Mark Bellissimo announced today that, effective immediately, shows operated at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (N.C.), Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (Fla.), Colorado Horse Park, Central Park (N.Y.), and The Trump Invitational at Mar-a-Lago (Fla.) will provide a $500 award to the groom of the winning horse in the highest-money grand prix class of the week over $25,000.
The groom will also be mentioned in all communications of the victory and will appear in the winning photo of its press releases.
Bellissimo stated, “We recognize that grooms are the unsung heroes of equestrian sport and have decided that we will systematically honor their hard work, dedication, and commitment to their riders, the horses and the sport.”
In the future, riders will be asked to register their groom’s name with their declarations, and if a winning rider has not registered his or her groom, the award will roll over to the next week.
Bellissimo added, “We will be instituting a similar program for special classes in our hunter, dressage and eventing competitions.”
In addition, starting in 2016, horse show software will manage and track grooms standings based on total money won with horses where they are registered as primary groom. At the end of the calendar year in 2016, the top three grooms in terms of money won in qualified classes across the properties will be honored in The Chronicle Of The Horse magazine and online and will win $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.
Finally, Bellissimo will be working with Isothermal Community College (N.C.) to create a national training program for grooms. More details to follow.