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FHBPA, Gulfstream Park Partner to Graduate Latest Groom Elite Class

Nine graduates received the title of “Groom Elite” on November 4, 2015 as they celebrated their completion of the nation’s only recognized horse groom certification program.  The latest installment culminated in the final assessment week and graduation held at Gulfstream Park West (formerly Calder) as a joint job training project of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Gulfstream Park.

“Groom Elite” is an extensive 40-hour course conducted over several weeks for grooms with some job experience.  It focuses important horse care skills that are essential in effective racing grooms.  An introductory class is also available, as well as a “Groom Elite 201” advanced certification class, which teaches effective care for horses’ lower leg or joint injuries.

“In years past, large stables would have apprenticeship programs to effectively hand down age-old horse care knowledge from groom to groom.  This program is a step above that,” FHBPA President Bill White explained.  “Most trainers will agree that a Groom Elite graduate is definitely a valuable employee you want to keep on your payroll.”
Given by former university professor Dr. Reid McLellan, Groom Elite also offers owner and trainer education programs.  Founded in 2001 by the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership and the Texas A&M University Agriculture Extension Service.  Groom Elite has certified 1,854 grooms over the past 14 years from more than 2,800 that have attended on-site classes at 30 racetracks, farms, high schools, and training centers in 14 states and two foreign countries.
In cooperation with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and several of its local affiliates, Groom Elite has coordinated the placement of hands-on groom education programs at seven prisons in seven states utilizing retired racehorses.
Directly following the Gulfstream Park/FHBPA graduation, Dr. McClellan headed to Kentucky, where he held a workshop on the Groom Elite Certified Instructor process for individuals and organizations that would like to offer Groom Elite Certification courses at their venues using local instructors