At the dawn of time, when showjumpers were still riding unicorns and all-weather footing was the stuff of imagination, the very first groom stood atop Mount Olympics. There was a strike of lightning, and upon the face of a mineral lick were engraved the words of The Groom’s 10 Commandments, a credo to be rigorously upheld by all horse show grooms in the centuries to follow.

The tablet itself was lost in the sands of time, but the Commandments have been passed through the generations by word of mouth.

1. Thou shalt have no life beyond equestrianism

No hobby, interest or group of friends shall supersede the equine lifestyle. All of thine spare time must be spent thinking of or discussing horses.

2. Thou shalt love nothing more than you love your horses

No friend, lover or child can have more of your love than the horses you take care of.

3. Thou shalt not harm

Thou shalt never knowingly hurt a horse or engage in any harmful actions. Thou shalt never turn a blind eye to wrong or abusive practises by allowing them to continue.

4. Thou shalt honor thy horse above thineself

Before eating, satisfy your horse’s hunger. Before drinking, ensure your horse has water. Before taking shelter from the cold, ensure your horse is properly blanketed.

5. Thou shalt not steal

Neither the contents of a wallbox, nor an unlocked bike, nor a ring bag left at the ring.

6. Thou shalt not covet thine neighbors’ ribbons

Nor their horses, nor their salary.

7. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour

Especially in the warmup ring, when asked by fellow grooms when you go.

8. Thou shalt honor Mondays and keep them sacred

Walk the horses, scrub the buckets. Wear sunglasses inside. Discourage any blasphemer who wishes to ride on this sacred day.

9. Thou shall not adult

Thou must never outgrow your teenage pony obsession, nor ever be adulty enough to do normal adulty things, for you must be forever stunted by equestrian immaturity.

10. Thou shall never take George Morris’s name in vain

For none shall be held guiltless who do so.

About the Author

When she’s not sharing hard-won #groomtruths, Brooke Nicholls works as a professional groom in Canada.