|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
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