Life

True Groom Confessions

Do you ever wonder what grooms talk about when they’re alone? What kind of secrets do they keep?

Well, we asked a few brushers to share some tidbits they wouldn’t normally divulge to a non-groom, and we weren’t disappointed. As you can imagine, they preferred to remain anonymous.

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“People always like you more if you compliment their horse, so sometimes I pretend to like a horse that is a total a**hole, just to get its owner to like me. I’m like ‘Oh my god, your horse is SO cute! I love his personality,’ when what I’m really thinking is ‘Your horse is a total jerk to handle, he bit me when I was doing up his girth and I punched him in the nose.'”

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“I used to groom for someone who I really didn’t like, and sometimes before they went in the ring I would give their horse a pep talk and be like ‘Okay, today you need to buck them off. Do it for me.’ I would then watch every fence thinking, Now! Now! Fall off now! It almost never actually worked, but it was kinda satisfying in a mean way.”

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“I hardcore judge any adult that brings their kid to ride at a full service barn. Like, what kind of parent lets their kid learn to ride without learning how to tack up their own horses and take care of them? Don’t they want them to learn the meaning of hard work and how it can be so rewarding? Or do they want them to grow up thinking it’s okay to be a useless lump who stands around while hired help does things for them? Even if I was a billionaire, I would never let my kid have grooms. Like, it’s great because it keeps me in a job, but I honestly look down on these people.”

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“Even if I don’t like a horse at all, I will like it a solid 10% more if it’s easy to clip. The reverse is also true. Even if it’s an angel, if it’s bad to clip, I will immediately like it less.”

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“I hate it when people try to have a conversation with me when I’m mucking stalls. It’s the morning, my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, and I’m trying to focus. Plus, I don’t appreciate you standing at the door watching me muck. I want to throw shavings at you. Unless it can’t wait, leave me alone.”

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“Pretty much every day, I want to issue owners restraining orders against their horses until they pass a course called ‘How NOT to Make Your Horse an A**hole 101.'”

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“Sometimes I think I need to get out of this industry because of the way people treat horses. Everything is about money and winning. People drug them to keep them quiet, chase them with whips if they don’t want to jump, tie down their heads to make them look pretty. They push them until their bodies break down and then get rid of them. There’s good people out there too, but just so many bad ones. It kills me. Sometimes I think that even if it’s not me doing stuff like that, being in the show industry makes me part of it and I need to get out.”

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“I skipped university and became a groom instead. I laugh a little on the inside when I see my university educated friends working at Timmies and McDonald’s, drowning under a pile of student debt, barely able to pay afford the insane cost of housing these days. Like yeah, I might work crazy hours, but I have a place to live and get paid to travel the country doing something awesome. You can’t find a job in your field and you settled just to pay the bills.”

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About the Author

Morgan Withers is a professional groom on the “A” circuit who has been there and done that and then done that and been there some more for good measure.

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