Career profile: Western groom

  • Chrissy Mayhew has been competing in reining for 12 years after being introduced to Western riding by a friend with Quarter Horses.

    Grooming for her husband Bob and his stallion Fast Draw Peppy, Chrissy had to prepare the horse for the Games and the climate. He was put on a course of electrolytes prior to and during the event, and was well rugged up before it.

    “The horse is from California anyway, so the temperature would not have been too much of a shock for him,” says Chrissy.

    Chrissy travelled Peppy to Jerez by road and let him off the lorry to graze every time she made a stop.

    “One of my main worries was how he would travel, but he was a dream,” says Chrissy, who was a winner of the National Reining Horse Society’s Pewter Trophy and the British Reining Horse Association’s high point non-pro award in 2000.

    On arrival in Jerez, Chrissy recalls her surprise at the venue.

    “I had expected the Games to be held in the middle of the countryside and not in a big city – I had to travel everywhere by bike.”

    The British reining team was stabled at Spain’s National Stud, and the weather was unkind on some days, with heavy downpours.

    “We were luckier than the show jumpers,” says Chrissy. “They were flooded out.”

    At the competition, Chrissy became more nervous watching Bob compete than when she competes herself.

    She says: “It was also slightly frustrating being a groom – we weren’t even allowed to sit on the horses to cool them off, but that’s FEI rules!”

    This was the first time reining has been included at WEG so it made the occasion all the more special for Chrissy.

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