This was an easy decision for me, I knew from about the age of 15 that I wanted to be a groom and work with competition horses. Being a groom isn’t always easy but its definitely I think one of the most rewarding jobs!
So how do you become a groom?
There are a few different avenues you can explore on your journey to becoming a groom. The path I took was working evenings, weekends and holidays at a competition yard, alongside this I went to college and did a National Diploma in Equestrian Management and some of my BHS exams.
There are so many great courses available at colleges nowadays to gain recognised qualifications, they offer both classroom based learning and practical hands on experience, from part time to full time. There are so many good colleges with brilliant facilities available. I will give you a list of a few of them and some links at the bottom of the page.
However just because you complete a college course does not make you the next Alan Davies! He and all of the grooms in the industry have got to where they are through hard work, passion and determination. Yes, it’s great to go to college and gain a qualification but practical experience is also very important! My advice would be if you go to college to try and gain as much work experience in different yards handling different horses as much as possible, this will also help you to find which discipline you want to work within. Not everyone wants to be a competition groom, you might want to work in a riding school, livery yard, racing, show jumping, eventing, dressage, polo, driving a vets or setup your own yard. It will also look better on your CV; I can guarantee practical experience sways future employers a great deal.
What if college isn’t for you?
There are other ways, a lot of top riders and yards offer apprenticeship or working pupil positions, this is a great way to gain valuable experience while working in top yards and getting paid to do so, sometimes they offer the chance to gain your BHS qualifications alongside. The British Groom’s Association is a great resource to get information on this. I highly recommend any groom to join the BGA, for a small monthly fee you can get personal accident insurance and loads of great discounts, there are also forums and helpful information pages for any questions you might have about the industry.
So if you have the passion and determination to become part of such a rewarding industry then take a look at some of the links and websites below.
• Writtle http://writtle.ac.uk
• Hartpury http://www.hartpury.ac.uk/
• College of West Anglia (CWA) http://www.cwa.ac.uk/
• Oaklands https://www.oaklands.ac.uk/
• Myerscough http://www.myerscough.ac.uk/
• Sparsholt https://www.sparsholt.ac.uk/
• British groom’s association (BGA) https://britishgrooms.org.uk/
• British horse society (BHS) http://www.bhs.org.uk/
• Equine elite recruitment http://www.equineeliterecruitment.com/
• Career grooms http://careergrooms.co.uk/
• Yard and groom https://www.yardandgroom.com/
• Horse and hound http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/
• Equine careers http://www.equine-careers.co.uk/
• Careers in racing http://www.careersinracing.com/
• Facebook, look on pages dedicated to groom’s jobs