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What do you look for in a groom?

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  • What do you look for in a groom?


    I am sophomore in highschool, and I'm trying to find a stable that would hire me as a part time groom. I can't drive by myself until I'm 16, and then I can only drive to work, school, or emegencies. I would try to work something out so that I could turn around and use my wages to pay for lessons. Is this legal as long as there are two separate transactions?

    I was also wondering what you would look for in someone who is offering a deal such as the one I listed. The barn I am interested in is a middle of the road show barn who houses a college team I am very interested in.


  • #2
    You can be paid as a junior, but I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who will hire you when you can't drive.


    • #3
      You have to be reliable, work like a dog and not complain - and did I mention have very high standards and show some initiative? And be able to come to the barn the day of your prom, during exams, - ie you work around the barn's needs not the other way around.
      http://www.facebook.com/olddominionsaddlery Like us on Facebook!!


      • #4
        Someone hard working, english speaking is always a plus, someone capable of seeing lameness, signs of sickness, cleanliness, professional appearance and attitude. Experience is a plus but not a deal breaker. Someone willing to learn.


        • #5
          I think we have one of the best grooms I've worked with ever. He's young (early twenties). Mucked stalls for three years before having the opportunity to groom. Started grooming and didn't know much. Now he manages (alone) over twenty horses and does an fantastic job.

          He's bilingual. Hard worker. Quick learner. Is learning to spot lameness/problems and points them out. Knows what to do if a horse has a certain problem (abcess, etc). Is calm with the horses and never loses his temper (even when they jump on his foot). He always has a smile even when he's doing work he doesn't like doing. He takes great pride in how the horses look. He shows up on time and stays as long as need be.

          So yea, that's a great groom. =D


          • #6
            know how to muck a stall!
            a lot of people don't know how to thoroughly muck a stall and do it QUICKLY!
            be willing to get up early, be able to handle horses even when they're misbehaving, take intitiative to do extra jobs around the barn, be knowledgable about horses, have good people skills and be able to communicate effectively.
            have a positive attitude! be neat, tidy, efficient, and thorough.
            be willing to make sacrifices.
            I was at the barn mucking at 6 am the morning after my prom.
            Oldenburgs do it better

            rip mystic puddin' 1984-2006
            rip banacek 1992-2007


            • #7
              a few off the wall tips for aspiring grooms
              -keep your eyes and ears open at all times
              -you will be respected if you can do any job in the barn from cleaning stalls to driving the horse trailer to being trusted to ride the nice young horses.
              - the boss is always right - if you really don't trust or believe in them you need to go somewhere else.
              -if you don't feel safe you probably aren't
              -know who your friends are and more importantly who they aren't
              -dont compare yoursef to rich clients - you may not have what they have now, but you do have a work ethic - something money can't buy.
              -avoid barn gossip (particularly starring in it!)
              -do not tolerate cruelty to animals - go find another place to be if you see this happening
              -work your way to the top - you will get there


              • #8
                Good advice so far.

                I'd underline-- be hard working and cheerfully "on call" ready to pitch in with whatever task someone asks you for.

                Get to know the horses really well so that you can do the little things that have them physically and mentally ready to work for their riders.

                Also appreciate the riders' preferences and quirks. For example, if you can tack up an older horse a few minutes early and handwalk him some to help him warm up before the rider gets on, everyone will benefit.

                Know who your boss is. If you find yourself torn between a rider's request and a trainer's request, figure out which one takes precedence in the particular barn or horse/rider team and tactfully manage the person you can't please right away.

                At shows especially, learn the barn's routine for set up and the "behind the scenes" stuff like mucking, feeding and medicating. The more you can do that without instruction, the happier your boss will be.

                Be good to the other grooms, especially the more experienced ones and those working for other barns at shows-- as at the wash rack or prepping their horses by the ring. You can learn an immense amount from them. Most will happily take a minute to teach you something or help you out if they think you are a good egg or will return the favor.

                Speaking both English and Spanish will help.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • #9
                  At your age, the most important thing is to be willing to learn and do things their way, to listen, to keep your mouth shut and your head down, and stay AWAY from any and all gossip.

                  You will also need to find a way to be completely reliable and on time.
                  They're small hearts.


                  • #10
                    Always show up for work, unless you are really sick or injured.

                    Don't take a position if you aren't sure that you can be there when they need you. As low person on the totem pole, that means you will be the one to work holidays to meet the horses' needs.

                    If you need a particular day off, ask weeks in advance. Though that doesn't mean you will get that day off. You could end up having to choose between the job and your other obligation.

                    Do not get involved "romantically" with anyone that you work with, if you want to be taken seriously. It shows very poor judgement and an unprofessional attitude. And the reputation will make you a questionable employee for years.

                    If you know that you didn't do something well, go back and do it over if at all possible.

                    Ask questions if you aren't sure how to do something or how they want it done. Your boss's way is the right way.

                    If you find ethics lacking there, look for a new job.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by maudie View Post

                      I am sophomore in highschool, and I'm trying to find a stable that would hire me as a part time groom. I can't drive by myself until I'm 16, and then I can only drive to work, school, or emegencies. I would try to work something out so that I could turn around and use my wages to pay for lessons. Is this legal as long as there are two separate transactions?

                      I was also wondering what you would look for in someone who is offering a deal such as the one I listed. The barn I am interested in is a middle of the road show barn who houses a college team I am very interested in.

                      willingness and eager to learn with a tad of savvy round horses


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you,

                        I appreciate the advice How should I go about applying? I think I heard the best way is by word of mouth, but the barn I ride at does not travel to shows.

                        I will be able to drive soon, but only to a place of employment, school, or in an emergency.



                        • #13
                          For me it all starts with a commitment to the horse. I absolutely will not have anyone work with my horses who does not place them above everything else.

                          I will willingly teach a groom everything they need to know if they possess the ability to think horse first.

                          I want someone who honestly wants to be a horseman/woman.

                          I want someone who is proactive, the see it own it type.

                          I want someone who is in tune with the horses, who notices the subtle changes in a horses attitude, and follows up on the observation.

                          I want someone who understands my program is my program, period, and is willing to embrace it, trust me if there is something not working in my program I will be the first to recognize it.

                          I want someone who can see that the hour or more they just spent hand-grazing a horse may be the equine equivalent to winning the mega-millions lottery for a person and enjoys every minute of it simply because they know the horse enjoys every minute of it.

                          I want someone who understands that the job of groom can be the most important job in the business, and that the good ones are so much more than "grooms".