groom at the upper echelons of the sport is a difficult task during which sleep
comes rarely, planning is
unpredictable, and dedication isn’t only required, it is vital.
understands this better than Lauren Donahoo, a William Woods University equestrian
graduate who is serving
as a dressage groom during the Olympics.
“training.” Its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and
willingness to work, making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider. It is
arguably the most elegant sport of the Olympic Games.
Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI)-level rider, to serve as a
professional groom in London. Her responsibility is Calecto V. Calecto, a dark
brown Danish Warmblood stallion that Konyot owns
and personally trained.
standards and education to that of an international competition groom,” Donahoo
a lot of enthusiasm to learn. She’s also expressed that she needed someone who
was a fast-paced person, and I appreciate multitasking and staying busy so I
adapted pretty well to her expectations,” she said.
exponentially different, and I think that helped as well. When she offered me
the job, I did not hesitate for one minute to say ‘yes.’ This opportunity is
unheard of, and worth every risk I took! I could not put a price tag on this
really exciting,” Laura Ward, assistant professor of
equestrian studies at William Woods, said of Donahoo’s participation. “We have
had students working overseas, but not for an Olympic contender. And of course
‘groom’ at this international level is a gross understatement. When Lauren got
the call from Tina, we all told her she had to
go! The horse was one of the top 10 in the U.S.”
whole atmosphere is electric and really warming up. Being surrounded by the top
six Grand Prix horses and their riders is spoiling me and teaching me so much.
The USEF staff is incredible; all of it is truly amazing.”
experience with breeding and showing stallions
and riding Grand Prix schoolmasters working
during summer and
winter breaks. She worked with dressage notables Mary Claeys, owner and
trainer at Bridled Passion farm in Cleburne, Texas; Anne
Gribbons, owner and head
trainer at Knoll Dressage near Orlando, Fla.; and Karen Pautz, clinical
instructor of dressage at William Woods University.
from North Richland
Hills, Texas, also worked
as the assistant
trainer at Lyndon Rife Dressage in Pilot Point, Texas, where she
was mainly starting young horses and preparing/exercising
has worked as a trainer of Iberian horses at MyLeah Andalusians, a small farm in Calwood, Mo.,
owned by a 2010 WWU graduate, Leah
Hohmeier Strid, and dedicated to breeding and showing Andalusians.
Iberian horse has a unique temperament, and finding a trainer who can bring
them along correctly while maximizing their potential was a challenging task
for us,” Strid said.
Olympics is a humbling experience, and we look forward to the day she is
competing there herself—maybe on one of our horses!”
degree in equestrian
science from William Woods University in 2011 and stayed
on as a graduate assistant, where
her job entailed keeping
track of the equine health records.
at one of WWU’s dressage shows and participating in a clin