Reed Palmer Photos
Groom Elite Program Begins at Sam Houston

The Texas Horsemen's Partnership began its groom-training program at Sam Houston Race Park for the American Quarter Horse meet. A group of 24 horsemen turned out for the first class, which was held this past Tuesday, July 3. Called the "Groom Elite Program," the beneficial program is a 10-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 Connie Nobles and 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 former Texas A&M professor Dr. Doug Householder, and Spanish translation provided.

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 Sam Houston Race Park, have their name featured on our website, and they will be recognized in a special ceremony at Sam Houston.

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.

"I expect the attendance to grow next week as the word of this program is spread through the stable area from the folks that attended out first class," said Tommy Azopardi, executive director of the Texas Horsemen's Partnership. " We had about 38 at our previous course at Lone Star Park and I think we will reach that number at Houston as well."

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.

Azopardi stated "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.

Back to News