CAVALLUNA Backstage: Groom Carmen

Carmen Maria Ortega Armas takes care of the 17 horses at CAVALLUNA. She is the kind soul of Bartolo Messina, who impresses with the magical liberty dressage of his large herd. In this article we reveal why Carmen loves her job so much.

Carmen and Tinker „Johan“.

Friendly, open, hardworking - and above all animal-loving: these are the attributes associated with Carmen, Bartolo Messina's likeable groom. The Italian has been part of CAVALLUNA for many years and regularly performs impressive liberty dressage with many horses and ponies. As the equestrian artist cannot look after all the animals on his own, the Spanish-born trainer Carmen assists him whenever and wherever she can: Whether it's looking after the animals backstage or helping with their daily grooming, Carmen is definitely the good soul of the stable tent! She distributes the food, mucks out the boxes and regularly takes the ponies for a leisurely walk.

Horses are Carmen's hobby and profession.

Carmen's big dream of a life with horses

Carmen taught English at a high school on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria for almost 20 years before her big dream came true a few years ago: working with these noble animals. She now looks after a herd of adorable mini-Shettys, an Arabian, a Welsh pony, a Tinker, a Friesian, a KWPN, a Baroque pinto, three Spaniards, an Appaloosa and a Lusitano. As well as Bartolo's horses, she also looks after her own four-legged friend, the former racehorse 'Fine Art World'. The English thoroughbred once raced at one of the UK's oldest racecourses, Newmarket, but now lives a relaxed life with Carmen.

The horses trust Carmen.

When a hobby becomes a vocation

On tour weekends, a normal working day for Carmen starts at seven in the morning and ends shortly after the last show at around 11pm. After feeding the horses and mucking out their stalls in the morning, she often takes them for a short walk. She takes her time with each animal. You can tell that Carmen is completely absorbed in her work, especially when she talks about "her" animals and her eyes start to shine. She knows the eating habits and special characteristics of each four-legged show star. Tinker "Johan", for example, is sometimes a bit lazy and likes to sleep, Carmen reveals.

During the week, the noble four-legged friends are housed in the horse stable in North Rhine-Westphalia, where they can relax and enjoy some light training. Carmen, who speaks five languages in addition to her native Spanish, looks after the animals and makes sure they have everything they need.

After the grand tour finale in June, Carmen, team boss Bartolo and, of course, the horses will travel back to the Italian island of Ischia, where they will relax and recuperate in preparation for the next tour. Carmen has been part of the Italian's family for a long time and has a permanent place at Bartolo's ranch, "Aragona Arabians".

Being a groom requires a lot of hard work, dedication and love for the horses. What Carmen particularly appreciates about these noble four-legged friends is their calmness: She finds inner peace around them and is always impressed by the sincere nature of these sensitive animals. Carmen can spend hours watching her charges. Even when she is on holiday, Carmen prefers to spend time with the horses, for example at the farm of Sebastián Fernández's CAVALLUNA team in Granada, in the south of Andalusia.

Always with passion

Her advice to anyone considering becoming a groom: "Have a passion for  animals! To gain their trust, it's important to be calm and consistent at all times and to give the horses a feeling of security".

Carmen has taken the plunge and lives her passion for horses every day. She cannot imagine a life without these noble four-legged friends.

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