The story of Proequinegrooms! The 900th article!
A little bit about me and how I got here. I’m Liv, btw.
I tend to not share a lot about myself personally, but you guys know the important stuff. Bad jokes, sometimes entertaining articles, and some fairly lame articles, too. But how did I get here?
It was sort of the perfect storm of weird and planned and coincidental things that all sort of came together. I’m not going all the way back to elementary school, but there’s a series of events that always seemed to culminate in a trip to the ER that lead me down this particular path. And some other things too, that all brought me here. To article #900.
This is me, on a winter hike in Shenandoah National Park.
So here we go. The story of how I got here. Ready or not.
In a previous life, I was a corporate ladder climber. I worked in architecture, design, and construction. This makes perfect sense considering I have a degree in Biomedical Science.
After getting married (yeah!), we moved to the SoCal area for my husband’s job. Raging feminist me says WHAT THE HELL, NEVER UPEND YOUR LIFE FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Realistic me says let’s have an adventure and let the military tell us where to live for the next 20+ years! And so we went.
I found work in the area, and settled into a new life. With a new boss. Who was a COMPLETE A**H***. The very definition of workplace misconduct. I decided to turn him into HR at the same time as resigning. I went on to grad school, and in the meantime started teaching up-down lessons at a local barn a few days a week. Grinding out a thesis is mind-numbing and challenging, and I needed to get away from my desk!
It was this job teaching that led me to grooming. I happen to be stopping by a local tack shop, where I spotted an ad for a part-time groom for some dude named Guenter Seidel. He was apparently a BNT in this sport of dressage. I had never heard of Guenter, and I thought dressage was for people who couldn’t jump, but I called anyway. At this point, I had just bought my very first horse, and I thought…Why not learn more about horses by being a Groom?
Me and G-man.
Well, he didn’t call me back for weeks. When he did finally call, there was an explanation of being at something called WEG and he had filled the grooming job. OH WELL, didn’t really matter, I had no idea who this clown was anyway. But I was curious about this WEG thing… and then I googled it, found out about all of his medals and stuff, and generally felt really dumb. And super thankful that I didn’t get the job! Too much pressure.
Guenter called again the next day and said that his current Grooms didn’t get along with the person he hired, so would I like to give it a go? SURE?
When I met Joel and Fernando, Guenter’s full-time Grooms, Joel was giving me a hard time about never having been a Groom. I did, regretfully, snapback that I was a big dog and I didn’t need to stay on the porch. Haunts me to this very day and he will always tease me about it.
And then this happens.
There were lots of other Grooms in the barn who worked with the other BNT’s. A young and delightful gal named Marie and I ended up being friends, we often worked at the same times. Marie is a HUGE part of why I ended up on this path several years later.
Marie and I were working one Sunday evening after the entire barn had come back from a show. In LA, I think? We stayed at home to take care of the horses that didn’t go, the retired guys, and to help unload and unpack when the show horses came back. We stayed late to finish all of the tack cleaning and unpacking and sorting that needed to be done. Marie also had a few horses that needed to be walked on the euro-ciser, which was convenient as we could supervise as we cleaned and organized.
Let me paint a scene for you.
Euro-ciser is empty.
The first horse to go on is a PILL and likes to kick, even if no one is behind him.
Marie pops on the electric feature that zaps a horse lightly if the divider is touched.
Horse and Marie are at the gate, loading, the dividers are creeping along at a snail’s pace.
Horse decides he’s not going, pushes Marie in.
Marie gets zapped.
I hear yelping.
I don’t see anything, the divider knocked her down.
I see Marie pop up and yell “TURN OFF THE ZAPPER”
Next divider comes.
I see Marie pop up and yell “TURN OFF THE ZAPPER”
Next divider comes.
I see Marie pop up and yell “TURN OFF THE ZAPPER”
Next divider comes.
At this point, I’m sprinting to the walker and desperately trying not to laugh. She’s in some sort of part laughing, part yelping stage.
The horse is at the gate chewing on the decorative flowers acting totally innocent. I shut everything off so Marie can get out safely. She saunters out of the euro-ciser and ever so calmly says to me…
Grooms need a union. We don’t get paid enough for this S**T.
That evening is burned into my memory forever.
And then THIS happens! Hello, emergency room!
Funny story, I did not fall off this horse while doing side-crow arm balance on my horse Comet and land in the ER. Incidentally, this is the horse that almost killed me several times because of his spooking, which I wrote about in this gem. Clearly, we got over ourselves.
Anyway…. fast-forwarding…. I end up having an accident with a John Deere which ended the ability to use my right hand and, by extension, my arm for several months. I’ll spare you the details, but it was gross and made it legit impossible to be around horses. While I never formally went back to working for Guenter, I continue to give him helpful tips about his horses and riding when I see him. This usually involves sarcasm.
After healing, I go on to work freelance for several years, and as a property manager at another farm in the area. During this time, there’s a storm of things that start to swirl around me. I’m working too much, I start to hate riding, I never see my hubby, we haven’t taken a vacation in a decade, I’m working too much (I can’t stress that part enough), the candle that I’m burning at both ends is dead, I hit a wall. This goes on for years.
And would you believe it? Another ER visit.
I conveniently bust up my leg one day trying to stop a 4-year-old from jumping over the side of a treadmill. We thought it was just a meniscus tear that could easily be repaired, but the MRI a few weeks later tells us that it’s actually two non-displaced fractures – the end of my femur and top of my tibia. And here we are again, I’m not working.
It was the best thing that ever happened. EVER. I peaced out, tossed my horses into some fields, and healed. I also got help for the burnout.
But what to do for work?
I knew that as a freelancer, I loved working for myself. I’m also a military spouse, which meant that we could move at any time, and moving a job/career is a big challenge.
So this is where it all comes together in the big blender of life. I wanted to keep working for myself. I knew that the military could move us, so opening an office or shop was a no-go. I needed a job that I could move with me. So…something internet-based?
I had this voice in my head from Marie, all those years earlier. Could I do something for grooms and horse lovers from my keyboard? And here we are.
This is one of my cats, his name is Orange. He sort of came with that name, and TBH I’m terrible at naming creatures, so it stuck.
I’ll share with you some tidbits of things that I have learned along the way.
My original plan of making this a site all about Grooms got trashed pretty quickly. There’s just not enough of us to generate the volume of traffic I needed to make this work.
But what about using the site as a place where I can empty everything I learned while I was a Groom onto the masses? In a non-weird sounding way? This was a better plan.
And then I could sprinkle in all of my smarts about employment, how to find a job, why Grooms are awesome, and what-not. Incidentally, if any of those topics float your boat, go up to the top of this page and hit EMPLOYMENT. You’ll have lots of resources at your fingers to navigate working in the horse industry. This is also a place where Marie’s words resonate – so many Grooms are not employed correctly. They are misclassified, paid under the table, working without insurance, etc. I needed to blow up some myths about employment and the horse industry.
I spent $11 on a domain, and a few more on this logo. No way I was going to learn graphic design, too.
And then I ran into the problem of building a website. I could absolutely pay someone to build out a frame for me. Estimated cost? Several thousand dollars. And $50 an hour for updates. This was going to get expensive, and fast, especially since I’d be paying for someone else to post the things I would type up a few times a week.
So I learned how to build websites. It took a bit. I’m still learning, in fact, as things move pretty fast on the internet. It’s a handy skill to have, I suppose. There are lots of other boring and behind-the-scenes things to think about here, and I’ve been able to streamline things over the years to make workflow easier and more efficient. I’m also a one-woman show, although occasionally I’ll have Horse Husband Chris help me with photos, videos, and podcasts.
Occasionally I’ll get a comment about someone who doesn’t know me too well about how my “horse blog hobby” is going. It’s not a side gig or a hobby or what I do for giggles. It’s full-time work PLUS some more work.
I also learned a lot about myself and about others on the internet.
I originally loved being behind a screen, no one knew my name, I was just this thing that existed. I’m introverted and covet alone time and don’t enjoy “putting myself out there”. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that I can be more visible and personable without giving up privacy.
I did stumble a bit as I was gaining traffic. There were trolls for sure, and on a few occasions, I was publicly yelled at on Facebook. Someone even accused me of wanting horses to die because I wouldn’t share her post about horse slaughter. I foolishly tried to reason with her. There were a few others, too, one involving corn oil and another involving shod horses. It was at this point that I stopped caring about logic and communication and just started to hit the DELETE button.
Someone even internet-yelled at me for deleting a comment filled with cuss words, and then the BLOCK button became my friend.
Freedom, I tell ya’.
I have zero hesitation with deleting comments that are derogatory to myself and/or others. Entire threads have been deleted because the insults to each other were just piling up. I don’t have time for that #*$^ . Be nice or go away.
On that same theme – the most common insult I see hurled around is the word lazy. Dude – we all have different priorities and schedules and we are all just trying to do our best.
Some of the hills I’m going to die upon. OK – the top three hills.
Take your horse’s temperature and check his vitals and digital pulses daily.
Stop trying to fix your horse’s medical stuff on the internet – call your Vet. This is especially true when it comes to hoof issues – these simply can’t wait. And, your Farrier, as qualified and competent as he/she is, can’t diagnose a hoof problem or give your horse meds and a treatment plan. It pains me to even think about how many horses suffer with crippling laminitis before the Vet is called.
To me, grooming is not about shine, braids, and the latest lotion or potion. It’s about using the time with your horse to groom his HEALTH. The shiny, happy horse is a bonus.
My dirt magnet, Migs. He’s the one that really taught me about grooming for health – he’s GP and sound and still likes to buck at age 29. I also learned that putting down the harsh detergents was the best thing I could have ever done for his skin and coat. Stains don’t stick at all if your horse is oily enough.
Other random things about me that are not super important and yet, might explain a few things.
pubmed.gov is a fantastic place to do some casual reading. It’s one of my favorites.
I used to DESPISE hiking until we moved to the east coast, where I fell in love with it. I even do urban hikes around my town (with backpack and all!) to exercise and train for the big hikes. Climbing mountains makes me cuss, but the payoff at the top is worth it.
I have a GP horse, Migs, that I have never shown. Shows make me tangled up inside. YUCK. Sidelines for me, anytime!
I’m also a yoga teacher. Having a battered body from four decades with horses distinctly shaped my yoga philosophy – don’t focus on goals, flexibility, or what you look like. Focus on strength and mobility and what it feels like. I’ve also been told by my students that I’m wickedly tough and the workouts are insane, but they keep coming back. They say they like my playlists, but I think they like to sweat, too.
Most of best friends don’t know anything about horses. I am constantly blowing their minds (or making their eyes roll) with “fun facts”.
I hate being cold, and I will only tolerate two states of being – warm and dry, or pouring sweat all over. Anything in between is unacceptable.
I’m only ever truly home in the water. The mountains come close, but water is my sanctuary. I have a short list of sharks that I have been swimming with. I also have a long list of sharks and other sea creatures that I must see in person.
I have two cats. Here is the other one.
This is Baby Cat. His technical name is Zips, but we got him as a wee kitten and I’ve called him Baby Cat since. See about my animal naming problem?
My wildest fantasy is to go back to school and get a doctorate degree.
I also want to spend as much time as possible in National Parks. I have a few checked off in the US, and a few checked off in other countries.
I have another blog that I started a few months ago, First Order Gin. This particular adult libation is my favorite, and it’s nice to have a side hustle. In addition to the yoga teaching. And this job. If you ever hear me say the words “adult water”, I’m actually talking about gin. It’s divine.
I believe it’s just as important to know how to drive a stick shift as it is to properly ride a shoulder-in. For real.
I never want to be the person that snap-judges something, I strive to make my responses based on curiosity and the desire to learn. Except for celery. Like really – it’s basically watery dental floss, and I will judge the hell out of it.
The parts of my job that I love!
Making podcasts, in-person clinics at farms, and going to big horse shows and trade shows to represent the companies that help me stay afloat.
The parts of my job that I don’t love!
Editing podcasts (ugh, my voice…), making videos (ugh, my voice), and instagram.
How you can help me keep this ship upright.
There is no way for me to survive without actual eyeballs and finger clicks on my website. That’s the gist of things. My sponsors need your support too, without it, they can’t help me.
If you love to online shop, I keep a list of things that I personally use or have used that I love in my Amazon shop. Full disclosure, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, and this is ZIPPO extra charge to you.
I also appreciate any time that you can listen in, watch a video, or make a comment on a social. This does a few things – I learn what you are interested in, so I can make more of whatever that is. I also learn new ideas and techniques and hacks that I can then share and pass along.
One more thing… this is not technically the 900th article. It’s more like the 892nd, because I was on a tear with articles about laminitis and worms and flies and I just needed to break things up. Sorry for the fib.
Always feel free to email me, private FB group.if you want to. Or join the
And also, I can absolutely tell who hasn’t read the article or watched the whole video when they comment on a post.
Thanks for tuning in! I appreciate all of your support.