A new training program offered through the Equine Management Training Center (EMTC) is taking groom and equine management education to the next level. EMTC has developed a comprehensive certification program imparting the knowledge and skills necessary to become a professional groom and stable manager.
For Program Director Suzanne Lacy, the goal is to raise the standard of grooming as an occupation. “The care of the horse is the crutch of the whole thing. The grooms do a lot more than just brush a horse,” she said. “They know that horse inside and out. That’s what I want to get out there. I want to raise the level of the way people think of a groom.”
Sam Burton Henley, the Program Administrator, met Suzanne while working as a groom for Karen and David O’Connor. “We’ve all heard David say it starts from the bottom in the barn. Attention to detail can make or break an entire program. We’re trying to increase the standard from the ground up.”
Sam said that EMTC wants to train professional grooms who can manage a 40-stall barn or get on a plane to go to Burghely their first day on the job. “Hearing things like ‘just a groom’ is the biggest insult in the world. What they do is invaluable. They know the ins and outs of every facility, how to set up nutrition and fitness programs, everything from A to Z.”
Currently, EMTC offers two types of educational opportunities for working and aspiring grooms. Continuing education two-day clinics can give any working student or groom an extra edge when it comes to caring for horses. Sponsors eager to support the program are also providing products and lecture topics to better educate the participants in the current technologies and techniques of horse care.
Sam and Cat Hill, co-author of World Class Grooming for Horses, will offer an informative up-to-date approach to horse care and grooming March 7-9 at Jane Jennings High Valley Farm South in Aiken, South Carolina. The next weekend clinic will be March 19-20 in Reddick, Florida, to be taught by Sam and Max Corcoran at Southern Cross Equestrian.
EMTC also offers two comprehensive 8-week courses that include internships and guaranteed job placement at the conclusion of the course. The first session beginning April 4, 2016 is a program entitled Equine Management. After four weeks of training in topics like biology, nutrition and basic vet care, students will get hands-on experience as an intern at a participating professional barn before they are placed in jobs as a certified Basic Groom.
The second session, Stable Management, is scheduled to begin August 4, 2016 and will cover health, rehabilitation, record keeping, groundwork and more. After this four-week session and a subsequent internship, students will graduate the program as an Elite Groom.
Three $500 scholarships are currently available to students entering the 8-week programs. To be eligible, you must be one of the first three students to complete the application, request a scholarship and pay the tuition balance in full.
Both Sam and Suzanne report that the feedback from industry professionals — riders, grooms and stable managers alike — has been overwhelmingly positive. There is a recognized need for a comprehensive education and higher standard for career grooms. “We’ve been getting calls asking if we have any graduates yet. People are looking for trained professionals to work for them,” Sam said.
There are additional benefits for graduates besides the high appeal of guaranteed employment. EMTC is working directly with the Professional Riders Organization, and once a student has completed the program, they will be listed as a groom on the PRO directory and are eligible for PRO’s health insurance.
“We’re trying to improve the standard of grooms and the way of life for grooms. We want to have them acknowledged as true professionals in the horse world. The opportunities are endless once you get your feet in the door,” Sam said.
Suzanne is also working to partner with a local college to offer stamped certifications for program graduates. Ultimately, she hopes one day there will be a certification requirement for working grooms in the U.S.
“We’re planting our little seed right now to grow it so that we have a pool to draw from of certified grooms,” Suzanne said. “Once that pool is large enough, our professionals who are supporting this will have a place to go and get certified grooms with the same background and knowledge. … Who wouldn’t want an Emma (Ford) in their barn, right?”