The grooms at the grassroots level are just as important as the high-level grooms. And we applaud all fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends, neighbors, nieces, and nephews who serve as grooms, drivers, food providers, and emotional support for many amateur riders.
In the weeks leading up to the Molecaten Equestrian Day in Hattem, the Netherlands, the organization called on the participating riders to nominate their grooms for a special recognition. In an email, the riders had to tell the organization why their groom deserved to be put in the spotlight, and among the many entries were some beautiful stories of teamwork, respect, and appreciation. On the day of the event, Saturday, October 14, these grooms have been put in the spotlight. We highlight a few of the moving stories below.
Jaco de Bruin
Renske de Bruin nominated her dad and groom Jaco de Bruin, who always joins her to the horse shows, national and international. “For my dad, nothing is too much,” said Renske. “Rain or shine, he is always there for me. He doesn’t mind if it rains, if it’s hot, or if the horse show is far away. Long days or even entire weekends sleeping in a tent; he supports me and my horse at the horse shows. My parents moved to a place where we can keep the horses at home this year, so they have been under our own management since May this year. A long-cherished dream has come true.”
Marit Louwerse nominated her groom and mother, Willemien Louwerse-Koerhuis, for the groom’s recognition. “My mom goes with me to every eventing competition, regardless of the weather. She lives far away but happily gets into the car to drive to all the horse shows and then groom. But it’s much more than grooming. She also ensures that everything runs smoothly at home. She takes care of the horses, dogs, husband, son, daughter, and everyone who comes for a visit. In short, Willemien is a very versatile and indispensable groom who deserves the spotlight,” said Marit.
Pamela in ‘t Veld wanted to put her groom Benthe Vermeulen in the spotlight. “In addition to being a very good friend, Benthe is my source of support during the competitions,” said Pamela. “We have known each other for 15 years and met because of the sport. Unfortunately, Benthe can no longer compete herself due to several nasty accidents. She can no longer ride pain-free. Despite her limitations, she travels 1.5 hours the day before the competition to help me prepare everything. On the day of the horse show, she ensures that I receive mental support, cheers me up when I’m dreading something, and, while riding her bike with her braces on, she coaches me through the course. Because of Benthe, I can focus on the course and my riding. She makes sure my horse gets the best care, and at the finish, she is waiting with a drink for me and a bucket of water with a sponge for my horse. A friend/coach/groom like Benthe deserves the spotlight. She is a rider through and through, and despite her sadness that she can no longer start herself, she has not lost the pleasure of going along.”
Eric van de Rakt
Wendy van Heumen and Gerdina Gossink nominated Eric van de Rakt, their long-time groom. “We have such a fantastic groom,” Wendy and Gerdina wrote. “For 30 years, Eric always accompanies us when we have jumping and eventing lessons, regardless of which part of the Netherlands or Belgium they are in. He also joins us to almost all competitions, from jumping and eventing to dressage competitions. He drives with us across the country in all weather conditions to practice our hobby. He walks the courses with us, gives tips when we are riding, reads us the dressage test, tacks up our horses, puts the screws in, packs the truck before a competition, and films the various competition parts; nothing is too much for Eric. So this is a great opportunity to put him in the spotlight and thank him for everything he does!”
Go to https://molecatenruiterdag.nl to learn more about the gorgeous event in the forest of the small town of Hattem.
HorseGrooms is a platform of resources, education, and support for grooms by grooms. This is an online community, hub of resources, and spotlight of industry highlights born out of love for the horse and love for the sport. But our mission goes beyond simply providing resources and creating content.
Our goal is to create a space to keep horsemanship alive; for grooms to support and educate each other; and to help advance the craft of grooming. HorseGrooms is dedicated to ambitious grooms everywhere.