Today we are talking with top groom Vanessa Ruiter. We all know her as Edward Gal’s super groom.
As being a groom for many years, she took care of the best horses in the world! If you were always wondering how life of a show groom of a top rider looks like, here is your change to have a little insight !
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and for who you work?
My name is Vanessa Ruiter (40), born in Amsterdam. Since I was seven I got involved with horses and since then, I am totally in love with these special creatures
In 2003 I started to work for Nicole Werner and Edward Gal and the last eight years I am part of the incredible team GLOCK, that besides Edward Gal also includes the riders Hans Peter Minderhoud and Riccardo Sanavio.
How did you become a groom?
I started a long time ago in the riding school in Amsterdam where I met the parents of Tommie Visser. When Tommie started to ride in the Juniors a few years later, I groomed for him in the competitions. I discovered that I liked grooming much more than riding myself.
What is a normal day at work like for you?
At the GLOCK HORSE PERFORMANCE CENTER we start the day at 7:30 with the daily stable duties, such as feeding and cleaning the stalls. Meanwhile, the first horses go into the paddock and walker. Than around 8:00, we prepare the first horses for Edward, Hans Peter and Riccardo. Of course, every day is different, but we spend the rest of the day mainly taking care of the horses that have been ridden. Making sure that they are happy! In the afternoon, we have time to walk them again and let them have some grass or it could be that the farrier is there, or some horses get a massage. Also, we turn the horses out that where ridden in the morning. The horses come out of their boxes minimum three times a day.
Why is being a groom the best job there is?
Being a groom became my absolute passion. First of all, horses are the most incredible animals and to be able to groom them and to travel all over the world with the best horses is the icing on the cake!
What was the highlight of your career as a groom and can you tell us about it?
Of course I have many great memories like my first show with Lingh in Breda which was the qualification for the Europeans in 2003. It was an amazing experience which made me want more of it! I was lucky to work with fantastic horses such as Gribaldi, Sister de Jeu, Interfloor Next one, GLOCK’s Romanov, GLOCK’s Undercover and many others. All great results and amazing moments I’ll never forget.
And of course, a very special horse, Totilas who brought us so far and who will be in our hearts forever. With the highlight Kentucky 2010 *where he won three times gold and of course his world records.
Which horse(s) has been your favorite and why?
I really feel blessed that all my “oldies” are still here. I love my old horses tremendously and also especially Edward’s first GP horse Risky Business who is now 29! They all have such special characters and I hope they get to stay with us many more years. I have a strong connection with the horses that I take on shows and at this moment that’s GLOCK’s Voice and GLOCK’s Zonik N.O.P. They are both totally different, but both extremely cute.
What is your secret grooming tip?
My tip is if you do something do it all the way! Sometimes it is long days, but when I see my horses trying their heart out in the ring, it is totally worth it!
What advice can you give someone that wants to become a professional groom?
I would want to say to them be prepared to give it your full 100%. It’s a beautiful job, but not for everyone. For me there is no better feeling than seeing “my kids” happy and satisfied in their stable after a long trip or good achievement. That makes me very happy.
Which quality does a top groom need to have in your opinion?
I definitely would say determination and love for the job. You can only do a great job, if you really have fun in what you do!
What else do you like to do beside from horses?
I really enjoy going out to the theatre or visit a concert. I also love to go out for dinner with friends. I feel sometimes it’s healthy to do something totally different than horses, so you can recharge your battery and that also makes me happy.