The first Groom Elite program in Maryland June 25-29 proved a success, as it helped fill six hot walker positions and one groom position.
About 20 people participated in the weeklong Basic Grooming 99 program, which is designed to introduce people to the basics of working with racehorses. The program instructor was Dr. Reid McLellan, who formed the program almost 20 years ago, with assistance from former Maryland-based trainer Chris Grove.
McClellan made all the students feel at home when the program began. After a brief introductory period, he went one by one and called each by name. “I think it’s important that I know your name,” McLellan said.
The students spent roughly four hours a day together, so familiarity was important. Bobby Lillis, a former jockey who serves as MTHA Director of Assistance Programs, said he was impressed with the proceedings.
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