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Reflections on Pratoni from the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team Grooms

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Oct 3, 2022, 4:00 PM EST

When the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team won the silver medal at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, it was the result of countless hours of preparation and dedication from not just the athletes, but each of their skilled support teams. The grooms for the championship horses are with them every step of the way—from early morning feedings at home to boarding the planes to travel overseas and all the way to the podium. We asked the U.S. Eventing Squad's grooms to share some of the highlights of their careers and their experiences at Pratoni. Here's what they said:


Hailey Burlock and Off the Record
Hailey Burlock and Off the Record ©Leslie Potter

Hailey Burlock

Groom for Off the Record and Will Coleman

I am grateful that I have been a part of "Timmy's" career for almost three years. The amount of pure heart, grit, and talent he displayed at the World Championship was inspiring. As amazing as he was, the group of people behind him are just as noteworthy. Every bit of his success is credited to the captain of the ship, Will Coleman, but also the group of people that believe in him and are incredibly invested in the success of his horses and program.

Getting these athletes to this point takes years of preparation through each of their own individual programs. At this level the programs that support every rider and horse combination vary, however they strive for the same goal, ultimately attempting to produce three of the best phases possible. I’m proud to state that we did that. Regardless of the standings he will always be a champion in my eyes!


Alysssa Dobrotin and Mai Baum
Alysssa Dobrotin and Mai Baum. ©Leslie Potter

Alyssa Dobrotin

Groom for Mai Baum and Tamie Smith

I’ve worked for Tamie at events all over the West and East Coasts (Galway Downs, Twin Rivers, Rebecca Farm, Fair Hill, Tryon, Carolina, Red Hills and more.) I’ve groomed in Europe at Aachen for PEQ ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Arville, Badminton where Tamie and “Lexus” finished ninth, and at the CSIO4* at Aachen in 2022 where the team won silver.

I’ve worked for Tamie on a part-time basis at shows for over 10 years. I have loved being a part of the development of her program and watching all the young horses grow into top-class athletes. I feel very fortunate to have an incredible relationship with Tamie, not only as her groom but as a friend. I strive to have my horses turned out and taken care of immaculately so they can look, feel and be their best. My love for the horses and the sport keeps bringing me back. The opportunity, the travel and community of friends all over the world are what make it so special.


Meredith Ferraris and Leamore Master Plan
Meredith Ferraris and Leamore Master Plan ©Leslie Potter

Meredith Ferraris

Groom for Leamore Master Plan and Ariel Grald

I began grooming for Ariel in 2018 when “Simon” moved up to the Advanced/CCI4* level. The following year, they competed at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* and then we took our first trip overseas to compete at big bad Burghley. Although COVID-19 slowed travel and competition down for a season, 2021 proved to be an exciting year with two trips to Germany for the Luhmuhlen CCI5*-L and then Aachen CCIO4*-S (where I discovered my love for German pastries and spargel!). This past spring, we finally got the chance to compete at Badminton, which was absolutely incredible!

Our most recent adventure was the travel to the World Championships at Pratoni. It was an incredible venue and I really enjoyed being a part of Team USA.



Sally Robertson and Vermiculus
Sally Robertson and Vermiculus ©Taylor Pence

Sally Robertson

Groom for Vermiculus and Lauren Nicholson

I have so many things to say about the experience of the World Championship. It’s definitely my career highlight so far. The feeling I had when following our horses and riders into the prize giving is a feeling I will never forget. So many years of hard work from everyone to get there, as we all know most of the work to get there is done on a daily basis and it’s never over till it’s over and you have given it all you got. The team camaraderie was amazing. What an incredible group of horses, riders, grooms, owners and support staff we had to share this experience with. How lucky are we?! I’m so proud of team USA.

But I have to say apart from team silver, the best part for me was on Monday morning, loading 5 happy sound and healthy horses who gave 100% the whole trip. That in itself is no easy feat and doesn’t happen by chance.”


Steph Simpson and Tsetserleg TSF
Steph Simpson and Tsetserleg TSF. ©Leslie Potter

Steph Simpson

Groom for Tsetserleg TSF and Boyd Martin

I’ve been very lucky over the years to be involved in quite a few championships, and this one was particularly exciting, not only for the individual riders, but for U.S. Eventing as a whole. For me, having the same horse represent the U.S. in four championships is a testament to all aspects of Thomas’ management, including his vets, farriers, physio, and nutritionists. As a groom it’s always rewarding to achieve success and it’s even better when it’s a horse that means so much to his entire team.


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