Recognizing the Grooms Behind the Horse Show Halloween Costumes

At BarnManager, we know how hard barn managers and grooms work. (That’s why we introduced BarnManager: to help make their lives easier!)

At the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), Lynne Stephens also recognized how hard the grooms work, including when it comes to putting together horses’ costumes for the show’s annual – and highly popular –$36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.

With that in mind, Lynne – who works on the WIHS staff during the horse show – decided to introduce a new Best Costume Award for 2019, with a special catch. The $3,500 prize, presented by the Stephens Family, awards $1,000 to the winning rider and $2,500 to the winning groom! Kudos to Lynne and WIHS on the great idea!

Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili. Photo by Jump Media

After this year’s class, held on Thursday, October 24, we caught up with the inaugural winners, rider Kristen Vanderveen and her groom of 12 years, Luis Salazar, on what went into turning Kristen into Cruella de Vil and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili into a Dalmatian!

“I’ve never actually gotten to show [in the costume class at WIHS], and I love looking at the pictures,” said Kristen. “I always think the horses that are dressed up look the coolest, so I was thinking of all the things that you could do with a white horse. I came up with a cow, which I thought would be offensive to Frosty, or the Dalmatian.”

Luis Salazar and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili. Photo by Jump Media

To pull off “Frosty’s” Dalmatian look, Kristen ordered felt dots of various sizes off of Amazon, and Luis went to work!

“Luis did everything with Frosty,” said Kristen. “He actually helped tape my [Cruella de Vil] hair onto my helmet too!”

“It took a long time – about 40 minutes – because the dots are sticky!” said Luis of the process to transform Frosty into a Dalmatian. “I was a little nervous we weren’t going to make it in time.”

Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

In addition to the dots, Luis added special black paint on Frosty’s muzzle and a sash that served as the collar before sending Kristen and Frosty off to the ring!

“He’s an amazing horse; he’s easy for everything,” said Luis. “He likes winning in everything!” – presumably even costume contests!

Congrats to Kristen and Luis on the great costume and to all of the grooms and riders who put together great costumes for WIHS this year!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

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