Carl Hester’s Euros groom Lucy Scudamore on self-belief, staying calm in a crisis and why she could ‘feed the entire showground’

  • Carl Hester’s ride for the European Dressage Championships, the 13-year-old stallion Fame, has had big shoes to step into this year as he takes over from En Vogue as Carl’s team horse for this year. And it’s a similar situation for Carl Hester’s groom, Lucy Scudamore – this year she has had to step into the enormous shoes left by Alan Davies, who stepped back from his role as head travelling groom for Carl at the start of this year.

    That’s on top of having a new horse on the yard to become familiar with this year, but luckily for Lucy, Fame is “cool as a cucumber”, and “so easy on the yard and to take away”, and has settled in well at the Europeans, being held on 5-10 September at Riesenbeck, Germany.

    Grooming for the best riders in the world is no mean feat, but Lucy, 26, has learnt from the best in Alan, and was thrown in the deep end when she travelled to her first championship, which was none other than the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, where “everything was magnified”.

    But the extensive and valuable learnings that experience provided have helped her step up and take on even more responsibility this year, following Alan’s retirement.

    “Going to Tokyo was a massive eye opener, and the level of care of the horses for something like that is so much more than you’d even imagine, what with flying and the climate, and everything that could have potentially gone wrong,” says Lucy.

    “But having done that I’ve learnt to trust my own abilities – before Tokyo I didn’t really trust my own judgement.

    “I’m still young and have a lot to learn but the Tokyo experience has helped me believe in myself and now everything seems easier. I’m coming into the Euros feeling prepared and confident in my own ability.”

    ‘Carl should be able to just get on and ride’

    If the riders form the headline at a championship, you could say it’s the grooms who create the detail underneath.

    For Lucy, the main priorities during this week in Riesenbeck is having Fame feeling and looking his best at all times, and ensuring that Carl doesn’t have to think about anything other than getting on board and riding.

    “I want him to just be able to get on and do the job,” says Lucy. “Everything else is for me to worry about.”

    And that’s a long list – from the packing, travelling and stable preparation to the reams of paperwork involved.

    “It’s all taken some time to get my head around, but luckily we have Carl’s fantastic PA, Claudine Bichard, working hard behind the scenes too, and keeping the ship afloat in terms of paperwork,” says Lucy.

    “My packing list was pretty unbelievable – I like to take everything bar the tack room. I always take a ridiculous amount of feed in particular – I could probably feed every horse on the showground! But you never know what might happen.”

    Being prepared for anything, and expecting the unexpected is rule number one for grooms at a major championship like the Europeans. Luckily, Lucy describes herself as a problem solver, and says she’s generally level-headed and resourceful, two crucial qualities for a groom.

    “I’m pretty good under stress, and when everyone else is flapping I can usually find a solution,” she says.

    Championships may come with a side helping of stress for grooms, but they also provide plenty of quality time spent with the horses, and this is what Lucy says she looks forward to the most.

    “I can spend all day with one horse, hand grazing, grooming and all the rest – we never get that one on one time with them at home,” she says

    And what about watching Carl and Fame in action together – is Lucy the watch-through-fingers type?

    “No – I love to watch as much as possible and see everyone,” she says, “It’s the cherry on top at championships, seeing your hard work unfold, and I want to watch every moment of their test. But that doesn’t mean I won’t cry!”

    Carl Hester on groom Lucy Scudamore

    And what does Carl himself have to say about Lucy, and the way in which she’s stepped up to take on new responsibilities this year after Alan stepped back?

    “Lucy’s travelled with me to some major shows now and has been able to learn from the best in the business in Alan.

    “She’s stepped up this year, and has driven to Riesenbeck and organised all the stables herself, for example, but I have a lot of trust in her. She’s a very good all-rounder, very capable and very competent on a horse herself, which is good.

    “Some people are born to do this job, and Lucy is that sort of person.”

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