‘It’s life-changing’: grooms speak up on why it’s a great career

  • Grooms have been sharing the huge positives of what they do, “the best job in the world”.

    H&H has reported on the industry’s staffing crisis, and many grooms have got in touch about bad experiences, and what needs to change for equestrianism to attract and keep the best employees.

    But other grooms have spoken about why they love what they do so much.

    Abbie Salter, head girl for international eventer Jodie Amos, told H&H she started a blog about the positives of grooming, which has proved very popular.

    “There’s a bad stigma attached to being a groom,” she said. “When I started, I didn’t get paid a lot and worked long hours. I think people still think it’s like that, but it’s a good job, it’s life-changing and I’d love more people to be positive about it.”

    Abbie started as a groom aged 16. She left the industry, briefly, but it drew her back.

    “It’s a way of life, and I love it,” she said. “I adore the competition side; I love watching the horses and being away with them. You’re in this world where nothing else matters for a few days, just the horses in front of you.”

    Abbie also loves watching young horses’ progress, and being part of a team, and said the job teaches so much, not just about horses but about life skills and responsibilities.

    She added that Jodie’s yard is a good team with “the nicest bunch of owners”, and a rider who ensures her staff take time off, and that “the good definitely outweighs the bad”.

    “It’s a rarity to hear anyone talk like this about this job, and I want more people to be positive,” she said. “There isn’t a day I wake up and think I don’t want to go to work; it’s the best job in the world and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

    Ruth Asquith, who works for Nicola Wilson and won the groom of the year title at the 2022 Horse & Hound Awards, told H&H: “The job is what you make it.”

    “You have to work hard if you want to be at the top and go to the top competitions, and if you love the job and working with horses, it’s wonderful. Yes, you have to work hard but nothing in life is worth having if you haven’t had to work for it.

    “There are no straight roads in horse sport and nothing is guaranteed but that moment when you’ve worked so hard and it happens; there’s nothing like it.”

    British Grooms Association (BGA) founder Lucy Katan told H&H that, along with the years of work the BGA has put in to support grooms and reduce illegal employment practices, “we’ve always said it’s a great job”.

    “It’s disappointing when people leave the industry,” she added. “There’s some natural egress as people don’t want to do the physical, outside work, and some leave because of injury, but a large number leave because of the working conditions, and that’s what we need to stop.

    “If you enjoy the outdoor life, which is so good for physical and mental health, and love horses, what better job could there be?”

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