BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY (September 1, 2001) - Ask any successful rider, and they will give credit to the grooms back in the barn for helping them bring home blue ribbons. But the grooms at the 26th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show got the chance to shine in the show ring themselves during Celebrity Cruises ' Fiesta Day presented by Avis.
Killian Dunn, lead groom in rider/trainer Tim Grubb's stable, was the winner in Friday's $1,000 Add-Back Grooms' Class, where grooms were tested on their ability to prepare their horses properly for the show ring as well as ride at the walk and trot. Thirty grooms and horses turned out for the class, which proved to be a high point of the afternoon classes at The Classic.
"It was fun," said Dunn, 20, a native of Dublin, Ireland. "You had all the fellows from the stables there, and they were all hooting and hollering. There should be more classes like that. That would make your day a lot more entertaining. Some of the boys . the horses got a little crazy.
"You had to do your horse out to the nines," added Dunn, crediting his fellow grooms, Java Sanchez and Christian Sanchez, both of Mexico but no relation, with helping him prepare his mount, Special K, for the class. "Special" as the jumper is known in the barn, is a gray Irish cross stallion.
Dunn chose to show him because grays are harder to keep clean and because the horse carries himself stylishly and is easy to ride. Dunn also had extra help from the horse's owner, Cornelia Guest of Old Westbury, NY. As everyone in the barn was fussing over Special before the class, Guest put the corks (or studs) in his shoes herself.
"She was doing the dirty work," said Dunn, adding that she was there to cheer him on.
Jocelyne Pinnchinnete, who grooms for rider/trainer Laura Kraut, was second with May, and third place went to Joost Indeneng, who grooms for rider/trainer Laura Bowery, and Amande du Chateau.