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GoPro – part seventeen: Tips & tricks on lesson learned from the world’s best grooms

Monday, 22 February 2021
Tips & tricks

Over the last six months, World of Showjumping has asked several highly experienced grooms to share their best tips & tricks. In this last part of our series, we asked the grooms about which important lesson they have learned during their careers. 

Josie Eliasson, long-time groom for Jessica Springsteen:

“My biggest lesson learned through the years is the importance of night check. I used to think that it was just another feeding time and to see if they have enough water etc., but now I really understand the importance of it. There has been countless of times where I have actually found horses – not just my horses – uncomfortable or sick during night check; fevers, stomach aches and three really bad cases of colic which two ended up in the clinic and one with surgery. All three of these colics would have gone too far without the night check.” 

Marlen Schannwell, long-time groom for Bertram Allen:

"Years ago, I groomed a horse that had tendon injuries – we always bandaged, iced daily, poulticed, used therapy magnetic boots, laser, vet wrap for jumping and spa boots, but we could never get it right. Then we decided to retire the horse and stopped with all treatments and the tendons looked perfect after three months in the field. The horse was jumping sound again for a few more years. So always think twice what your horse really needs – back to nature might work better than over-caring."

Denise Moriarty, long-time groom for Kent Farrington:

“Oh, I have many lessons learnt… one of the best ways to learn! 

For grooming: Don’t leave QuickSilver in the tail for too long if you don’t have warm water to rinse it out… Sorry for giving you a purple tail in Geneva, Willow. 

For medical care: Don’t put frozen ice boots on wet legs… It is like that kid in the movie that sticks his tongue to the frozen pole!

For stable management: Change your Regumate syringe often otherwise it will backfire all over you!

Tack tips: Make sure the blue slip pad is far enough forward that it does not slip out onto your horses butt half-way through the course… again, sorry Willow!

Fran Callan, former long-time groom for Jur Vrieling, now working for Jos Verlooy:

“Just remember that you can never stop learning. And remember to always help others. Together we are stronger. Then keep it simple, stay safe and enjoy your horses.”

Heidi Mulari, long-time groom for Steve Guerdat:

“I’ve learned to trust my gut feeling and follow it. For example; at the Europeans at Windsor, Jalisca’s leg didn’t look normal and Steve just wanted to bring her home and give her some time off in the field. Then I followed my gut feeling and organised for her to go to the clinic. They discovered that she had a fractured splint bone and needed surgery. Or the few times I have noticed that the horses weren’t quite as normal and after taking the temperature noticed they had fever or a start of a colic. You have to know your own horses and know what is normal for them.”  

Malin Henlöv, former long-time groom for Peder Fredricson, now working for Evelina Tovek:

“My lesson learned is that we can learn something new every day and that no horse is like the other – so it is extremely important to treat them individually.”

Madeleine Broek, long-time groom for Marc Houtzager:

“I’ve learned a lot by looking at what other people do and to think about how I would like to have it. To take the best from every system.”

Sean Lynch, long-time groom for Daniel Deusser:

“One lesson I learned at the very beginning of my grooming career is that you can never stop learning. Horses are always different, and they will test boundaries – but still we love them no matter what. People are also different and have different ways of doing things, so if your way doesn’t work with one of your horses ask for help. To ask for help doesn’t mean that you’re no good. At the end of the day, we all do the same job whether we are at the Olympics or a national show – there is no separation in this sport and if we understand that this job/sport becomes our life!”


Morgane Tresch, long-time groom for Jeroen Dubbeldam:

“I don’t have a special experience to mention, because every day, every week and at every show I will learn something new. When I’m at the shows, I like to talk with the other grooms about what they use and why or about different ways of doing things. I maybe don’t need the advice right now, but one day I might and one day I also might help someone else who doesn’t know how to handle the situation. I have more experience than the ‘new grooms’, but I have less experience than the ‘old grooms’.

I’m very happy to be where I am today and that I now can work with Tonnie, who has been here for a really long time and knows a lot of things. I’m also thankful for all the help and tips I have gotten from different grooms during the years.

To be a groom is hard work and I do it with all of my heart and always try to do everything as good as possible. If I had to pick one moment that gave me respect for my work it was the show in Rome in 2018 – after the second round of the Nations Cup, where we had one down, my rider walked away, stopped, turned to me and just said ‘I’m sorry’.

Whatever you choose to do, do it with respect and passion. Horses are living animals, they can get scared of something, be chewing the rope, try to bite you or just annoy you – it doesn’t matter! Play with them, make them happy and a bit spoiled and the most important is to treat them with respect and they will respect you. Horses need to trust you and not be scared of you!"

Mel Jobst, long-time groom for Marcus Ehning:



"I must say that over the years, I have daily discovered new things about the horses and how to make life easy going with them. You never stop learning from the horses and from the people around you. I think it is important to try to keep most of it as simple as possible – both for the horses, myself and everyone around me."


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