Always Learning with #Supergroom Kate Servais

We love celebrating and learning about the #supergrooms who make this sport go around — quite literally! — so we’re on a mission to interview as many grooms as we can to learn about their journeys. Catch up on the other interviews from this series here and nominate a #supergroom of your own by emailing [email protected]! Today, we get to hear from Kate Servais.

This series is supported by Achieve Equine.

Kate Servais gives Jaguar Duende some love. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Kate Servais grew up wanting to be surrounded by animals. As a kid, she took some pony lessons, but as she got into other sports, horses went to the back burner. Think of any sport– Kate played it, at least a little!

Upon getting to high school, Kate started experiencing pain throughout her legs and joints. When multiple specialists couldn’t find an answer, she decided the best thing to do was to stop participating in running sports. So, she picked back up with riding lessons. She became a working student at Flatlands Equestrian Center, doing a little bit of everything from grooming to riding to photography. 

“The more absorbed I got into the sport, I wanted to do this full time, I wanted this to be my life,” she says. After riding with Sharon White in a few clinics and lessons, Kate inquired about becoming a working student for her and the rest is history.

After almost two years as a working student for Sharon, Kate took the position of head groom. “That progression was definitely a learning curve,” she described.

Even though mistakes have been made along the way, Kate says that experiencing it and learning from her mistakes has been helpful in the transition to head groom. “That’s all part of learning, as long as you understand what you did, accept it, and oftentimes apologizing to the people affected.”

#supergrooms: also part-time videographers. Photo by Sally Spickard.

She said that the USEA Groom’s Group Education Night at Carolina International this year was helpful in learning from grooms who’ve had more experience under their belts. “It was really helpful to have people sit down and talk to all the people who are starting out as grooms or want to become grooms and give some guidance,” she says.

Kate’s words when describing her experience working with Sharon for the past two years are nothing but positive ones. “You constantly learn so much. It’s such a wonderful environment and I’m surrounded by so many fantastic people.”

Although she is early on in her equine career, Kate has some tips and fundamental things to think about in regards to grooming:


  • Always have sugar in your pocket. 


“It’s an essential to me as a groom.”


  • Always be grateful. 


“There are some definite lows and some definite highs, but always be grateful for where you’re at and that you get to be in the sport and be surrounded by these animals because they’re just so wonderful.”


  • Always be thoughtful


“Be thoughtful to each and every horse; all horses are different, so pay attention to every single horse you put your hands on. As horses move up the levels, pay attention to what helps them have a good day and what may have fed into a bad day.”


  • Write everything down.


“Any changes in feed, any changes in exercise that may have happened, write it down! Write it down with the dates so you have it and you know.”

Kate has not only been handling the responsibilities of Sharon’s head groom, but she’s also been competing herself. She’s been leasing Life Story, aka Basil since this past December and has been gaining valuable experience from him.

Balancing grooming tasks and tending to her own horse is no easy feat. “It’s mental, in the way that if you’ve had a show all day, or you have to leave for a show in an hour but you still have to do your horse, you have to put your stress aside and focus on your horse. He’s a very sensitive horse, so if you have any semblance of a hurry or stress, he will know and he will project that.”

Kate and Rachel Dunning celebrate Sharon White’s clear cross country at Kentucky with Claus 63. Photo by JJ Sillman.

This year, Kate got to experience grooming at her first CCI5* event, the Kentucky Three-Day Event with Sharon and Claus 63.  “I’m was ecstatic for that– I’ve only been to Kentucky once and it was as a spectator. It was incredible to be able to see the behind-the-scenes and to learn from the people around me.” But, the weekend didn’t come without its share of anticipatory nerves: “This was basically my first Long format, ever, with her! So I was pretty nervous about what to expect.”

If you’re considering becoming a groom, take this advice from Kate: “Definitely weigh your options. It’s not for everyone, it’s very intense; you have to really love the sport and the horses and be 100% all in. And it’s okay if you’re not, it’s okay if it’s not the right option for you, it’s not going to make you any less of a horse rider.”

Go Kate and Go Eventing.

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