Thistledown Launches Groom Elite Program

Thistledown is launching the Groom Elite Program in Ohio. The 14-week program is designed to teach stable area employees horse handling skills and knowledge in equine care that will increase the availability of qualified, trained professional help in the stable area.

The Thistledown program begins Aug. 8 in the Starting Gate Museum with the first class centered on Shedrow and Backstretch Safety.

Ohio's Groom Elite Program is under the leadership of trainer Gary King and will be taught by trainer Clark Bookman. Jamie Salamon, assistant trainer and groom for Andrew Konkoly, participated in the Groom Elite Program in Texas and finished first among his classmates. Salamon will provide Spanish translation.

The goals of the Groom Elite Program are to increase proficiency, safety, efficiency and communication skills, provide advancement opportunities and increase self-image, professionalism and respect. There will be assessment exercises that include five hands-on demonstration stations with horses and written classroom exercises.

Upon completion of the classes, all participants will be tested on their knowledge and results will be submitted to the Ohio HBPA and the GEP Office in Texas. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and an embroidered Groom Elite jacket.