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Do upper level riders (GP/PSG) groom and tack up their horses?

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  • Do upper level riders (GP/PSG) groom and tack up their horses?

    Of course we all know the benefits of doing this ourselves - bonding time and just to get a feel for where our horse is mentally as well as physically. I have a somewhat hot mare that I really need to take into account where she is mentally before each ride. This guides me on our training scale for that session. So, last night when grooming....she was totally focused and relaxed (which is somewhat the norm) and we had a wonderful session (LOVE my horse!!!). But there are also days when I need to scale back a bit which started me thinking about how much a person misses when they have someone else groom and tack up for them.

    What do you think....do any upper level riders groom and tack up themselves??

  • #2
    It probably depends on their schedule and the number of horses they have to ride a day. Some of the bigger names swing their legs on to so many horses a day, they simply don't have the time.

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    • #3
      depends. some do, some don't.

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      • #4
        Yes. Actually, a lot that I know of do, even if they have grooms and all. At home and at shows. Philippe Lejeune (jumper rider), who I interviewed, tack up by himself to make sure everything is perfect. Two of my friend who does PSG too.

        Upper level riders are with their horses most of their time. They ride them once or twice (if not more) per day. They don't miss anything because they find good grooms to take care of them and let them know how the horse is feeling too.

        Good riders don't need much time to figure out how is their horse doing and how to address it.

        And to be where they are, upper level riders have groomed and tack up themselves countless of time I'm sure.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
          Yes. Actually, a lot that I know of do, even if they have grooms and all. At home and at shows. Philippe Lejeune (jumper rider), who I interviewed, tack up by himself to make sure everything is perfect. Two of my friend who does PSG too.

          Upper level riders are with their horses most of their time. They ride them once or twice (if not more) per day. They don't miss anything because they find good grooms to take care of them and let them know how the horse is feeling too.

          Good riders don't need much time to figure out how is their horse doing and how to address it.

          And to be where they are, upper level riders have groomed and tack up themselves countless of time I'm sure.
          This.... The ones that cry for a groom every time they need a girth tightened don't usually make it to the top level of this sport IMO.

          The worst I have seen of it (grooming myself as a young rider) was at the hunter shows At the LOWEST levels too lol... I swear some of the ammy's and trainers acted like they'd never touched a horse brush in their life... Or tack for that matter! Absurd to the point where I wouldnt groom for a hunter trainer if they paid me in gold! lol
          ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
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          • #6
            I don't know if you would call me an 'upper' level rider. I am amateur and I have competed through Intermediare II on my special guy.

            I do my own grooming.

            Except for an occasional show when a friend comes along to groom for me. She is the BEST. Knows and loves my horse. Knows me. Grooms the BEST. I braid. She does the rest.

            I also groom for her when she competes in the jumpers. So it works out for both of us.

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            • #7
              I started showing FEI levels in 1988 and have always tacked up my own horses. If I am lucky enough to have a groom at a show - they are asked to do things like hold the horse while I adjust clothing at the last minute, dust off my boots when I'm back on or spot check the horse's white markings last minute at ringside and get profuse thanks and compensation for their time at the end of the day. Having grown up in PC and on our farm - you can't wait around for someone to step and fetch for you...self sufficient is the only way to be. But FWIW an extra pair of hands to help out at a show are always much appreciated!!! My mom (also an FEI rider) used to braid for me and coach me and train my horses - and I used to groom for her when she was showing...it's family after all. One would typically muck while the other groomed but everything got done in an orderly fashion without drama.

              At my best - I can get 9 tacked up, worked and cooled out plus morning and evening chores. I prefer to not stretch past 7 currently as I'm still rehabbing an injury and not fit enough to do more. Soon, though.

              As a Type A typical Control Freak - I prefer to tack up myself - then I know if things are just the way I like them (pad, girth, bridle) and the 'state of the nation' as far as the horse's mood for the day.
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              • #8
                My trainer who has ridden through GP but is currently riding I1 and I2 takes a groom when she can get it. But she always bridles her own horses at shows no matter what. At home her working students tack up for her and bring her horses out almost all the time.

                I think it varies by person.
                I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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                • #9
                  What I have noticed at horse shows, even at the regional championships, is that many of the BNT's do their own braiding and grooming.
                  2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

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                  • #10
                    Do you mean upper level, or internationally ranked upper level?

                    I think a lot of it depends on how many horses they have to ride and how many lessons or coaching sessions they have to give in a day.
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                    • #11
                      I would think it also depends on whether they have a full time groom at home. If there is a rythm to what they do with the horse, it can be unsettling to have that rythm disturbed.

                      I agree with most that it also likely depends on how many horses/lessons they have in a day on whether it would be possible to do without a groom.

                      In my barn the trainer has a student that grooms part time. She rarely preps my horse (unless I'm taking a lesson and running late from work), but she'll often help me untack if she's between horses. I'm type A enough that I'll often re-store my saddle after her 'cause it's not put away to my satisfaction. But then I'll also restack the dishwasher behind my SO as he is not efficient enough in the stacking in my opinion.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                        This.... The ones that cry for a groom every time they need a girth tightened don't usually make it to the top level of this sport IMO.

                        The worst I have seen of it (grooming myself as a young rider) was at the hunter shows At the LOWEST levels too lol... I swear some of the ammy's and trainers acted like they'd never touched a horse brush in their life... Or tack for that matter! Absurd to the point where I wouldnt groom for a hunter trainer if they paid me in gold! lol
                        We had a gal move into our barn with a H/J horse for sale. We are primarily a dressage/trail riders barn, but we have people who do H/J too. I came out one day and there was a pile of black hair as big as a Newfoundland dog in the cross-ties. This woman had body-clipped her horse (well, she did THAT herself) and just LEFT the hair there (because where she came from, people cleaned up after her!). Barn trainer scooped it all up, but was reluctant to call new boarder on it. (Trainer is WAAAAAAY too nice a person!!) And there's a sign right there on the wall in the cross ties saying "Please clean up after yourself."

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks guys, my first post in many many years so appreciate the feedback. I guess I should have included all level riders but just had that fleeting thought about the importance of doing everything yourself to really be "in tune" with our horses and wondered if this important time with our mounts gets passed over.
                          Thanks again....

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                          • #14
                            Some do, some don't. Aside: DD's been called a hunter princess more than once by her cohorts. I do all of her tacking and un-tacking. Mostly because the saddle outweighs her and I like to see where the pony's mind at before she swings a leg over. It's actually one of my new years resolutions to let her at least groom the pony. She does the typical once over and misses half the dirt. Though she can name all the parts of both saddle and horse By the time I was her age though I was saddling my own with a huge western saddle and most of my rides were far taller than her shorty schoolmaster.
                            Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                            Originally Posted by alicen:
                            What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

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                            • #15
                              I think I am at a point where I will need some one to groom and tack horses for me if I take in one more for training. It is simply a lack of TIME.

                              BUT for my most advanced horses, I really do like to do it all myself. There comes a certain point where every tiny little detail of feed back you get from your horse counts for every ride, even in grooming before the ride. I cannot imagine competing at GP without having laid hands on my horse before mounting up!!

                              Normally at shows I do not have much more help than a person per 3 horses. The last show I rode in, I had a few students who wanted to come along and help. I had so much help I was actually embarrassed!!!! To make it more 'cliche' I was competing 1st level and one 2nd level test. It was nice to have the help only because of the schedules, but wowzers what a change from how things are at home.
                              Horses don't lie.

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                              • #16
                                There are just times it makes sense to have a groom along.

                                I just love it when my friend comes to groom.

                                I braid. I get ready. She gets my horse groomed and tacked up.

                                It is a wonderful feeling knowing I am going into the ring on the best groomed horse at the show (she does the last minute touch ups that I cannot do while mounted).

                                Yes, I do a great job grooming. But it is not the same as having someone on the ground to assure there is no dust or mud anywhere. Tail is perfect. Last minute oil on the face.

                                I do not think this interferes with the riding experience. Besides my horse LOVES the pampering. So do I.

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                                • #17
                                  I remember reading in an interview with Anky's American groom, that Anky insisted on banging tails herself.
                                  Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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                                  • #18
                                    At home, time necessitates that I have some help tacking and untacking, but I usually do my "top" horse myself (PSG/IntI at the moment). At shows, I do everything myself - tacking and untacking, grooming, braiding. For me it's part of the showing process for my horses - I need to be with them and know how they are before I show them. I compete horses from Training level babies to GP.

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                                    • #19
                                      I think it usually depends on whether the person is an ammy or a pro and how many horses they are riding. My coach is a pro and rides a minimum of 8 horses a day. She absolutely has an assistant at home and at shows. She couldn't get it all done without one. None of the AA's I know who are showing FEI have assistants/grooms. Most have one, maybe two horses they are showing so they don't need one. If they have two horses and classes are close together the barnmates pitch in to help them tack up at shows but no hired help is on hand.

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                                      • #20
                                        I am a mid-level amateur (just starting to show FEI), and I have a groom many days. I have 3 horses in work, 3 kids and a corporate job. I did not mean to have so many horses (these things just happen ;-D) With help, I can get all 3 horses really ridden, properly cared for and all of the tack cleaned in the time I could get 2 barely ridden, barely groomed with filthy tack before. She doesn't come every day. She comes about 3 days a week. It's more than I can afford, but the only option if I want all of them in work.

                                        I have not yet used her @ shows, but can't imagine doing it without her - not thinking of her being "the help" but another reasonable horse person to share the load. I enjoy grooming and hanging out with my horses, but multiple ride times are very hard to manage alone @ shows. In the past I have shown 2 on my own - and had to scratch classes when rides went late etc.

                                        I have used her for clinics. This way, I can ride my horses back to back and get done in half the time vs. having to put rides in between and take all day. Still time for soccer, grocery shopping etc.

                                        The horses do live @ my house, so I feed and care for them and hang out a bit every day. If I did not, I think I would miss the together time of grooming on those days more.

                                        I know I sound spoiled, but I am a serious amateur with goals and this is the only way it works.

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