Perhaps it’s true. Gulfstream Park may have its own version of the “dog whisperer,” only this man talks to horses.
Born in Villa Sola de Vega a town and municipality of Oaxaca Mexico, Roberto Calvo started working with horses at 6-years-old. Early on he developed a deep passion for them with an uncanny ability to communicate on their own level.
“Horses are very intelligent, they know I’m caring for them and have their ways of telling me, they’ll say ‘Hey I’m not feeling good.’ I just tune into their language and often I can figure out what they need,” he said.
Roberto began his career as a groom in 1999 at Aqueduct, and he later worked in New Jersey and at Hollywood Park. Roberto came to Florida 2 years ago. He’s been working for Marcus Vitali for about 3-4 months.
“I really enjoy the comradery of working in Marcus’ stable. We really support one another. It’s nice,” he said.
“It’s not work. It’s a passion,” Roberto Calvo
“I really believe if you do what you love, it’s not work. It’s a passion and naturally I give it my all. But what really gives me satisfaction, is when a horse is hurting and with some patience and care I can work it back to health. That’s very satisfying.”
Naturally, I had to ask how he works his magic. He was quick to point out, “It’s not just something I observe, it’s something I feel. I try to help my fellow grooms by letting them know that the horses are smarter than people, and they deserve equal care. Hopefully I can give them some inspiration to keep them moving forward.”
Roberto added, “I want to thank God for giving me the chance to be in this job, one I love and feel great doing. I invite all my fellow grooms to wake up in a positive mood, that will keep them motivated. I tell them, ‘Enjoy the day God has given us. Do the very best we can every day and we’ll be blessed for our efforts.’”
The Florida HBPA is proud to honor Roberto Calvo as June’s Groom of the Month.
On a side note, what made my interview with Roberto special was that it was right after one of his horses, Beautyofaday, won the last race of the card at Gulfstream Park.