Groom Spotlight: Paige Bedborough’s Passion Evolves at Keepsake Farms

Langley, BC — Paige Bedborourgh (CAN) waited patiently for an opportunity to work with Cheryl and Kassidy Keith at Keepsake Farms.

The Langley, BC native was 16 years old and without a driver’s license (She had a hunter mare instead) when the Keiths informed her that a stall had become available at their sought-after operation. Bedaborough made the move from a nearby stable and began cleaning some stalls at horse shows to help offset the costs of competing and training.

Now, she’s Keepsake Farms’ head groom, overseeing the care of 40 horses at the West Coast Classic.

“When I was just riding with Cheryl and Kassidy, never in a million years did I want to groom [full-time]. It seemed too stressful,” Bedborourgh shared. “They said, ‘You won’t know until you try.'”

Over the course of the last six years, Bedborourgh, 22, has seen her role grow exponentially. In 2021, she began grooming Kassidy’s top jumpers, including Havana, who jumped Kassidy to the MarBill Hill U25 overall series title later that year at tbird and is now jumping at the five-star level. She then began taking on the grooming of some additional client horses, quickly realizing how much she enjoyed what she was doing. The Keiths made her the head groom for the entire stable shortly after.

“It’s just built from nothing to being the main person,” Bedborourgh said. “I started as just Kassidy’s groom, and then I started grooming the client horses that Kassidy rode, and then I helped a couple clients that needed extra help. Now, if anyone needs anything, I’m the person they call.”

There’s not much that isn’t on Bedborourgh’s to-do list, and it’s not unusual to prepare Havana for the Grand Prix on the same day she’s grooming a pony hunter or a horse for an adult amateur.

“We also have a boatload of young horses,” Bedborourgh shared. “One just moved up to 1.0m, and it’s the first horse show for another.”

It’s being a part of a horse’s development and watching the progression that has made Bedborourgh’s job most rewarding. When she began grooming Havana, the mare was jumping her first 1.40m classes. She’s since jumped at the World Cup level—and at 1.40m, she’s become difficult to beat. Havana and Kassidy have won the opening two Grand Prix events of the Thunderbird Show Park season at the April Season Opener and Spring Festival—for two years running.

“That’s probably one of my favourite things—seeing how far [Havana and Kassidy] have come in the last few years,” Bedborourgh said. “Havana has always been a solid partner, but now, anything you throw at her, she’s just like, ‘Let’s go.’ She knows—she knows her routine, when she’s showing, and she looks for me at the ring. I’m never not there.”

Learning to groom for an FEI-level partner required some extra reading—and some additional stress—but now, it’s just another horse show for equine and groom.

“The way that Kassidy and I do things, nothing was crazy different. It’s just about being on top of what is and isn’t allowed,” Bedborourgh said. “It’s very nice, because Havana is such an angel to take care of. She’s so easy and sweet. At my first FEI grooming show, I was nervous that I was going to do something wrong. Now, it’s just [part of Havana’s routine].”

More Than a Job

Bedborourgh has significantly invested herself in her role, and as she’s grown as a groom, she’s also grown as a rider.

She continues to work on her skills in the saddle, and at home, her role involves regular riding.

“It’s quite a team effort at home” Bedborough said. “After shows, we don’t just lay low. Tuesday comes back around, and it’s a new week [for the horses]. On Wednesday, we start riding at home [after a show], and we get everything done together. And if I’m busy, Kassidy will help with her horses.”

Bedborough is also a regular name in the show ring, and got to compete with some client horses at tbird in May. She hopes to bring her own partner Castaway, better known as “Kiwi,” to show at tbird later this season, and farther along in the pipeline, she owns a coming 3-year-old, by Keith’s Fenelon and out of Bedborough’s Children’s Hunter. Bedborough dreams of developing a young partner of her own through the Crooks Show Jumping Young Horse Showcase series, starting with the 4-year-old division.

“[The young horses] are our own little protégées, that [the Keiths] breed and bring up the ranks,” she said.

Outside of work, Bedborough and Kassidy are close friends. They rent a house together, and if time allows, they enjoy bonding and  decompressing over a boat ride.

As Bedborough looks forward, she sees great promise. As she looks back, she remains in admiration of the places her job has taken her.

“Six years ago, I never could have seen myself stepping foot in the winning photo, bringing these horses to the ring, setting for them at the gate,” she reflected. “Now, it just comes [naturally]. I love it.”