THE GROOMS
 
One day when I am wealthy (something I doubt will happen while I ride horses) I shall have a real groom!
 
The sort, like Karen Hughes, who groomed for Andrew Hoy when I was based with him many years ago in England. The sort who keeps the horses, gear, truck, stables etc absolutely immaculate. Has the horses ready at an agreed time and Andrew used to rock up down at the stables hop on the first and then just keep coming back for the next!
 
Sounds great to me, but there seems to be a problem. Firstly I can’t afford it and then there are the other problems, or is that problem… called me.
 
I have had 3 working pupils in the last about 6 years. Super young people every one of them.
 
Firstly there was Tenille Porter. A 20 year old from Victoria. Rang me up to see if she could come for a week or so. Tin stayed a year and didn’t we have some fun.
 
Tin lived as a member of the family but had a caravan to sleep in. A very old caravan I must say but as it was in the carport she never got wet.
 
The Johnson family rapidly discovered Tin was also happy to bog in around the farm which was a great help. She became very good at stock work. Then much to our delight Tin decided to go to Uni and is now doing her masters in Psychology. In fact she is currently doing research through La Trobe uni and has an online survey she would love any eventers out there to do.
 
I realised as we walked into the stables after a hard day in the sheep yards my goal of having a Karen was not going to work as I jokingly said to Tin. “gosh I always thought when I had a groom all my gear would be cleaned each day”  Tin looked at me grinned and just said “at what stage should I have stopped drafting sheep?” Mmmm point taken.
 
After Tin there was Ben Leahy
 
Ben had just finished school so again was coming for a year. Only problem this time was I broke my pelvis. So no getting Ben to saddle one up for me. Once I was allowed to I used to sit in a special box by the dressage arena and wait for Ben to turn up with the next one. The box rapidly became the witches box!


 
Ben has now moved on to England where he is eventing with his own horse now.
 
Meanwhile amongst all this there is a very great friend of ours called Rebecca Blyth who would come to comps with me to help groom and drive.
 
Bec and her husband Jeff own a large cattle farm about 20k from home. Bec is one of the most capable people I know and also one of the most fun.
 
Bec and I have had plans for quite some time for her to come and groom for me at a major championship. WEG this year was on the cards. Then Bec broke her hand. End of that plan. However a disaster for one person can be a win for someone else.
 
In this case the winner is George or Georga Brennan.
 
George is from Tasmania. As she says they are getting good at plastic surgery down there now, you cant even see the mark where they removed her second head (apologies to any non Australians reading this that is a very Australian joke)  
 
George had been having lessons off me in Tassie since 2008. I liked George and her whole family so at the end on 2012 when she finished school I offered her the working pupil spot.
 
George jumped at it and is now on her second year with us. Again I have failed dismally in getting a Karen style groom but George has so taken to farming she is going to uni next year to study it!
 
I am at the moment a little concerned George has a Karen type groom in me as today I only had 2 to ride while George had 4. It seems I was saddling hers up. Perhaps that was because I needed to get her shifting sheep quicker for me.
 
I am some times asked when I am going to retire but according to Bec and George this is not an option. Apparently as Bec cannot come to WEG I am taking her to the Rio Olympics to groom there. My parents keep suggesting it would be cheaper if I just took Bec and we went as spectators. They also think it would be less stressful. Bec however doesn’t think it would be half as much fun!