I’ve gone on at length about the reasons people don’t usually choose grooming as their lifelong career. But then, why do I recommend it to every horse lover I know? Why do I do it myself? Here are the top 10 reasons being a pony primper will be the coolest adventure you ever go on.
1. You get to travel
You will go countless places you wouldn't have gone otherwise, and you get paid to go there. Whether it's touring Europe or skipping the winter to show in Florida, you will be travelling in the best company you could ever ask for: horse company.
2. It's kind of glamorous
Okay, picking up poop and being covered in horse hair isn't exactly glamorous. But being surrounded by the best of the best—the riders that are on the covers of magazines, and get asked for autographs—is pretty cool. When you're showered, out of your barn clothes and watching the big class under the lights, you'll remember the glamour aspect. And it will feel awesome.
3. You get to be a part of something bigger
You are an essential part of your horses' success. Riders will rely on you to keep their equine partner in top form and notice anything that might be amiss, from unfinished grain in the morning to a sore back during currying. If your horse places in the Grand Prix, when you lead it back to the barn you will 100% feel as proud as if you were the one that earned that ribbon. And in a way, you kind of did.
4. You learn EVERYTHING
The best grooms I know can take off and tack on a shoe, fit a saddle, dissect a jumper round as well as any trainer, drive a semi, and do anything a vet tech can do. Their input is respected by the vet, the chiropractor, the farrier and, of course, the rider. If you learn this trade, you eventually become a jack-of-all-trades, you can't even help it.
5. You form incredible bonds with the horses
Every horse lover knows about the amazing connection that can be formed between human and horse. But when you spend every waking hour handling the same three or four horses, you take that special bond to the next level. I know a horse that stall walks only when her groom takes the day off. If you want to experience a level of closeness to an animal that most people can't even fathom, groom the same string of horses for a couple years.
6. You'll amp up your work ethic
Need a boost in self-discipline? Do you want to eradicate the last bit of laziness from your character? Become a brusher. You can't fake sick or put in a half-effort when the horses rely on you.
7. You can gain independence without all the extra pressure that comes with adulting
You're on your own, you're taking care of yourself. You're gaining life experience. But you don't have to worry about the usual stressors that come along with adulty independence, like hydro bills, cable and wifi packages, mortgages, and how many bags of garbage per household. If your farm has a staff vehicle you don't need a car, and some barns will even cover your phone bill. Literally all you need to worry about is feeding yourself and going to work every day. It's perfect for the 20-something who is ready to practise adulting without actually doing it.
8. You'll meet your fellow horse lovers from all over the world
Even if you decide not to become a lifer, you'll make like-minded friends and have horsey connections that last you the rest of your life, and they'll probably be located all over the globe. It'll give you a reason to travel later on. Because a chance to visit your friend in Ireland is just too cool to pass up.
9. You get to work with really, REALLY nice horses
I can only speak for myself here, but there was a time not so long ago when I would have been psyched just to pet a million-dollar horse, let alone take care of one. Maybe you'll never be able to afford that quality of horse for yourself, but you can groom them. And once you know how to deliver top-level care, you can take care of all you own horses in the future as though they were million-dollar horses themselves.
10. You'll have amazing stories to tell
Remember that time you drove 60 hours? Remember when you totalled your car by running into the horse treadmill? Remember when you got lost in backroad Virginia and thought you were going to get murdered? Remember when you ended up in a background shot on TV at Spruce Meadows? Well, you'll remember. And you'll have great stories.
About the Author
When she’s not sharing hard-won #groomtruths, Brooke Nicholls works as a professional groom in Canada.