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Horse groom Stable hand, stable lad or lass

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Horse grooms look after horses’ everyday needs, and make sure they’re healthy and in good condition.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £10,000 to £16,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but experience of working with horses will be valuable.

You could:
• start as an assistant groom
• do paid or unpaid work in a stable
• take a qualification in horse care, like those offered by the British Horse Society (BHS) and the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS)

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship

You can also do pre-apprenticeship courses at racing schools and colleges, and specialist training in the horse breeding industry.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • good observational skills
  • patience
  • good communication skills
  • competence in riding

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • giving horses food and water
  • replacing bedding
  • cleaning equipment like saddles and bridles
  • cleaning, brushing and clipping horses' coats
  • mucking out stables
  • monitoring the condition of horses and reporting problems
  • treating minor wounds, changing dressings and giving some medications
  • following instructions from vets when treatment is needed
You may also be responsible for exercising the horses each day.

If you work with show jumpers or race horses, you’ll prepare them for events.

In studs and breeding yards you’ll work with stallions, mares and foals, and may help vets to deliver foals. 

In riding schools you may greet clients, lead riders out on foot, and accompany them on horseback.

4. Salary

Starter: £10,000

Experienced: £12,000

Highly Experienced: £16,000

Some employers may provide you with accommodation and food. Some may also offer free stabling for your own horse along with riding lessons.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 40 hours a week, including early mornings, late nights and weekends. 

Overtime is often available, and you may be able to do part-time work, casual work or work on a freelance basis.

You’ll need to be prepared to work in cold, wet and muddy conditions.

You’ll wear protective clothing and footwear.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and further training, you could take charge of a yard or become head groom. 

In a racing yard, you could progress to head lad or girl, travelling head lad or girl, or to assistant trainer or trainer.

On a stud farm, you could become a stud groom, stallion handler or stud manager. 

If you work in a riding stable you could become a riding instructor.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018