Career profile: driving groom

  • Zoe Morgan talks about how she got started as a groom on the horse driving trials circuit

    Zoe Morgan, 32, is one of the most experienced grooms on the driving trials circuit and has worked with many top international drivers.

    Her first job as a driving groom was working with Karen Bassett’s team at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Hague, where Karen was representing Britain.

    “My first introduction to driving trials – and my first show, was the World Equestrian Games! It was a huge experience and afterwards I was hooked.”


    Her parents managed the famous Muschamp Stud for Walter Lorch, and Zoe grew up around horses in Buckinghamshire.

    “Mum and Dad say I could ride before I could walk,” says Zoe. “My first pony was a Welsh Mountain pony called Squint and we did all the usual Pony Club activities.

    After completing O’ levels, Zoe started work as a full-time groom, then decided to take a break from horses and worked as a holiday rep in Spain.

    On frequent visits home, Zoe enjoyed helping out at the Muschamp Stud where Karen Bassettwas training Walter Lorch’s Trakehners. When Karen was in urgent need of an experienced groom, she knew who to call.

    A steep learning curve

    I had to learn fast,” recalls Zoe. “I was working withMandy Brown, Karen’s full-time groom, and we got on really well. I learnt a lot from her.”

    “It has to be one of the toughest jobs in equestrian sport at competitions, with four horses to be turned out. There’s a lot more involved than just remembering a saddle and bridle.

    “The great thing about driving is it’s all about teamwork. The drivers can’t do it without the grooms. The scene is friendly and the grooms are made to feel part of the event.”

    Zoe has been to four World Championships and helped at the 1998 World Equestrian Games.

    “I picked up so much watching Karen and have learnt to drive singles, pairs and even a four-in-hand myself. Once you’ve had a go, driving is very addictive,” she says.

    Zoe is now a business partner with up-and-coming team driver Wilf Bowman-Ripley, training and schooling other people’s horses, as well as buying and selling carriages.

    Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (15 August), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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