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9 Types of Groom You DON’T Want to Be!

9 Types of Groom You DON’T Want to Be!

At the moment there are so many blogs and articles discussing the negatives that grooms face, I often wonder if we have the balance right. We are always hearing about the grooms perspective and the horror stories encountered, which undoubtedly do exist and need to be aired. BUT….whilst they need to be addressed properly, mature, reasonable grooms will know there are also stories on the other side of things which can range from funny to annoying, to toe-curlingly bad, and sometimes dangerous in the extreme. The following article exploring some groom stereotypes takes a slightly light-hearted look at the other side of employment within the equine industry, poking a bit of fun here and there but nevertheless, a very serious message is underlying. We all need to remember there are DEFINITELY fabulous grooms, but also some not so fabulous grooms, and I think we all would have to agree we have all come across them at one time or another!

Over to our resident blog writer Becky Parker, groom and mountain biker extraordinaire!

Caroline

 

 


 

9 types of groom you DON’T want to be!

By Becky Parker

 

 

The Grooms List - Dodgy Grooms - Caroline Carter Recruitment

1. THE “NEVER STOPS TALKING” GROOM

Characteristics: While this person is often not actually a bad character, they are not terribly useful to have around, and can be very distracting. Often they have the effect of slowing down everybody around them and encouraging bad habits in younger grooms.

Identification: As described by a fellow groom….

“Ugh! The people who talk for England but lack the capacity to work and talk, so just stand there talking, broom in hand, doing nothing!!!

Any groom worth their salt will know that standing entirely still is, in fact, illegal! These characters are mostly well-meaning but lack the tact to realise when you are busy, in a bad mood,  or that the person whose ear they are now talking off is actually a client/the farrier/the vet and their chosen subject of dialogue is entirely inappropriate.

 

 

2. THE LAZY GROOM

Characteristics: Often can be seen leaning against something, on the phone 24/7, or missing from the yard entirely.

Identification: Often they have a vast array of physical ailments to call upon, gained in action of course ;), which mean they regularly have to be substituted by the increasingly embittered yard junior because their “faceous tendon”, which snapped at the 2000 Olympics is “playing up” AGAIN!

 

 

 

The Grooms List - Dodgy Grooms - Caroline Carter Recruitment3. THE BOLSHY/”BLAGGING” GROOM

AKA – Little Miss know-it-all      

AKA –  The Sullen Smirker

Characteristics: This character is the insufferable smarty pants who always has an answer for everything and won’t be told what to do or how to do it by ANYONE and who knows better than EVERYONE! Should you have the misfortune of trying to explain something to this individual, they will either, watch you with a snide smirk on their face or rudely walk off halfway through assuming they know the rest.

Identification: Easily recognised by their tendency to interrupt any story you are telling with the words “Well, when I worked for such-and-such-famous-person“, or tales of the horse they once jumped a 1.3m class on (note they never mention how well!). This stereotype often has some underlying “blagging” traits, and when someone “pretends” to know what they are doing around horses when they actually don’t – let’s not sugar coat it – someone can get killed!

 

 

4. THE -er- “STRETCHING THE TRUTH” GROOM

Characteristics: Caroline herself has a great example for this one…..

The Grooms List - Dodgy Grooms - Caroline Carter Recruitment

“When I first came across xxxx she was applying for a junior role so she didn’t have a long work history to check, references were mostly non-horsey and entirely non-committal but not alarming in any way. Anyhow, the Groom didn’t show for one of the interviews we had lined up for her. Naturally, we did our best to find out what happened and when she eventually surfaced after 2 weeks of radio silence, she sobbed inconsolably as Nanna Johnson had unexpectedly passed away, and I reassured her best I could. I suggested she take some time out to regroup. Then after 10 months regrouping, full of sympathy for her plight, one of my colleagues put her forward for another job and she did exactly the same thing. When she was eventually tracked down, guess what? Nanna Johnson had passed away again! Not so much sobbing this time but as much consolation from my colleague, as at this point she was unaware of this miracle which we now refer to as Nanna Johnson’s second passing! To my amazement, some years later this particular job seeker applied for a job directly through the website. The employer called in and said a groom had failed to show up, and when she told me the name I said I would follow it up, as by now I had established who it was that had failed to show and the miracle that had occurred a third time! I called the groom (who amazingly answered the phone first time on this occasion) and said “Nanna Johnson?” She hung up, and needless to say we haven’t heard from her since – poor Nanna Johnson, what a time she had!  NB: the name is changed to protect the innocence and reputation of the real Nanna Johnson 😊”

Identification: I find lying (or stretching the truth as Caroline has asked me to call it!) is often the sign of a lazy character too. They can’t be bothered to do the work and so they lie and say a job’s done when it isn’t. This is not only lazy it’s also selfish and often plain dangerous. At best we will all get into trouble for something you’ve not done, at worst a horse escapes, goes hungry or someone gets hurt. A yard is no place for a “truth stretcher”, and, in my opinion, this is one case where being a grass can be the right thing to do!

 

 

The Grooms List - Dodgy Grooms - Caroline Carter Recruitment5. THE WANNABE SUPERSTAR GROOM

AKA – The Drama Queen

Characteristics: Such characters are often of the opinion that they are FAR too good for menial yard chores and should be spending their day solely riding. This is often despite the fact they have only just left college and can barely correctly work the yard schoolmaster. When this plan of theirs is foiled, expect immediate health problems to arise that prevent them from working at all i.e sore back, skin allergies, hay fever, joint issues. The wannabe is an expert drama queen and hypochondriac.

 

Identification: Can usually be spotted at the job interview stage. Here is how to easily recognise a potential wannabe superstar….

  • Appearance – Perfectly straightened hair, fake nails, Gucci handbag, full Pikeur or Ariat outfit and more make up than you would normally wear on a night out in TOWIE.
  • Characteristics – Chauffeured by Mum, giggling, flirting with the male boss, many sightings of said person’s mobile within 5 minutes, exaggerated avoidance of mud.

 

 

The Grooms List - Dodgy Grooms - Caroline Carter Recruitment6. THE “OFF THE WALL” GROOM

Characteristics: Too many variations to list!

Identification: Here are a couple of examples…

“I was once on a call with a prospective groom when after 5 minutes of struggling to hear her I asked why she was talking so quietly? Dead casually she answered “Shhh! I was just reading my horse a bedtime story!”. Needless to say I didn’t invite that candidate for an interview!” – 3* Event Rider

While these sort of shenanigans might be ok in some roles, for an eventing or hunting yard who tend to have a ‘kick on and toughen up’ moral, it’s unlikely to be the sort of behaviour they appreciate.

I once worked with a groom who would drink a 70cl bottle of Vodka every night. She would frequently still be under the influence on the yard the next day and was frankly, a bit ripe, and a liability out exercising the fit fresh horses on the roads. One evening she was so out of it I tried to help her off a stool and she fell flat on her face in the tiled kitchen chipping a tooth!

 

7. THE PUNK ROCKER GROOM

Another true story told to me by Caroline…

I had a groom with excellent references who had been in all her jobs for many years. The perfect candidate in all respects and we love it when we come across individuals like this. However, unbeknown to us she was literally tattooed from neck to foot. In reality, this wouldn’t have stopped me forwarding her for jobs whatsoever, but I would have like to have known so I could pre-empt any reactions to this which might hinder her chances of getting the job.

She went along for an interview to an old-fashioned carriage driving yard, where I think headscarves were still the order of the day! Shortly after her arrival I received a call from the very proper employer, who was at this point crouching in the corner of her tack room, voice shaking and whispering “Caroline I am sooo scared, I think the wrong person has arrived for the interview, she is a punk rocker and I am here on the yard on my own with her!”  A little taken aback, I asked the client whether the person on the yard matched the photo of the person who’s ID we had sent through in advance (this was a head and neck shot from her driving license to verify she was ok to drive the yard lorry, in which she was covered up in a charming Marino wool polo neck jumper). The employer said yes it was, and I then proceeded to talk her down, rather like one of those “999 emergency, how can I help you?” programmes. The groom has now been with the employer for 8 years and they both rub along nicely. I do have to report though, to the best of my knowledge, the employer hasn’t got a tattoo and the groom isn’t sporting a headscarf!”

 

 

8. THE SHY GROOM

Characteristics: There are many reasons why a new person might struggle to come out of their shell and become part of the team. They could be nervous, naturally shy, there may be a language barrier etc. For many young grooms, this is their first time living away from home. It can be an intimidating experience, there’s so much to take in and learn. Often yards are miles away from home and sometimes from civilisation too which many would find isolating.

When I worked in Germany on a private yard helping to produce youngsters my boss and the liveries there would often make me feel very excluded by chattering away in German. This was despite the fact they were all equally fluent in English. I understand I was in their country but in many situations it was inconsiderate and made me feel very lonely. Since then this has made me super aware of the effect this has. When working with foreign grooms we should really make the effort to talk a little slower, ask their opinion and be aware of the fact they are miles from home and would probably appreciate a friendly invite to the pub. A little understanding goes a long way.

Identification: When working with foreign grooms we should really make the effort to talk a little slower, ask their opinion and be aware of the fact they are miles from home and would probably appreciate a friendly invite to the pub. Likewise, when dealing with a young or novice groom be considerate that they are possibly feeling a little overwhelmed and may need a little patience from you. A little understanding goes a long way.

 

 

9. THE TROUBLE MAKING GROOM

AKA – The Gossip

Characteristics and Identification: This delightful character is the yard gossip, who for no conceivable reason seems to enjoy going from person to person passing grievances, insinuating offence where none was intended and just generally causing trouble. Within weeks a calm peaceful yard with a close-knit team can be turned into a seething pot of resentment until it all blows with maximum drama and backlash. Why exactly these people do this is beyond me, I have never been able to understand what they hope to gain as it always comes back to bite them in the end. My only conclusion is that they simply love the drama. Well, the horse world has quite enough of that and one too many of these characters already, no more needed!

 

 

Being a good groom isn’t just about how well you do the job, it’s about your attitudes and how well you interact with other people every day. As discussed in Caroline’s Top Tips for a Successful Job Interview, employers are savvy and a lot of these negative traits can set you back before you’ve even secured a job! If we want to improve standards for grooms, as Caroline says, we must swerve both the dodgy employers AND the dodgy grooms. Even if they do make for some hilarious stories!

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*Package totally negotiable for someone with desired skills, experience & qualifications * Well appointed house available for couples Lovely, long term job for a single person or a working couple. Position (s) suited to experienced and competent person(s) for a position on a family yard with top competition standards and where they are used to competing at the highest levels. This family-run show jumping yard in Warwickshire needs an experienced Groom(s)/Exercise Rider(s) to work alongside other full and part-time staff in caring for 14 stable kept horses – a mix of show jumpers and children’s ponies. All usual duties. Youngstock and retired horses also kept in the field so will need to be used to handling young stock. Two children in the family so must be a child, friendly person. Friendly and fun family. The role includes some all usual yard work home but away at shows too to professional standards. HGV license ideal. Team player essential. Some weekends so flexibility required. On-site accommodation provided (not shared, could be a house for a couple or a flat). Please call Caroline and the Team on 0203 006 5730/07747 686118 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
PLEASE NOTE, FOR THIS VACANCY,  WE WILL ONLY ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FROM JOB SEEKERS WITH: A CURRENT CV ATTACHED TO A CURRENT JOB SEEKER PROFILE AN HGV LICENSE (able to drive a 26t lorry)  *Salary IRO £400/£450+ top, top wage for previous competition grooming experience depending on experience *Own horse and pets welcomed *Partner welcomed This vacancy is a lovely and rare opportunity for an experienced Groom who combines the experience of working on a family yard, with performance horse know how ideally gained within a SJ/jumping environment to work as a competition Groom or would suit someone already experienced in Competition grooming. This family of young riders are very active most weekends and therefore you will need to be prepared to cover this, although some weekends off are available by prior arrangement and exception. You will need to be flexible to work 5.5 sometimes 6 days a week Must be prepared to cover weekends and stay away You will need to be flexible enough to handle an environment where things change regularly as it is a fast-paced, rapidly expanding scenario. You would need to take this in your stride and it would be ideal if you saw this as invigorating and exciting rather than a nuisance! The family have 18 quality jumping horses  (currently managed by 2 FT/ 1pt & the Yard manager/ trainer) and  on a second yard, an assortment of broodmares and young stock, (hopefully destined for a career in SJ/jumping.)  The family consists of non-riding dad who is looking forward to spending more time with his family as part of their journey, mum who is an experienced horsewoman and 3 daughters (aged 12-15 years old) who are very keen indeed. The girls all do BSJ and want to eventually do European tours & be on YR teams. They are the focus of the role and all activities that go on with both yards, will underpin these equestrian dreams. Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
   * Salary starting at £30,000K negotiable upwards plus accommodation depending on experience *Own horse and pets welcomed *Partner welcomed No 1 Experienced Show Jumping Competition Groom required for a vacancy with a very ambitious & competitive family. Good references ESSENTIAL & confidentiality assured. You should be currently working as a Competition Groom on a Show Jumping yard or have done so within the last 2 years. You should be willing to travel home and abroad and experienced driving a 26t+ lorries transporting horses to training and shows. 18 quality jumping horses on the main yard and homebred/ other young stock destined for a career in SJ/jumping all kept in top accommodation to the highest standards. Start date negotiable.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email Caroline @carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
Salary 8.5 Euros/negotiable dependent on experience with no food/accommodation or utilities to pay. You will need some experience grooming competition horses One of the Most Professional SJ yards in the world – Learn your trade with the best and secure your Grooming future with a hands on job. All you need is a passport and an adventurous spirit! Enthusiasm and dedication to work along side the best horses, riders and horse people.This opportunity would be GREAT FUN and a second to none experience which would guarantee your career anywhere you chose in the future both home and abroad. A rare insight into world class horses, world class facilities and a truly remarkable experience for any groom seriously interested in getting to the top of their game. Whilst there are considerable opportunities for advancement and promotion possibilities if you wish to remain in Germany. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
* Negotiable depending on experience but very competitive*Shared accommodation on site(would consider live-out) Experienced stud hand required to work with the rest of the team. This would be during yearling prep initially and then general stud duties after the sales season and is a year-round position, not seasonal. A team approach to typical stud work with associated stud hours ie: sometimes quiet and other times round the clock eg: foaling season. Tractor/lorry driving is welcomed but not essential Mares and foals/young stock/ racehorses all kept and some sales prep required etc. TB experience essential and ideally gained on a thoroughbred stud. Please call Caroline and the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com Please note call Caroline & the Team will be ‘screening’ suitable applicants between 9-2pm . Pls could call us during those times on 0203 006 573. Please make sure your job seeker profile is up to date and that you have a current CV attached. We look forward to speaking with you then about this super opportunity 🙂 C x
Job Description Jumping / Dealing stable We are looking for a jumping rider for our sales stable in the Lewitz. Your mainwork will be riding and a little stable work (feeding) together with your team. Showing young quality horses to our customers, under the saddle or in free jumping, is also one of your tasks.   If necessary you get help from our trainer and you gain a lot of experience in jumping. We offer regulated working hourses ( 8.00-17.00) and  the possibility to get breakfast and lunch at our farm. Our modern equipped accomodations we offer at a reduced rental price.   If you`re a cheerful and nice person, reliable and tidy, able to do a good flat work and you have experience in jumping, than we look forward to you! Minimum Requirements experience in  jumping young horses   Accommodation details You will be offered accommodation (single or double rooms) each equipped with a private shower, and in each house you find a washing machine and a dryer.There is free internet in the rooms. Rooms cost around 190 € per month, including electricity and water, breakfast and lunch around 156 € per month. Of cource, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning. Provide you with translating assistance during the doctor`s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need.   Benefits    
*Salary IRO 1800 euros *All accommodation and food provided *Seasonal position with far reaching CV improving benefits! This world class service station and stud is looking for experienced stud hands for the forthcoming season to be based in Muhlen, Germany. Some prior experience important as some serious unmatched warmblood breeding stock is involved in this operation names such as  Balou du Rouet, whose offspring’s prize money makes millions plus Sandro Hit plus stallions Fürstenball, Vivaldi, Bordeaux, Foundation, Vitalis, Sir Donnerhall I and Diarado were amongst the leading group of all German stallions according to the German FN’s 2016 predicted breeding value statistics. Last year stallions from Mühlen once again dominated the Oldenburg Elite Mare show and of the twelve mares presented, seven of them were daughters of this yard’s stallions, including the winner Candy OLD by Sir Donnerhall I. The list goes on and on and on! 🙂 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com  
**14/7/20 Position under offer. Applications accepted for reserve list  CC *** *IRO £22,500K + accommodation *2 bed house with own garden *Dog, pets and horse welcomed *Partner welcomed     Senior position available at picturesque Hunt Kennels. Year-round position to manage the yard, Groom/Ride and to head a team of 2 other FT workers (in season). Previous Stud Groom did 4 seasons so this is a long term opportunity in a lovely environment with nice people to work with.   Opportunity for sole charge and to make the job what you want it to be (within certain parameters of course as the job is to manage a yard of hunt horses and all that goes with that but it doesn’t have to be a dull job 😉.)   Must have all usual skills, abilities and experience including good levels of turnout skills, ability to work well with others and a license to drive a 7.5t lorry.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
Job Description In 1992, Paul Schockemöhle, a successful businessman and former European Show Jumping Champion, purchased a large site in the expanses of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On no less than 3,000 hectares of land in the heart of the protected landscape of the Lewitz, a centre for modern horse breeding which accommodates 4,000 horses and is unparalleled in Europe has emerged over the years. Around 250 employees look after the well-being of the horses, which are kept in spacious stables and in speciesappropriate herds in the expanses of the Lewitz. The riding stables entrusted with training the horses are three geographically separated farmsteads under a common organisational umbrella. At each of the individual sites, site managers look after the training of the horses with their teams. A jumping horse trained on the Lewitz stud runs through all three stations chronologically. The “Stern-Buchholz” site is outside the gates of the state capital Schwerin. The team headed by Birgit Brandsätter and Paulo Castro here is responsible for breaking in all the horses, as well as for the further training of the dressage horses and the preparation of the colts for licensing.   Accommodation details The stud’s own apartments, modern and practically furnished, give you affordable living space near your place of work and make it easier for you to form and strengthen social relationships even after you finish work. On request, you will be served breakfast and lunch in the stud’s own canteens.   Benefits Of course, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning, provide you with translating assistance during doctor’s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need. We will do everything to make your stay as pleasant as possible for you.  
**23/6/20 Under offer subject to reference checks*** *Salaries negotiable depending on experience IRO £23-£29K pa per person + accommodation. * 1 or 2 bedroom cottage with parking available *Pets welcomed *Own horse considered (but difficult as all boxes currently occupied) *5 day week. This family require a flexible, country-loving, reliable, self-sufficient and proactive couple with good communication skills ready to welcome all guests in a polite and friendly manner. Previous estate management experience essential for a combination of duties. Experienced and knowledgeable horse care also required as a family are not very experienced. There are two children are 10 and 8 years old and they purely ride for leisure, no competition whatsoever at this point but would like some escorted/lead hacks & informal tuition. Odd weekend off by prior arrangement in advance but as family visit most weekends,  they will not be regular occurrences so need to be prepared for weekdays off (2 consecutive days possible) : Outline Job descriptions: Housekeeping/House duties include but are not limited to Cleaning, washing and ironing, food shopping, household provisioning, household maintenance, overseeing contractors. Whenever somebody is in the house; be it, family or guests, the housekeeper will prepare lunch and dinner, (fresh healthy home cooking, lots of fish, vegetables, a variety of salads mainly based on European style dishes). The housekeeper is not required to serve the family however they will be required to clear away after meals and weather permitting some outdoor dining will need to be facilitated. Although the family like to entertain family and friends, most entertaining is informal. For any formal entertaining outside caterers will be available so communication, liaising and management of this will be a feature of the role. Grooming/outdoor duties include but are not limited to: Day to day management and maintenance of the property, yard and grounds which will include the gardens, greenhouse, vegetable garden, lawns and flower beds, (alongside contracted gardeners). Looking after chickens and rabbits & possibly other small animals/pets. Other duties will include general property maintenance, hence good DIY skills would be helpful. Management and maintenance of the estate car to fuel, clean and driving to the local station and airport for family and guests. The highest level of care to be provided for the family’s 4 horses 19-year-old 16HH owners horse who has recently developed allergies 17-year old small horses who need careful footcare and 2 x 10-year-old horses just short of 16HH and one has just recently had a bout of laminitis. Confident management and lightweight rider needed. All normal grooming duties will be required to a good standard ie: Feeding and watering, all aspects of yard work duties including; hay, muck out, turn out, groom, clip and bandage, recognising and acting on all animal ailments, cleaning the chicken coops/rabbit hutches etc. Keeping the yard, tack room and equipment immaculate at all times. Exercising the horses daily in menage or beautiful woodland which surrounds the property. Experience of trailer towing ideal. Light gardening, (FT gardener contracted) grounds, yard and property
*Accommodation available   *Competitive salary depending on experience  *Dog welcome *Great opportunity to get a foot in the door of the TB Stud World! This is a fantastic opportunity for a Groom who wishes to gain experience and enter the professional world of the thoroughbred Stud as a Stud Hand on this busy, medium sized, family stud. This operation is ambitious with a close knit professional and friendly team who we know well and who would all recommend. The role includes all normal yard duties, handling of mares, foals, young stock and horses out of training. Previous thoroughbred stud and sales preparation experience a bonus but not essential. Driving licence essential. 🙂 Caroline’s comments:) We have placed several staff with these employers over the years and had great feedback. A professional, well run establishment with a family feel. A great place to develop your career and be part of a small welcoming Team. Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com

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Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
The Stables
Fildyke Road
Meppershall
Bedfordshire
SG17 5LU

caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
0203 006 5730 / 07747 686 118

Registered company number 10657796good site
Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd is registered with the UK Information Commissioner as a data controller with registered number ZA250621

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