Absorbine® interviewed Melissa Warner recently. Melissa is part of the Tucker S Johnson driving team and manages his horses. In 2011 at the F.E.I. World Equestrian Games, Tucker’s team won a bronze medal individually and helped Team USA win a silver team medal.
Absorbine: Melissa, what is your official title?
Melissa: Driving Manager
A: Where are you based?
M: South Florida & New Jersey
A: What was your role at WEG?
M: I had several roles that included a lot of prep leading up to the event with the horses, equipment, staff and all the paperwork needed to compete in an F.E.I. competition. During the event I organized to make sure the horses, driver, coach and all support staff had what was needed to be successful. I was also on the carriage as a groom for both the Dressage and Cones phases of the competition as well as the closing ceremonies. It was an exciting time.
A: How did it feel to see your hard work prepping the team culminate in a bronze medal individually and team silver?
M: Of course, it is always more exciting when your team is doing well, but to also know that the hours of hard work put into this were paying off was a very proud moment for myself as well as all the people who helped to make this possible.
A: It must be hard to groom and prepare four horses for exercise every day. What do you do to make that easier?
M: I have a preparation routine that includes a substantial grooming process before the horses are worked, as well as a head to tail wash after. If the horses are clean then all the equipment stays cleaner. Anyone in the discipline of driving knows how much tack is involved that requires daily cleaning, so anything to make that easier is the best.
A: We heard you are an avid Miracle Groom® user?
M: I use Miracle Groom daily on the horses. It is just part of the grooming process at the farm. It is great for not only spot cleaning but also puts a nice shine on the coat when used all over.
A: Do you alter your grooming routine based on whether you are in Florida or New Jersey?
M: My grooming routine is the same where ever I am. The staff is taught the process and it is done the same for every horse every time they are groomed.
A: Any grooming tips or tricks you’ve learned at your level of competition that the everyday horse owner might find useful?
M: Well, there is no short cutting a quality grooming routine at any level of competition. The horses just look better for it. I do use Miracle Groom regularly in ways other than grooming… and that is to spray on our cotton fly sheets prior to removal to stop the static. The staff and the horses are much happier during times of low humidity when the static gets us all.
A: Thanks Melissa and we wish you the very best in your career!
The Tucker S Johnson four-in-hand carriage at Devon. Melissa is seated back left.