Texas Horsemen's Partnership Launches Groom Elite Program at Lone Star Park

The Texas Horsemen's Partnership has launched a new groom-training program at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie's current meet. Called the "Groom Elite Program," the groundbreaking program is a ten-week course designed to teach stable area employees horse handling skills. It will help increase the availability of quality, trained help in the stable areas of Texas racetracks.

The THP, under the leadership of Susan O'Hara, will administer a course for grooms to insure that they are competent and knowledgeable in equine care. The program is taught by Texas A&M professor Dr. Doug Householder, with Spanish translation by Lone Star Park employee Eddie Rodriguez.

The course is open to all licensed horsemen (grooms, assistant trainers, exercise riders, and even owners or trainers). Upon completion of the classes, all participants will be tested on their knowledge. Those who pass will be awarded a certificate of completion. They will also be given a nice embroidered jacket designating them as a groom elite, have their name placed on a plaque at Lone Star Park, have their name featured on our website, and they will be recognized in a special ceremony at Lone Star Park.

This is another program developed by the THP that is aimed at enriching the quality of lifestyle for folks in our industry. The program should also be a valuable tool for trainers since they will be able to send current employees through the course to upgrade their knowledge and skill levels. Recognizing the importance of developing good help for our Texas trainers, the THP is investing money and time to improve the work skills and knowledge level of those trainer's employees.

Additionally, the Groom Elite Program will be a helpful tool for stable area job seekers. When a groom who has successfully completed the program applies for a job, he will be able to show his certificate of completion, letting the trainer know that he has the basic skills needed for the job and a little bit more. As a result, trainers will be able to hire new help with increased confidence.

The Groom Elite Program will also be offered during the Sam Houston Race Park summer Quarter Horse meet. The THP's goal is to offer this program at all Texas race meets next year and then expand this type of course to have materials targeted for owners, as well as another course for trainers.

The response to the initial Groom Elite Program at Lone Star Park has been tremendous so far. We had over 50 people attend for the first session, and we expect that number to grow once the word gets out. Some trainers are even offering a cash bonus to their employees that take the course and get certified.

The THP recognizes the importance of educating our membership. We hope to perfect this program with the special collateral teaching material and then offer it to other racing jurisdictions around the country.

We have received a substantial amount of generous help with the printed materials from the American Quarter Horse Association. Additionally, Lone Star Park and Sam Houston Race Park have been extremely helpful and supportive of this endeavor.

At a time when finding, and retaining, quality help is a problem, this program should be very beneficial to Texas horsemen and the Texas racing industry.

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