It’s probably no surprise that groom Lydia Beales is inspired by a horse first and foremost . . . Balmoral Sensation no less.

The lass from West Yorkshire has been right beside Clarke Johnstone’s magnificent grey for many of their fantastic wins and milestones as his number one groom. She may not have come from a horsey background, but Lydia is well respected as one of the best in the business. She feels it’s also a job that is often misunderstood.

“Most people seem to think our job is to clean the horse and muck out its stable, but the reality is that we are not just constantly cleaning and grooming the horse,” she says. “I was once referred to as ‘the horse brusher lady’ in Wanaka and was quite offended!”

Grooms have a far wider responsibility which includes being PA for both the horse and rider, organising vets, farriers, competitions, exercise programmes, nutrition plans, travel, clean sport, social events, accommodation, treatment therapy, paperwork, riding and more. “It is a highly skilled job,” says Lydia.

While it is not something she grew up knowing about, she’s become the go-to for many in her new-found homeland. “I like to think I am loyal, hardworking and a good team player and while I am ambitious, I don’t strive to be the best myself. I enjoy working with elite athletes like Clarke and his horses because I believe in them and want them to succeed.”

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Driven to Help Others Succeed // A groom’s story with Lydia Beales