Monday, 25 January 2016

Diary of an event groom: Out of season, but no time for winter blues


I bet you’re all wondering what event grooms do over winter, when the excitement of the last event season is behind then and the new season seems so far away? Well, so did I, so I asked Crisy Salmon, groom to top eventer, Sarah Bullimore, to spill the beans having experienced the ‘other side’ of the eventing world and her first winter on the job...brrrr!

Vally enjoying lunch in bed
Well time has flown by since my last blog and we have been keeping busy. While the horses have been enjoying a well-earned rest, we have spent more time around the stables, clearing out, tidying, and organising ready for the impending season.  We now have all the horses back in work, primarily hacking with some schooling. I assume the horses will start jumping again soon and at some point, they’ll go to the gallops. Towards the end of last season, Sarah gave her two 4-year olds their holiday so she could bring them back into work after her last event of 2015 (Pau**** with Reve Du Rouet, Valentino and Lilly Corrine), whilst the ‘top boys’ had their break.

I’m sure Sarah won’t mind me saying that the horses all got quite scruffy over winter, with bushy tails, long manes, whiskers, outgrown clips and even some feathers! I love this because it just shows how much effort is put into making all the horses look their best and ready for competitions. And, after all, when the horses are either living out or in the field at night, there isn’t really any need for them to be looking their best.

We have been hard at work in readiness for them coming back into work. We have spent the last couple of weeks washing, scrubbing, disinfecting, hoovering, pressure washing, painting and repairing all the stables to get the yard looking spotless ready for the horses to be clipped, tidied up and back in at night. The 4-year olds will still live out along with the other youngsters and the mares carrying Lilly’s foals, but I suspect the others won’t go out as much over the next couple of months given the weather. The fields are like mud baths and will become very dangerous when frozen so it may be safer to keep them in.

Elfie (Corouet) 4 y.o. and first bred horse out of Lilly Corinne
The most enjoyable thing for me over the past few months has been learning about the life of an event horse in the winter. Having never owned or worked with event horses before I wanted to see how long they would holiday for, what would be the process of bringing them back into work, and how soon they would start full fittening work again. I  also feel like I have got to know Sarah and the horses much better which has given me more confidence going into the season. It now feels like we are in the final stages of our winter break and I am very excited about the prospect of starting my first full season working here. Whether looking after the yard while Sarah is away competing, or going with her to events, it is a great feeling to be part of the team, so bring on 2016!

Kathryn White is owner and director of Cathean Ltd Medical and Copy Writing Services. She is a published medical, copy and equestrian writer with a passion for creating compelling text in collaboration with her clients. Her customers include pharmaceutical, healthcare and equestrian businesses across the world.