Salute to Grooms

"What would any driver do without their trusty offsiders.........their grooms!!!

On this page we salute grooms everywhere!!"




(US = groom/navigator)


1.. All navigators have equal or greater status than drivers and are to be considered part of a team rather than a bag of 'SAND'.

2.. At the pre vet check, drivers must show their horses. The navigators

may hold extra horses or ponies.

3.. Navigators do NOT clean harness or vehicles, however, they 'may'

assist in brushing horses.

4.. The navigator does not need to memorize hazards........that's the "DRIVER'S job", but may track km or time on course if they have the time.

They are not required, however, to walk any part of the course.

5.. The navigator is responsible only for the back two wheels

of a four wheel vehicle.

In a two wheel vehicle, the navigator merely accompanies the driver

and leans when they do.

6.. Drivers may NEVER hit a navigator with the whip;

either on purpose or by accident.

7.. At an event, members may meet and select an 'event shop steward'

to represent and stand with them should a driver prove difficult.

8.. Navigators must be paid. This can be a hug, drink, meal, cash

or even a heartfelt thank you!

9.. Refreshments must be offered to navigators on a regular basis.

Amendment #1
As there are some Gator Union members that are also drivers, their membership

privileges, obviously, must be curtailed somewhat. They do not have any

voting rights, nor can they serve as an event shop steward.

Amendment #2
As navigators are an especially independent and capable lot, it is to be noted

that all the above rules are only to protect them from over use and abuse.

Any navigator may certainly do any of the above
described functions should they wish and an equitable arrangement has

been worked out between them and their driver.
(the above may be printed out and laminated to post on the side of the

trailer at events should the 'gator feel it is necessary as a reminder)

from the CDL-Digest (US)


"Without you I'm not okay,
And without you,
I've lost my way,
My hearts stuck,
In second place, ooh,
Without you"


with apologies 

to the Dixie Chicks!

"My grooms are cool thinkers, they get very enthusiastic

and give me precise information.

Women are much more flexible on the Marathon

and can calculate much better than the strong men;

furthermore they often don't lose their head as quickly"


Tjeerd Vlestra from "The Driving Horse and His Schooling"


The Groom

 I have someone who helps me
at each horse show I attend.
I wonder how I'd get along
without them now and then.

Could I do just as well
throughout the day without a smile?
Could I stay quiet when someone
was angry for awhile?

Could I make sure that the stalls were clean
at any time of day?
Could I wipe and clean, keep track of things,
for little or no pay?

I've looked real hard at all the things
these people do for me.
And now I have a different view
from what I used to see.

I see them as the greatest asset
ever put on earth.
I truly think their weight in gold
is what these folks are worth.

Now when I pass through show ring gates
my attitude is new!
The "me" has turned to "we"
and it is their horse showing too!

So I remember to say "Thank You" now,
to compliment and then --
Give a heartfelt hug to a tired soul,
this loyal groom -- my friend.

Ellen Strang

  Note to self & groom.............


RED flags will always be to the RIGHT

  WHITE flags will always be to the LEFT

Remember, red to the right!



"Because the driver has so much to think about

while driving the marathon,

it is a definite advantage to have a reliable groom

who not only knows the rules

but what the driver is thinking."


"In short, the groom should be another pair of eyes

to assist the driver"


"Carriage Driving" John Cowdery


"The important point is that each groom

must know what he is expected to do

in various situations:


where each groom will go when going down steep hills in order to make the brakes more effective;


which  position to take up to help to keep the carriage on four wheels when turning on a slope;


which one will replace a broken trace, and so on."


"Competition Carriage Driving"

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh


Victorian Domestic Servant Wage Scale

Below is information about the British domestic servants in a large manor in 1890, which shows that the wages servants would have made and now corrected for inflation to today's (US) values.

Head Groom or Stable Master
Responsible for running the stables. Positionally he might rank
as upper staff but because he wasn't part of the inside staff
he didn't have their privileges. However, as master of his own
staff he undoubtedly occupied a similar status. Thirty to 50
pounds (US$3,100- US$5,300) a year.

Cared for horses: grooming, saddling, etc. fifteen pounds
(US$1,600) per year.

Stable Boy
Cleaned stables and etc. Six to 12 pounds (US$640-$1,300)
per year depending on age and ability. Many times they
started when they were only 10.

"The groom is a very important person.

It used to be said that

'a coachman was only as good as his man on the ground', and this is probably as true today as it ever was."


"Make the most of carriage driving"

Vivian & Richard Ellis & Joy Claxton