While the spotlight often shines on the riders, there's another equally important role behind each successful equestrian: a dedicated groom. These committed individuals play a crucial role in the care and conditioning of horses, ensuring they're at their peak for every outing. Enter Josie Eliasson, one of the top-tier grooms in the international showjumping circuit. This Swedish-native veteran has been with elite U.S. show jumper and Olympic silver medalist Jessica Springsteen for the past eight years and has a wealth of unique insights to share.

Laying the Foundation

When she was younger, Josie's passion for horses led her to a life in the stables. After realizing her knack for grooming horses, she took her commitment to a professional level. She initially started her journey in Switzerland, working with established equestrians like Romain Duguet.

Josie reveals her most special moments come from working with Jessica's Olympic Games horse, Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve. Add in the lovable Hungry Heart and a couple of promising young horses, and it’s clear why Josie finds such satisfaction in her work.

Evolving with the Game

Josie stresses the importance of continuous learning in the profession. She believes that every person has their unique systems and techniques that could add to a groom's skills. When the sport continually evolves, those who want to succeed must adapt and grow.

The Big Matches and Beyond

In addition to the big championships, Josie attends some of the major shows worldwide, including the Rolex Grand Slam. She cites CHI Geneva as her favorite indoor show, acknowledging the Grand Slam's transformative impact on the sport and its ability to attract a wider audience to equestrian events.

Challenges and Advice for Aspiring Grooms

The job of a groom is not without its challenges. However, Josie believes that the hard work pays off when grooms find the right place to work. "Do not be afraid," she encourages, "though it's scary to try something new and make a big change in your life, it's essential to find the right place for you."

A good groom, according to Josie, should know and understand their horses to pick up on small signs of discomfort or illness early on. It's about building up this relationship to ensure the horse's wellbeing and, by extension, its performance.

Moving the Industry Forward

Understanding the challenges that groom professionals face, Josie has created Yeehaw, an online platform that connects grooms to riders. The platform aims not only to aid job matching within the industry but to improve industry standards for grooms. By doing so, she hopes to foster better working conditions and ensure grooms continually find joy and fulfillment in their career.

Our hats off to groom professionals like Josie, whose committed work significantly contributes to the success and growth of the equestrian sector. Their experiences and the advice they share serve as an invaluable resource for those considering a career in grooming. After all, a well-cared-for horse is a successful horse.

Reference: Horse & Hound, "Travelling the world with elite rider Jessica Springsteen: exclusive insight from groom Josie Eliasson."