Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

I'm A Groom; It's What I Do - Nicole Zemsta

Laur's note:
Cedar Run was a blast, but pretty early in the day I realized how very different my day was from Nicole's -- so I asked if she'd be interested in being a guest author for the blog :) hahaha she sent me this w/ permission to edit as I saw fit, but I asked for her view so her view is being provided in full -- even the parts that clearly demonstrate my incompetent side! hahaha I haven't laughed so hard as I did reading this in a long time... Well except maybe when we were *actually* there. Maybe you had to be there? I don't know - you tell me!


I'm A Groom; It's What I Do

A saying, a mantra, a code of conduct, but mostly just the answer to the question Why? Why did you get up before the night should be over (I AM in university, mind you) to spend all day standing with a horse that is not yours to not compete in a show that you could have ridden in yourself? Why were you able to remember the little things the rider didn't but should be able to remember, like putting fly spray on the horse? Why do you so patiently oblige my horse as she recruits you on her quest to find the perfect patch of clover? Why were you able to take all those pictures at the right time/angle and still be waiting for me when I finished the course to take my horse from me as we walk back to the trailers? Why were you able to make the rainbow transform into a burger and make the rain stop long enough for the windshield wipers to get their temper tantrum under control and us to get our "Super" dinner back to the beast?

I'm a groom and really that's just what I do. Although that last one is only able to occur with a magical combination of no sleep, a long day, and an empty stomach :P

Every eventer knows the general itinerary of a horse show. Firstly, arrive (sometimes stupid early) and get your package to learn your identity for the day. But did you know that the freshness of grass changes throughout the day, and the moment you arrive on site is the moment to assess every bloody blade within the vacinity of the trailer? Well your horse does, and so does the faithful groom attached to her at this point.

Of the many titles that are encompassed by "SuperGroom": groom, show mom, photographer, afternoon entertainer (for both rider AND horse :P) I would say that 'Official Time Keeper' is one of the most important. The start times for Necessary Torture, Thank God It Doesn't Have to Look Pretty, and Why We Event At All (aka Dressage, Stadium and XC) are all memorized and a good groom will have an eye for the approximate amount time before the start time the horse should begin to be tacked up, to allow enough time for the rider to get herself ready, as well as any emergency bathroom breaks or detours around the scary invisible monsters on the way to the warm-up ring.
Cedar Peaks with Sienna and Lauren (note the proper etiquette to address the horse first ;) ) was a brilliant HT day as always. I was more than happy to take lots of pictures, film a dressage test, set fences in warm-up, walk a course for a "Footing Update", and baby-sit Miss Si in-between phases. Why was Laur happy when she finished XC? Well because she had a brilliant run. How did I know before she told me? It may have something to do with me being able to hear "Good Girl!!" from ACROSS the field :P Super proud of my "little sister" and her superstar pony, it was a good competition for all...

That ended at noon. But wait, didn't we leave after 4pm? Ah yes... well in keeping theme with past posts, the short version goes something like this: rain-no rain-rain-no rain, socializing photo shoots, awake naps, Murray, an unlucky war, windshield wipers with attitude, a fat burger-shaped rainbow, and something about me being responsible for everything. Hmm... that doesn't make much sense, does it? Yeah well neither does the long version so brace yourself.

The weather was having issues with mood swings all day. Once the sun decided it was ok to wake up the morning was actually quite pleasant. Somewhere inbetween dressage and stadium, however, dark clouds started creeping and like any person who has to be outside all day should, I glared at them menacingly and gave them the best "Don't Even Think About It" face I could manage. Which apparently made them upset as they started to cry :-/ oops. Rain splattered glasses and a quick apology later, we made our peace for the time being and the sun came back to join the party.

You know what one of the best parts of having a groom to watch your horse is? The ability to get other things done while they go off galavanting. You know what one of the best parts about going off galavanting with the horse you're grooming? The ability to go back to the rider after she's finished what she needed to do and say, "Guess what you just missed out on!" :-). I've never been approached by so many random people nor had my picture taken so many times by people I don't know before in one afternoon. Is anyone surprised that Superstar Princess Pony is a social diva? From "What's her background? How old is she?" to "What do you call that colour?" to "Can I take my picture with her?" to "Goo! Goo! Gah!" (Oh ya, Si made friends with a baby! :D Now while *I* would not be a fan of being poked and proded, Si didn't seem to mind the strande affection she was receiving from this tiny blue-eyed bundle of joy who was oh-so-happy to meet her) we met lots of new people.

With thunderstorms looming in every direction we decided to stay close to Murray. Who's Murray? Well that would be the newest addition to our beloved family of "Uhh....What?" people, creatures, technology, and other various inanimate objects. At some point throughout the day the trailer found itself a McDonald's nametag: MurrayK. If ever I doubted that our inanimate objects try to tell us things, my sincerest apologies Murray. So now with the nametag pinned to some random wire hanging in the trailer (isn't that just a picture perfect safety image?) forever more will the Beast be towing Murray.

A couple hours later and STILL waiting for ribbons to be distributed, Sienna and I are assessing the grass situation once again. No longer in the rush of the show and therefore ready for a serious nap, I thank Si for not only being perfect resting height, but also liking me enough to allow me to lean pretty much on top of her while she grazes (sorry Laur, her and I have a connection like that apparently :P) Unfortunately the weather got cranky again and Laur arrived in time to get Si on the trailer. So NOW what do we do? Play cards of course!! Right! *palm to forhead* Duh!.... Uh wait a minute? You keep a deck of cards in your tack box? You see folks, while a normal and fully rested person might be skeptical at this random activity in the back of a horse trailer, I, with little rest and mostly because I've been friends with Laur for so long, instead smile, sit down on the dry side of my wooden block, and ask what we're playing. War: a game based solely on luck, requiring no skill nor strategy whatsoever = perfect. *Warning*: While playing a game based only on luck, any rules you make-up in trying to benefit yourself will inevitably back-fire and cause you to lose.

What's that? The ribbons are ready? I'd give them a standing ovation for their efficiency were my legs not tired from standing around *waiting* all freakin' day :P Anyways we're finally off and the only thing on the mind is the stomach that won't shut up, "feed me...feed me NOW" Did you know that when the weather is having a happy moment it makes a really pretty rainbow? Did you also know that when hungry your stomach doesn't care, and if you look hard enough that rainbow strangely resembles a burger? Hmm, interesting how that works...

I managed to make the rain stop long enough for us to get our food back to the beast without getting drenched... What? That tired and that hungry, for all I know I DID do that, along with negotiating the windshield wipers and various other perfectly reasonable and realistic events. Don't look at me like that, it's not my fault YOU didn't do it. It's really not hard, trust me when I say it's as if you don't have to do anything at all ;P

All in all it was a good day, a long and interesting day, but good. Yes, first and foremost I am there to help, that's what I'm supposed to be there for, but often small details are overlooked in my "supergroom assisstance". I feel it necessary to state that job or not, I thoroughly enjoy helping Lauren out, and I always have a lot of fun, not to mention the day is always filled with tons of laughter. But hey, I'm a groom; it's what I do :-)



what a brillant piece of writing :) you are very talented. it's so neat to read two such different takes of the same day!!



I total agree with Jen!!!!!!!!!



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