You might have heard someone say, ‘Oh, I’m a show groom’, but what exactly does that mean? As a freelance show groom for some of the top pony producers in the UK, allow me to explain a little about the role of a show groom.

In reality the title of “show groom” covers a real array of tasks that vary from day to day stable duties, plaiting and prepping for the ring, exercising horses, ferrying them to and from the ring to giving their rider a pep talk, ensuring everyone is in the right place and at the end of the day celebrating or commiserating.

As a show groom, no matter how big or small your role in the team, you play an integral part in the smooth running of a show day. It doesn’t matter whether you are there purely to do stables or you’re plaiting, riding and shuttling ponies, you are equally important in keeping the show on the road.

In my experience everyone has slightly different demands, some days I will go and just hold ponies, tack up and shuttle them between lorry/stables and ring, other days I will do everything from plaiting and prepping for the ring to working ponies in. One of the most important things is to be honest with a new client/employer about your abilities, specialities and expectations in your role and to find out what they will expect of you.

What I can promise you is that being a show groom is not the most glamorous job in the world. It involves very early starts (think 2/3am), late nights, long days, sore feet from walking miles, working outside in all weathers and sometimes dealing with a frustrated/tired/hangry client.

What I can also say with certainty is that you will make friends and connections for life, open up opportunities you never thought possible and give you an arsenal of skills that will benefit you in all aspects of life. I know I have made friends for life and have even been able to visit Australia and spend three months with two fabulous families and their ponies (more about my trip Down Under another time).

Show grooming isn’t a job for everyone, it’s not for the fainthearted but I can safely say, as I enter into my sixth full season as a show groom, that I love my job wholeheartedly. I love watching the ponies and riders head off to the ring looking a million dollars, I love seeing their faces when they come back to the lorry as winners, I love seeing friends old and new every week, I love the bonds we forge because no one else has seen you on the Sunday at HOYS, I love working with beautiful animals and I love the teams I work in.

So in conclusion, don’t enter into your role as a show groom lightly but if you think you can handle all the not so glam aspects then the good bits will one hundred percent outweigh the bad.

Tabby is one of 20/20 Equine’s paired riders. “I discovered 2020 Equine in late 2020 thanks to a friend who was working for Jayne Ross at the time,” she explained. “I was in need of some new plaiting thread so I put an order in and swiftly found a new favourite!” Since then the company has provided products for Tabby’s plaiting and turn out demos, and they have been working together ever since. Take a look at our review of the 20/20 Equine Equine Leather Magic, with a discount for Your Horse readers.

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