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When owning, training, riding, and showing horses, there is a certain look” to which one aspires. World-class turnout”a horse in peak condition, perfectly coiffed and luminous with health, outfitted with gleaming and well-fit tack appropriate for his sportcan take your breath away. And while it can certainly play a significant role in a competitive rider’s success, it is just as appealing to have any horse groomed to the nines,” whether he’s headed for an afternoon lesson or just out on the trail.
Achieving this superior look is not just about clean tack, shiny brass, spotless stockings, or perfect braids. The most important steps are in the day-to-day nitty-gritty of grooming and caring for the horse: noticing something not-quite-right” about the way the horse looks or moves before it becomes something wrong”; brushing and combing and trimming a little every day so the horse’s skin and coat remain healthy; knowing how to prepare a horse properly for training, and how to cool him down afterward. Now, two of the best professional grooms in the business share their trade secrets, with over 1200 color photographs accompanying the ultimate modern-day guide for all riders who want their horses to look and feel their best.
Cat Hill grew up in upstate New York on a working farm. Her first clear memory is of the day her parents got her a pony for her fifth birthday. She grew up on that pony, who was followed by a series of Arabian show horses. In college, she started riding show hunters through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Team at the University of Geneseo. After receiving her degree, she followed her love of horses to Ireland. Upon returning to the States, Cat spent time as a working student for a top Grand Prix Dressage Rider, a winter working the Winter Equestrian Festival for a Grand Prix Showjumping rider, and moved on to manage a AA Hunter barn. More recently she began freelancing as a groom in every discipline. Throughout the years she has worked at almost every type of competition, from the local fair to the Pan American Games.
Emma Ford originated from North Devon England and was brought up in the hunt field with her dad as Master of the Foxhounds. Emma was raised surrounded by horses. She grew up in the Pony Club system, receiving her B” designation and culminating with jumping at the Horse of the Year Show in 1991. After completing her BS at the University of Wales she moved to the United States to follow her passion with horses. She has groomed at almost every four-star event in the world, and has been a member of the U.S. Eventing Team at multiple Olympic, World, and Pan American Games. Throughout the years, in addition to eventing, Emma has had the opportunity to turn horses out at many upper level show-jumping competitions including the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington Florida as well as work for a promising young dressage rider at many upper level dressage shows.
Jessica Dailey is the owner of Jess Lynn Photography, located in the picturesque Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. Her work includes commercial, event, landscape, and portrait photography.