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That Special Bond – with Kirsty Pascoe: “As a groom, it is your responsibility to know your horses so you can do what is best for them”

Tuesday, 08 February 2022
That Special Bond

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "I spent a lot of time with him last year, with the Olympics in Tokyo, so I really got to know him and he actually got to know me properly – so now I think he sees me a little bit differently," Kirsty Pascoe tells about Quel Homme de Hus. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

We continue our popular series “That Special Bond” with Kirsty Pascoe, who for the past two years has been grooming for Jerome Guery. While Kirsty finds it easier to get along with the stallions rather than the mares, it was a self-insight moment that gave her a new favourite and a really special bond.

 

The special one

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "When you give the horses as much attention as I give him and they give it back to you like he does in the ring, it is always a nice feeling,” Kirsty Pascoe tells about Eras Ste Hermelle. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“There are obviously quite a few special ones, but if I have to choose one it would definitely be Eras Ste Hermelle,” Kirsty says. “We get along really well and for me he is very special although I know that he has been difficult with his previous grooms. Eras arrived just a week before I started working at Jerome’s, so he has basically been my horse since I began there. I’m always very careful around him though, because he can be a proper stallion. When I arrive at a show, I have to make sure to check what the stable is like before I take him out of the truck. As long as I watch out and make sure there are no opportunities for his stallion side to come out, he is a really nice horse. Eras is very easy to handle, very sweet, likes attention and always fights in the ring. When you give the horses as much attention as I give him and they give it back to you like he does in the ring, it is always a nice feeling.”

“Then I obviously have to mention Quel Homme de Hus,” Kirsty says.

He is more difficult to have a real bond with, because he is very self confident and you almost feel like he doesn’t need you and doesn’t care if you are there or not – he is just super-easy with everyone.

"However, I spent a lot of time with him last year, with the Olympics in Tokyo, so I really got to know him and he actually got to know me properly – so now I think he sees me a little bit differently. It has been nice to see that we finally created a bond, but it took quite some time. I needed a year to connect at least a little bit with him,” Kirsty says.

“I could continue to talk about the special ones, because we have a lot of them in the stable and all of them have their own characters. I do prefer stallions though, but I don’t know why. I definitely have more trouble to get a real bond with a mare,” Kirsty smiles.  

Missing the most

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for WoSJ. Bertram Allen with GK Casper. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I miss GK Casper from the time when I worked for Bertram Allen. I didn’t work so long with him, but I really liked him. He was always kind of naughty and annoyed everyone else,” Kirsty laughs. 

Hardest to get to know

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "You can’t work with horses you don’t like, you have to work around it and get to understand them. So, I approached Great Britain in a completely different way and actually started to understand him quite quickly. Now I really love him; he is one of my favourites,” Kirsty Pascoe tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“That is definitely Great Britain V. I really like him now and he could actually also go into the special one-category.  But I have to say that in the beginning it was really difficult to get to know him; I didn’t understand him at all. And to be honest, I didn’t want to understand him because I just felt as I didn’t like him,” Kirsty tells.

Then at one point – it was at a show in St. Tropez – I told myself that it is not the horse, it is you.

"You can’t work with horses you don’t like, you have to work around it and get to understand them. So, I approached Great Britain in a completely different way and actually started to understand him quite quickly. Now I really love him; he is one of my favourites,” Kirsty tells.

“If a horse goes on your nerves you have to question yourself, because it is not the horses’ fault,” Kirsty says. “All horses are different and obviously you will get on better with some than others, but you have to work around it so you get along with all of them – no matter if you like them or not. As a groom it is better to take the time to understand them and work the way each horse likes it, even if it is not the way you normally do it with other horses."

It is our job to understand the horses and work with them, not against them.

“I have always tried to work like that but I didn’t really manage to and that day in St. Tropez I just understood that I was definitely doing something wrong,” Kirsty smiles. “So, I said to myself: ‘Stop, and do everything completely different from how you normally do it and make it work. As a groom, it is your responsibility to know your horses so you can do what is best for them.’ In the end I realized that he was a completely different horse than I thought he was: He is actually very anxious, but you definitely wouldn’t know because he comes across as quite confident. However, on the inside he is not and he needs a lot of reassurance. He needs attention, he needs cuddles, and he needs that you look after him a lot. Whereas in the beginning I thought that he was spooking at things just because he wanted to play around, I understood that he actually spooks because he gets really stressed."

So, Great Britain went from being a horse that I really didn’t like to a horse that I love, just because I changed the way I work with him – he didn’t change, but I did!

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping



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