A recent H&H news story, “It’s never been harder to find a reliable groom” (news, 26 September 2013) resulted in a strong post bag — and has now prompted the British Grooms Association (BGA) to investigate the issue with a national survey.

Our article highlighted issues on both sides — from unreliable, lazy grooms quitting via text, to employers paying below the minimum wage.

The BGA is urging both grooms and employers to complete the anonymous questionnaires to provide a “realistic picture” of the industry.

“The response to the article in H&H sparked the need for us to discover the real facts,” the BGA’s Lucy Katan told H&H.

“The big letter bag received really highlighted the differing situations. Once we have facts we can focus our work on supporting and educating in the right areas. As industry we must improve to make it a more attractive career option, while giving stability to employers.”

The surveys — 1 for grooms, 1 for employers — have been compiled with Georgina Brooke-Holmes of Coventry University and Sport England.

Georgina, who is a researcher in sports management, said the surveys look at “how yards are run, and how they should be run”.

“There are a lot of anecdotes but few hard facts,” she said. “I want to have figures and compare equestrianism with other sports, with the aim of putting the horse industry in a stronger position to secure any future funding.”

To take part in the survey visit: www.britishgrooms.org.uk

This story was originally published in 16 January 2014  issue of Horse & Hound.