THP's Groom Elite Program
The Groom Elite
Program is the Texas Horsemen's Partnership's groundbreaking program
consisting of a ten-week course covering 30 topics designed to teach
stable area employees horse handling skills and to insure that they
are competent and knowledgeable in equine care. Each graduate receives
a Certificate of Completion and a "Groom Elite" jacket.
The Groom Elite Program was developed the THP and originally supervised
by former THP Board member Sue O'Hara. The program is now administered
by The Elite Program, Inc. Executive Director, Dr. Reid McClellan.
The program is available to all licensed horsemen at the tracks
where it is conducted.
In the spring of 2001, the THP's Groom Elite
Program came to fruition, holding its first formal classes at Lone
Star Park at Grand Prairie. Under the direction of THP Board member
Susan O'Hara, the ten-week course designed to teach stable area
employees horse handling skills was a smashing success. Taught by
Dr. Doug Householder, the course met with enthusiastic support from
both the horsemen at Lone Star Park and the national racing
On June 12, 2001, the Groom Elite Program graduated its first class
of 35, all having completed the ten-week course and passed a thorough
final examination. Just a few weeks later, Groom Elite 101 was offered
at Sam Houston Race Park, where it also met with positive response.
The Groom Elite Program expanded in 2002, offering the basic Groom
Elite 101 class and a more advanced Groom Elite 201 course. In the
summer of 2002, Colonial Downs became the first track outside of
Texas to offer Groom Elite 101.
Through 2006, Groom Elite 101 was taught over 25 times at 17 tracks
in 12 states and indirectly influenced thousands of grooms, hot
walkers, and exercise riders that attended short courses and observed
one or more Elite Program classes. Classes and all written course
materials are offered in both English and Spanish.
The Texas Horsemen's Partnership, local Texas owners and Texas'
three Class I racetracks provided initial financial and in-kind
support to establish that first class at Lone Star Park. As the
program moved outside the borders of Texas, financial support was
received from national equine organizations and businesses plus
owners and trainers of racehorses in the areas where classes were
Grooms that completed Groom Elite 101 asked for additional training.
Owners, trainers, farm grooms and youth groups asked for similar
opportunities. Development of classes for those groups plus increasing
demand for Groom Elite classes strained the resources of this primarily
In 2005, a full time Executive Director was hired, and The Elite
Program opened an office in Lexington, Kentucky to facilitate formalization
of the complete Elite Program offering. In 2006 The Elite Program
participated in the planning and development of the North American
Racing Academy, a vehicle that furthered The Elite Program’s
mission of providing outstanding equine education at no-cost to
front-line equine care workers and at minimal cost to others.
Our expanded website is available at www.groomelite.com.
To contact us, please call 859-321-4552.