Thursday, May. 23, 2024




Each year at the FEI Awards Gala, the title of FEI Best Groom is handed out to an outstanding caretaker in the FEI disciplines. And this year, three U.S. grooms have made the short list for the awards.

“Grooms are that special group of people who underpin the success of our entire sport, ever present but rarely in the spotlight,” said the FEI press release about the short list. “The Best Groom Award seeks to highlight those grooms who really go above and beyond for their horses and riders.”

Grand prix rider Schuyler Riley has been on a big winning streak this summer, first winning three grand prix classes at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (N.C.) and then the CSI-W at Bromont, Quebec, but she's not the only one bringing checks back to the barn. Her head groom Jesus Pimentel has been on a streak of his own, capturing the new TIEC Groom’s Initiative Award three times.

When he first came to work for rider Louise Serio seven years ago, Andreas Vega was not the most seasoned groom in the barn.

“He was quite young when he started, and he didn’t have a lot of experience, but he always tried very hard,” Serio explained of Vega.

Years of dedication to learning more about his craft paid off for Vega on Feb. 27 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington Fla.—Vega topped a field of 18 entries in the groom’s class sponsored by Shapley’s Equine Grooming Products.


Being nervous for your very first class, at your very first horse show, is normal. Winning that class is not.

But that’s exactly what happened to groom Miguel Barrera on Jan. 30 at the Winter Equestrian Festival, where he took top honors in the groom's class presented by Shapley’s Equine Grooming Products.

Barrera has been a groom for nine years, four with current barn Laura Stern Stables at Country Ridge, but this was his very first time entering a groom's class.

So you think you want to be a professional groom? Liv Gude of Professional Equine Grooms has some words of wisdom...

You should DO IT. I say that because I was a professional groom for years, and looking back, it was the best way to further my education as a horseman.

It’s horse show season! This will likely generate a mix of excitement, butterflies, massive planning attempts, and possible total frustration if you need to work out of your trailer.

Liv Gude of Professional Equine Grooms knows that if you take some time before your show to get your equipment in order and develop a plan you can make your trailer an awesome home base for your horse. 

Let’s work our way through a few scenarios:

You have decided to enter some dressage shows this summer!  Your horse is going well, you have memorized your tests, and your entries are all filled out. 

And then you take a good look at your horse….It seems he is channeling his inner fuzz monster—he’s growing a beard, you could braid the hair on his legs, and his tail looks like something a chimney sweep could use. 

Liv Gude of Pro Equine Grooms tells you how to take your dressage horse from wild and fuzzy to show ring sleek in just a few steps!

As Natasha Nagawiecki prepared to lead Reali Equine LLC’s Reflection into the ring in the Shapley’s Groom’s Class during Week 8 of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.), she noticed a small black spot on the white mare’s leg where she’d gotten a smudge of hoof polish as she walked.

At the last minute, she whisked away the spot, fixed one more stray hair in her mane and headed into the ring.



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