National HBPA Endorses THP's Groom Elite Program

At the recent National HBPA convention in Boston, Massachusetts, Texas Thoroughbred HBPA Director Susan O'Hara gave a multimedia presentation to the National HBPA's Benefit Providers Committee explaining the Texas Horsemen's Partnership's groundbreaking Groom Elite Program. The very next day at its full Board of Directors meeting, the National HBPA endorsed the Groom Elite Program as its official groom-training program in North America.

O'Hara, who has overseen the project for the THP, gave the Benefit Providers Committee a broad overview of the Groom Elite Program, as well as many specifics, via a Power Point slide presentation. She also distributed to the committee a bound booklet detailing the program. THP Executive Director Tommy Azopardi assisted with the presentation.

As O'Hara explained, the Groom Elite Program is a ten-week course designed to teach stable area employees horse handling skills designed to help increase the availability of quality, trained help in the stable areas of Texas racetracks. The valuable information taught in the course is not specific to Texas, and the program could be just as useful in any racing jurisdiction.

The course, which is open to all licensed horsemen (grooms, assistant trainers, exercise riders, and even owners or trainers), is taught by Texas A&M professor Dr. Doug Householder. Spanish translation has also been made available for the classes.

Upon completion of the classes, all participants are tested on their knowledge. Those who pass are awarded a "Groom Elite" certificate of completion.

Not only did the National HBPA endorse the THP's Groom Elite Program, the organization is looking into ways to expand the program, as well as duplicating it in other racing jurisdictions. O'Hara and newly-elected National HBPA President (and THP Management Committee Chairman) John Roark will be working closely with the National HBPA in these efforts.

O'Hara, owner of Woodswitch Farms, has given selflessly of her time to get the THP's Groom Elite Program off the ground and running. The THP and its members owe a great debt of gratitude to Sue for her work on the program and the excellent presentation she made at the National HBPA convention.

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