CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 05, 2014
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How to Become a Horse Groomsman/Woman

If you love horses and can’t think of anything you’d rather do than spend your day taking care of them, a career as a horse groom might be just right for you.

What does a groom do?

Grooms are involved in all aspects of caring for their employer’s horses:

  • Provide food and water
  • Clean, brush, and trim the horses’ coats
  • Muck out the stalls and provide fresh hay
  • Clean and care for saddles, bridles, and other equipment
  • Monitor the horses’ health and report any changes or problems
  • Treat minor wounds and administer medications under the direction of a veterinarian
  • Exercise/walk the horses

Where does a groom work?

Grooms can work in a variety of places. Some of the most common include:

  • Riding schools
  • Livery yards
  • Stud farms
  • Racing yards

Grooms often work outdoors in bad weather, and the workweeks can include nighttime or weekend hours as well as overtime.

Salary 

Entry level

Median

Experienced

£10,000

£12,000

£15,000

Note: Compensation frequently includes room, board, and livery for the groom’s own horse.

What is the job outlook?

The job outlook is considered to be very good as people devote more time and money to leisure activities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field to grow at 21 percent between now and 2018, which is an above-average rate of growth.

What skills does a groom need to have?

Being a groom can be physically demanding and requires familiarity with horses:

 

  • Physically fit
  • Willing and able to work outside in all kinds of weather
  • Willing and able to work nights, weekends, and overtime as required
  • Knowledgeable of horses and their care
  • Knowledgeable of common horse ailments and injuries
  • Able to provide first aid as needed
  • Patience
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Problem-solving and organizational skills

What are the requirements and qualifications?

There are no formal requirements to become a groom. However, training and education are available and will make you more competitive. One option is to get one of the following qualifications in horse care:

  • Entry-Level Award in Assisting with Basic Care of Horses
  • Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Horse Care
  • Level 2 Award/Certificate in the Principles of Horse Care
  • British Horse Society (BHS) Stage1-2 in Horse Knowledge Care and Riding
  • Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) Riding and Road Safety Certificate
  • ABRS Riding and Horse Care Certificate
  • BHS NVQ/SVQ in Horse Care Levels 1 to 3
  • ABRS Groom’s Certificate
  • ABRS Groom’s Diploma
  • BTEC/Edexcel Diploma in Horsecare or Equine Studies (England) or SQA National Certificate in Equine Studies (Scotland)

You can also train for a specialty within the equestrian industry.

Once you’re working in the field, you can train for additional qualifications:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Racehorse Care
  • Level 3 Diploma in Work Based Racehorse Care and Management
  • Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Horse Management
  • BHS Stable Manager’s Certificate
  • ABRS Grooms Certificate
  • BHS Level 4 Diploma in Horse Knowledge, Care and Management.

A career as a groom can be a great way to get paid to do what you love. The pay might not be exceptionally high, but a lot of people are willing to make the tradeoff to work in the field. If that sounds like you, get started right now to take advantage of the burgeoning career opportunities in the field of horse grooming.

 Photo credit: freeimages

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