From Brighton, United Kingdom, Sarah Huntley is the founder and director of Equine Elite, a professional equestrian recruitment agency. Traveling the world, working in top levels of eventing, showjumping and dressage, Sarah has a background in Sport and Performance Psychology as well as all-around equine performance.
When did you learn to ride?
Do you have a favorite breed of horse?
I love any horse with Irish breeding – I find they have the scope, ability, level head and try-hard attitude that suits them well to eventing. I find you can also tend to rely on Irish horses to be sensible when you need them to be!
I am a big fan of Monty Roberts’ methods to train horses. I think he is truly inspirational – training horses in their own ‘language’ without physical harm and force and with maximum respect for the animal. I go and watch Monty in action whenever I can and read all I can on the subject. I hate to see horses mistreated or see people lose their temper with horses – they are such beautiful animals and deserve to be treated as so.
What is the secret to maintaining a healthy coat?
Daily grooming and good feeding. A happy, healthy horse has a healthy coat!
Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Where would you like to go that you haven’t been?
What do you do during the off-season?
This year has been a bit different to usual – as I have been busy setting up my new equestrian recruitment agency – Equine Elite! I launched the website in October 2012, so it’s still very new. I have been placing grooms and riders in both temporary and permanent in vacancies on top event, showjump, dressage, polo and livery yards throughout the UK. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m relishing the challenge, and have been inundated with vacancies, so I figure I am doing something right! I have just expanded the agency to not only cover yard-based roles to office based roles too – from administration to accounts, PR to marketing for retailers, feed companies, colleges and national equestrian organizations. It’s a very exciting project, and I hope it will benefit employers and employees alike.
Any advice for novice groomers?
I would always advise novice grooms to get as much practical work experience as they can – on a reputable, professional yard. It is great to go to college and attain qualifications, but practical work experience is so valuable - in doing so, it is possible to develop a good understanding of the equestrian industry, learn from more experienced grooms and work out where your interests lie. In the UK, we have a brilliant organization – the British Grooms Association, which is run by ex-grooms for anyone working with horse providing an excellent support network for novice and experienced grooms alike. With regards to applying for jobs, I would always advise young grooms to think carefully about how they present themselves, from Resume writing to the interview preparation. It is important to be positive and professional to stand the best chance of obtaining your dream job!