Show jumping grooms

    Grooming for: Nick Skelton and Arko (Archie)
    Background: worked in various yards, including with a stunt rider, before he began grooming for Nick 19 years ago.

    Previous international experience: travelled across the world with Nick for many years – including trips to Seoul and Barcelona – but stopped seven years ago after his children were born. He’s currently filling in.

    Preparation: “We work on keeping the horse in form, especially with Arko, who needs to be kept fit.

    “This year, we’ve been away to Cannes and other competitions where it’s quite hot, and we’ll be using electrolytes and plenty of pipe-openers to keep him fresh.”

    Hopes and fears: “The Olympics won’t be anything new for me, but they’ll be exciting.

    “I think there’ll be a bit more pressure on Nick this year – everybody who’s seen the horse abroad thinks he’s got a chance of being in the first three.”

    BABS WENZL, 28
    Grooming for: Robert Smith and Mr Springfield (Jimmy)
    Background: groomed part-time in Austria before starting work for Robert five years ago.

    Previous international experience: has accompanied Robert to all his major competitions over the past three years.

    Preparation: “We only found out we were going on 21 June, so we haven’t had much time to think about it.

    “We’ll probably work on the horse’s fitness and do galloping work to get him ready for the heat.”

    Hopes and fears: “I’m excited about going. I’m expecting it to be very different – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But there might be more pressure competing as individuals than as part of a team.”

    Join NAGS

    Membership of NAGS is free to all bona fide grooms and students. Benefits include: Horse & Hound subscription at £1 per copy, £3 discount voucher on a sack of Blue Chip Dynamic, 10% discount on Splash Equestrian equipment and clothing, no P&P charges from Equestrian Vision mail order and eligibility for NAGS-only competitions and offers.

    If you are interested in becoming a member, write to: NAGS, Room 2018, Kings Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LS (tel: 020 7261 6993), e-mail: nags@ipcmedia.com , or click here to download an application form in PDF format.

    And remember, the club is open to all students, not just those studying for an equine qualification.

  • This article first appeared in H&H (8 July)
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