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T3D: Is a groom a must-have?

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  • T3D: Is a groom a must-have?

    My friend who offered to groom if I went to the Heart of the Carolinas had to back out; other good friends will be at Rolex.

    How critical is it to have a groom at a T3D? As my coach pointed out, "remember that it's someone you will be with all weekend." Never thought of it that way!

  • #2
    Originally posted by flaxenmane View Post
    My friend who offered to groom if I went to the Heart of the Carolinas had to back out; other good friends will be at Rolex.

    How critical is it to have a groom at a T3D? As my coach pointed out, "remember that it's someone you will be with all weekend." Never thought of it that way!
    Having a groom DEFINITELY helps in many ways, not the least of which is allowing you to really concentrate on your riding, prep work, course walks, without worrying so much about the grooming details. A groom is (hopefully) a calming influence, a 2nd set of eyes, and a planner and organizer for the cross country phase where lots of stuff is needed. Doing that all by yourself can be exhausting and distracting.

    That being said... The training three days are generally populated with the most friendly and helpful people -- other competitors and their families and grooms, as well as the organizing committee and volunteers. They are there to help you in any way they can to have a great experience. If you can't find a subsitute, I would let the organizers know that you are alone, and would appreciate any help they might be able to provide, and you might be fine.

    Good luck, and have fun! It will be the most awesome experience you have ever had on horseback.
    "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." ~ Mark Twain


    • #3
      A groom is definitely a must-have in the 10 minute box. You can't do everything that needs to be done yourself. Yes, people are there and will be helpful, but that's technically not their job. This is one of those things that sets a 3-day apart from a horse trials, and you should learn to do it properly. It's handy to have a helper for the rest of the weekend, but on xc day it's really essential.


      • #4
        You do need the help

        Keep working on getting help.

        What are your resources? Other students of your coach? Can your coach ask her contacts? Have you sent out an S.O.S. on your area bulletin board? Area 2 has a rider's email group, for example.. What about Pony Club? Dressage/combined training club? Tack shops that have eventers? Feed store management? horse vets? farriers? In other words, you are building a support system. This critical for your growth as a rider. (See Denny's book)

        Use coth!
        Intermediate Riding Skills


        • #5
          flaxen - what level are you running, and how fit/experienced are you? And how warm do we think it will end up being that weekend?

          I'll be bringing a mare to run Novice, and am not at all sure I'll have anyone along. Having someone to move gear from the 10 minute box to the end of D area is the one thing I'll have to think through - but I guess really having an extra bucket, sponge, and scraper should see me through. I'm not expecting my TB mare will even be much out of breath coming off D, though no promises for me.

          I'll certainly be glad to swap help if schedules allow, but sounds like we may all pretty much be out on course at once. I say sign up, it will work out!! It will be a blast! I heard a rumor that a wine tasting is part of the festivities. Hmm, wonder if Foy/Brad would put it before dressage for us??



          • #6
            You need to have help in the 10 minute box and after XC; it's handy but not necessary to have a groom the rest of the weekend.

            Luckily, there are often lots of folks you can pair up with and share vet box teams with - frankly, sometimes it's easier that way rather than everyone have their buckets out. If you can't find a knowledgeable friend or two who can help you out in the box, tell the organizer when you arrive, and you will likely be able to pair up with someone. Remember, having an extra six pack for your crew in the box is only good manners ...


            • #7
              I think having someone who knows you and your horse in AT LEAST the 10 minute box is necessary. Especially if your horse can be ornery- I was not about to turn Vernon over to just anyone at our three day since he can nip, so I was glad I had people there who knew him and knew how to deal with him when he was wound. We had outside help, but someone who understood him was at his head. And you definitely do need SOME help in the 10 min box. It is chaotic sometimes, even with a good crew.

              For the rest of it, it is pretty easy to be self sufficient, though having an extra set of hands is nice- to clean tack, muck a stall, fill a water bucket, etc, etc, etc is nice so you can get appropriate course walks in, hack your horse on R and T and do the other 8 million things you can end up doing that you wouldn't normally have to worry about at a horse trial.


              • #8
                There were several people who didn't have one when I went. My friend came for xc/ sj but wasn't able to be there the first two days. Really, though, we would have been fine, if we'd had to be--but my horse is so laid-back the big battle after C was to keep him walking when he would have preferred to eat grass.

                What I found a little overwhelming was having my horse braided/ studded/ tacked at the right times, plus trying to go to all the educational stuff (the majority of which in retrospect I could have skipped, since I had groomed before and done a lot of reading).

                And to be honest, this was not grooming that I would have been comfortable asking my friend to do, even though she has competed Novice on her own horse. My guy isn't naughty or crazy, but he does need everything done just so, and that's a lot of responsibility to put on someone!

                I think that if you're used to competing by yourself, and can borrow help for the 10 minute box, you will be fine.


                • Original Poster

                  You guys are great

                  Sounds like, overall, help in the 10-minute box is key. My horse is not difficult on the ground (she has her opinions elsewhere!) but I myself am a bit flummoxed by all the details of endurance day -- especially speeds and times. I have trouble remembering a dressage test for a horse trial, so someone who has done a 3D would probably be best for me.

                  Jeanette, I would be running the Training level and it sounds like you've been there done that? Maybe we can share a groom or help each other if our times don't conflict. In the meantime, I am going to reach out to Foy and a few more folks about help.

                  What's most important for me is to feel prepared for all the phases. I downloaded the Briar Fox 3D How-To manual from the USEA site, and all the details and descriptions they gave about the various endurance phases made my head swim!


                  • #10
                    Why is a groom "essential" in the 10 minute box? What special thing(s) does that person do that the rider can't?


                    • #11
                      It's an extra set of hands when you need to be doing several things simultaneously (checking shoes, bathing, walking, making any necessary tack repairs/ changes, keeping track of the horse's TPR and how much time you have before you need to remount, and catching your breath and thinking about the xc course.) In a perfect world, when your horse comes off of roads and tracks calm and quiet and cool and it's 50 degrees, the groom is almost unnecessary--although it's nice to not have to take off your gloves to sponge the horse. But if it's hot, or your horse has a stud missing and is jumping around like an idiot, or you're inclined to be panicky, it's really essential to have the extra person (sometimes extra people). And it's far better to have them there and not really "need" them.


                      • #12
                        Plus, it's pretty hard to sponge and scrape a horse effectively while you're holding onto them (and it's the exceptionally rare horse I would ever trust to ground tie in the 10 minute box at a three day). Just sheer logistics of holding the horse plus sponging/scraping, plus getting the rider a drink of water, as well as any walking that needs to be done and jogging for the vet means it's really really really hard (read nigh-impossible) to do it as one person. Maybe if it's a "Novice 3-Day" and the horse doesn't need anything in the box, you could swing it, but I wouldn't want to try it. I like having two-three people in the box if you can - and ensuring that there's at least one of them who knows the horse well enough to be able to tell the vet of any quirks (e.g., "this one wants to be loose with his hind legs").


                        • #13

                          Number one reason to have a groom is so you can focus on your ride. The training three day is an educational event so you will probably be spending a lot of time doing "mock" jogging, possibly a steeplechase school, etc. With some help for the "other" things like grooming, braiding, bathing, etc. it will allow you to be less tired and more likely to focus on getting the full experience and education. Take someone with you so you can focus on your ride.



                          • #14
                            Check these out

                            Two resources for you:
                            The event groom's handbook book on amazon

                            coth forum archives: reference section: 2 long threads on 3day grooming pointers from Rolex. It was a year of major rain, so there is that aspect, too..
                            Intermediate Riding Skills


                            • #15
                              Not to mention there are 2-3 horses plus their staff in the 10 minute box preparing to start phase D plus horses coming off of phase D. So it is 'controlled chaos'. Having a 2nd set of hands/eyes/shoulders to help maintain sanity and concentration is needed for most.

                              No promises as life throws us curves all of the time. . . But I am planning to attend that Saturday and if not needed as a volunteer would be available for box duties.
                              "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                              Courtesy my cousin Tim


                              • #16
                                The short answer is YES on endurance day.

                                It is a major annoyance for the organizers to have people with no help and be trying to scramble to get someone for them. It will also stress you out. Of course, the ideal person will know horses, but at the very least bring someone who can at least hold your horse while you make adjustments, talk to the vet, etc. You will not have cross ties to "hold" your horse in a 10 min box.


                                • #17
                                  You don't NEED a groom for any part of the weekend, except for endurance. Is it nice to have one? Yes. But I've never had a groom with me for the entire weekend.

                                  Is it essential to have help in the vet box?


                                  Even just one other person, so you hold the horse while they sponge and scrape. It's IDEAL to have three people to help in the 10 minute box, one to hold/walk and two to sponge/scrape each side, while the rider takes a drink, reviews phase D mentally, talks about how the course is riding with their coach. However, it can definitely be DONE with one person and the rider alone, as long as the rider can hold/walk the horse while the helper sponge/scrapes and the rider is not rattled by the go-go-go pace of the vetbox before heading out to phase D.

                                  I've done several short formats CIC/CCI's with vet boxes at the end, and one long format CCI* in 2009. I never once had a groom for any of the show, but always, always needed help in the vet box. My horse was always hot enough to need sponging, including when it was 40 degrees out. (He heats up quickly, but also cools down quickly.) Once, when the altitude was a factor for me in Colorado, I was forced to sit by the doctor and/or EMT (someone medically knowledgeable anyways), and was not permitted to help w/my horse AT ALL. Luckily, I had contacted some people through COTH (Thanks Barb and Purplnurpl!) who took good care of the pony for me.

                                  In any case, I wrote up a blog entry about the vet box recently. It's similar to the 10 minute box, but is only at the end. At a LF event, you'll do the 10 minute box and also the vet box at the end. Trust me, you'll want help if you can possibly get it.

                                  Demystifying the Vet Box