Grooming Grooms for the Future

Photo by Leslie Wylie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Getting a horse to and through a three-day takes a village. Ask any professional rider and they’ll admit that there’s no way they could do it without their team — in particular, their groom.

Good grooms are worth their weight in gold. It takes years of experience, coupled with a genuine love of horses, to become an expert at managing equine athletes at the highest level. It’s vital to the sport that we continue “grooming grooms” to fulfill this valuable role.

A new program, the Equine Management Training Center (EMTC), is taking groom education to the next level. Based at Sandy River Equestrian Center in southwestern Virginia, EMT offers a comprehensive certification program sharing the knowledge and skills necessary to become a professional groom and manage all aspects of equestrian life.

The program’s curriculum was developed with the oversight of many professionals including Olympic riders, veterinarians, farriers, professional grooms and more.

The inaugural session, an eight-week program focusing on equine management, will be held in September and October of 2015. Following completion of the session, all students will be placed in a one-month internship at a participating barn; after completion of the internship, they will be placed in jobs as Basic Grooms. Alternately, they may elect to continue with a second session focused on stable management, scheduled for January and February 2016, to to become an Elite Groom.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

EMTC has quickly gained the support of professionals across the eventing spectrum.

  • “There is no other program like this in the country. All professionals will be better off knowing that their employees have been taught by the best.” — David O’Connor
  • “What the training center for grooms could do for the professional horse industry, by providing an educated, certified, ready-to-hire equine management practitioner, cannot be understated.” — Will Coleman
  • “A good groom is the backbone to any successful program. Our job is to make sure that when that rider gets  on, all they worry about is riding.” — Max Corcoran
  • “The Professional Equine Groom School is a fantastic program and necessary for anyone aspiring to be a top groom or wanting to learn as much as possible about caring for an equine athlete.” — Lauren Kieffer

Recognizing the important role that grooms play, the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) is a big supporter and affiliate of the EMTC. They have partnered together to create an EMTC PRO Groom’s Award, given to a groom who demonstrates outstanding management and turnout throughout each PRO Tour Series competition. PRO Tour competitions at the CCI3* levels will award a $200 and CIC3*/Advanced levels will award a $100 cash prize to the winning groom.

The first EMTC PRO Groom’s Award was given at last week’s Bromont CCI Three Day Event. The recipient was Anne Marie Duarte, who grooms for Selena O’Hanlon.

Selena O'Hanlon's groom, Anne Marie Duarte, at Bromont. Photo courtesy of PRO.

Selena O’Hanlon’s groom, Anne Marie Duarte, at Bromont. Photo courtesy of PRO.

Selena O'Hanlon and her beautifully turned-out Foxwood High at the 2015 Bromont CCI3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Selena O’Hanlon and her beautifully turned-out Foxwood High at the 2015 Bromont CCI3*. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

“It is so nice to publicly recognize the dedication and commitment of professional grooms,” said Robert Costello, Chair of the USEF Eventing Selection Committee. “They make such a difference to the care of the horses in their charge and really make it possible for us as riders to be successful.”

For more information about EMTC, click here.