Recently Amber S in Year 10 was lucky enough to groom at Badminton 5* International Horse Trials. Amber had a fantastic time and has done a write up about her experience at the event. Amber said: ‘Badminton 5* is one of only six 5* in the world, 4 of which are in Europe and two here in England. The horse trials consisted of a trot up on Wednesday evening, followed by two days of dressage where riders try to receive the lowest possible score. Saturday then brings thousands through the small village to watch the enormous cross country and then closed on the Sunday with a final trot up in the morning and showjumping for the rest of the day. The overall winner is the one with the lowest overall score at the end of all three elements. The BBC broadcasts the whole event live, with Clare Balding regularly behind the scenes interviewing riders around the stable yards with grooms having to work around large TV crews stationed outside stables.
For the week I groomed for my Aunty Louise Harwood and her ride Balladeer Miller Man, this was Louise’s 10th visit to Badminton and her 7th completion. Miller completed his first 5* at Burghley last September with a beautiful clear across the country and just the one down showjumping. With an ever-improving dressage score, he looks to be a strong horse for the future.
My job, as the groomer, is to look after the horse day to day generally, but also to keep him clean and make sure he is well presented each day for the competition. On a normal day I wake up at 6:30am but some morning I had to wake up at 5:00am so I could plait and clean Miller in time for the 8am trot up. I spent most of my day at the stables, and at least two hours grazing Miller in hand each day, just outside the historic house; sometimes not getting back to the lorry until ten o’clock at night to eat and go to sleep before another early get up. As a young groomer, I learnt so much from other top grooms in the stable, some of whom have travelled to the Olympics and WEG and have many years experience. You also pick up lots from the riders while walking the cross country course and through conversations with them.’