Welcome to a new series on Noelle Floyd Style called Tricks of the Trade, highlighting the best equestrian grooms on the international circuit and their inside knowledge.

Esther Bukkems hails from Holland and at 23 years old, she is already grooming for one of the most publicized show jumping riders, Jessica Springsteen. Having groomed for Springsteen and her horses since May 2015, Bukkems understands the needs of top horses, including Vindicat W, Tiger Lily, Davendy S, and Carolina.

Listing her favorite horse shows as LGCT Rome and LGCT Chantilly, she can often be found with horse-of-the-moment Cynar’s head resting in her lap ahead of big classes. We asked Bukkems about her horses, her routine, and some of her favorite products to work with on the international show jumping circuit so read on to discover all her tips and tricks in the trade.

Noelle Floyd Style: What is a common horse care mistake you see that you would like corrected?

Esther Bukkems: Grooms washing horses heads with the hose when horses don’t like it.

NFS: What is your claim to fame as a groom (aka your personal trick of the trade)?

EB: To make the horses feel at home wherever they are in the world.

NFS:  If you were stuck on an island and you could only take five things with your top horse, what would you take and why?

EB: Food; I always need some food to keep my horses healthy and happy. Water buckets; Cynar is scared of water so he won’t go in the sea to drink. Quic Silver to keep Cynar nice and clean because you never know who could show up. Halter so I can hold on to him. Lunge line to keep him fit.

NFS: What is your biggest splurge item for horse care?

EB: A Likit to keep the horses busy and happy.

NFS: What are your top five favorite horse care products and why?

EB: Firstly, green spot remover and you can ask Cynar why I need that. Secondly, Traumeel, to keep the horses feeling good. Thirdly, epsom salt to take any soreness out of the feet. Fourthly, fly spray. My horses like the flies just as much as I do, which is not very much. Lastly, show sheen to keep their tails and coats shiny.

NFS: What is your personal motto for horse care?

EB: Trust the horses that they will trust you.

NFS: What is your ideal morning routine with your horses?

EB: Feed, muck out the stalls, refresh the horses’ water buckets, and get the stable organised while they have their breakfast and then take the horses out to graze.

NFS: What is your ideal evening routine with your horses?

EB: I always try to feed the horses at the same time, wherever I am in the world. And that is hay at 16h00 and their grain at 17h00. In the evening, I go back between 21h00 and 23h00 to check if they’re all right, warm enough, and have enough water.

NFS: How do you deal with a difficult horse with poor ground manners?

EB: I try to gain their trust first so you can correct them when needed but in a way that they won’t become scared of you and they won’t continue with their bad behavior.

NFS: Do you have any tricks for sensitive skin?

EB: Equifit AG Silver CleanTalc max.

NFS: What is your favorite treat to give the horses?

EB: Apples. I feel like the horses really enjoy a fresh apple.