the master ride, and getting lessons were a super perk!
You may also get lessons as a perk on your own horse...I never turned one of these down - no matter how lousy, tired, sore, or hot/cold I was. This is a gift of your trainer's time and knowledge to help you grow. Dozens of others would step on you for this chance. Just try to stay on during your lesson.