A horse groom is responsible for the day-to-day care of horses. If you are thinking of working as a groom check out this guide to the work involved, work hours, training and qualifications needed, etc.

Duties A Horse Groom

Grooms are employed within many types of equestrian businesses such as stud farms, riding schools, livery yards, trekking centres, racing yards and the job description may vary depending on the type of business but usually a groom's duties include the following:

  • Grooming horses
  • Clipping horses
  • Feeding horses
  • Mucking out stables
  • Turning horses out and bringing in
  • Tack cleaning
  • Preparing horses for lessons, treks, exercise or competitions, etc
  • Checking the general health of the horses and treating minor injuries
  • General yard duties such as sweeping the yard, checking fences, etc

Some grooms, but not all, may also be required to exercise the horses either using a horse walker or by riding.

Working Hours Of A Horse Groom

Full time grooms usually work 40 hours a week and start early in the morning and are often required to work weekends and/or into the evenings.

Requirments Of A Horse Groom

A groom needs to:

  • be physically fit
  • be willing and able to work outside in all weather conditions
  • have a good general knowledge and experience of horse care and stable duties
  • have an awareness of horse illnesses and equine first aid

Pay And Prospects Of A Horse Groom

Grooms are paid according to their age, experience and duties.  Within larger yards there may be several grooms of different levels with one more experienced groom, known as a Head Groom, who is responsible for managing the other grooms.   Salaries vary but, as a guide, the average salary for a junior or assistant groom is around £10,000 per annum and the average salary for a head groom is in the region of £16,000 per annum.  Employers may offer accommodation, livery for own horse, riding lessons, etc as part payment.

Depending on the type of yard a groom works for, there may be prospects to train and progress into other jobs eg such as a Riding Instructor within a Riding School, an Assistant Trainer in a Racing Yard, Stud Manager with a Stud Farm, etc.

Training And Qualifications To Become A Horse Groom

Often no formal qualifications are required to become a horse groom. However, a qualification in horse care is a definite advantage to anyone wanting to become a groom so the courses and qualifications below are relevant to anyone thinking of becoming a horse groom.

  • BHS Stages 1-4 in Horse Knowledge, Care
  • EQL Levels 1-4 Diploma in Horse Knowledge and Care
  • British Horse Society (BHS) Riding Stages 1-4
  • Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) Preliminary Horse Care and Riding Certificate Levels 1-2
  • Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) Groom's Certificate
  • Scottish Vocational Qualification In Horse Care Levels 1-3
  • City & Guilds Diploma Horse Care Levels 1-3
  • BTEC/Edexcel Diploma in Horse Care or Equine Studies (England)
  • SQA National Certificate in Equine Studies (Scotland)

Candidates must be 16 years old to take the above courses and qualifications, and for BTEC/Edexcel National Diploma in Horsecare or Equine Studies (England) or SQA National Certificate in Equine Studies (Scotland) candidates must have four GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3).