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A GROOMS LIFE BLOG

I still feel really upset about what happened

BGA member issues warning about the importance of looking after yourself.

"Following on from the **it happens insurance campaign I wanted to get in touch to share my story as I still feel really upset about what happened to me.

I worked on a competition yard and I absolutely loved my job. I got on with my boss and the rest of the team really well.

One day I got kicked in the head whilst turning a horse in the field. I had a chain and lunge line on the horse, I was wearing gloves, but I wasn’t wearing a hat.

There was an unspoken culture on the yard that if you wore a hat it meant that you were ‘scared’ of the horses. My boss regularly rode without a hat and no one else wore one so I didn’t either.

  When I got kicked I fell to the floor, everything went blurry and I felt sick and dizzy.


My boss was great at the time and drove me to the hospital where the doctor took a quick look and said he couldn’t feel anything wrong and I was fine to go home.

We went back to the yard and I sat with ice on my face for the huge amount of swelling. I asked my boss if we needed to fill in an accident report form and what I needed to do and she just shrugged it off and said we would see how I felt in the morning.

I spent the rest of the day in the house (I also lived in).

  The next morning I went out onto the yard despite feeling really quite unwell. I didn’t want to let anyone down by not working as I knew it would leave everyone else short.

The Head Lad was really nice and told me to take it easy and just do some lighter jobs such as tack cleaning with no handling of the horses. I muddled through the day trying really hard to put a brave face on.

 

Later that night when we were all back in the house (we all lived in together) the Head Lad made a comment that my boss was unhappy that I had only done some light jobs, and had apparently said ‘why didn’t I just get signed off instead of being at work and not doing the job properly. The Doctor had said there is nothing wrong with her anyway.’

I was really hurt because I’d always had a great working relationship with everyone and I had being trying my best not wanting to let everyone down completely. My head really hurt, my face was so swollen, I was black and blue and I knew I shouldn’t really be at work anyway.

 

  I felt really trapped and not wanting to upset my boss I went back to work the next day doing my usual yard duties.

In hindsight it was far too soon and I ended up being really unwell part way through the day, so I self certified some time off.


My boss was really quite abrasive with me and made me feel like I was making it all up. She then started to leave me out of conversations and blanked me – it was like I wasn’t there.

The next day I didn’t appear on the yard, which I had told everyone, and I had a text from my boss asking me if I could at least go in and muck out.

I said I couldn’t I was still feeling terrible, to which she was not impressed. This put me into a spiral of worry that I was making the pain in my head up and I was being soft, it was a dark few weeks.

I went back to work after two days off and I was really shaken up. Even though I was jumpy and afraid of the horses I tried my best. I wore a hat when turning out to which my boss said, ‘Why are you wearing a hat? Are you afraid of the horses? Maybe you should look for somewhere else to work if that’s the case?’

The reality was yes, I was, but I was too scared of her reaction to say that. I got very upset at the hostility over trying to be safer about my health and the fact that actually previously we had gotten on very well. I stayed in my job for another few months but things were never the same. 

 
When I finally plucked up the courage to leave she started hurling abuse at me and said that she wouldn’t ever train me etc.

I felt so alone, I had no money, no house, no job, but luckily I had a really supportive partner who is from outside of the equestrian industry and kept reminding me that this isn’t ‘normal’. 


I’m still upset by it but I wanted to share my story in the hope that it might help other grooms out there.

It’s so important to have a network of people you can trust and the team at the British Grooms Association are great for offering unbiased support over the phone if you need it.

I think my advice to any groom would be to never feel trapped, there is always a way out of it. If you get hurt take the time you need and don’t feel pressured. I tried my best at the detriment to my own health and in the end it wasn’t worth it.

Having insurance also gives you that added reassurance that if you were to get insured you don’t need to not take time off because of financial reasons.

If you find yourself in a similar situation then make detailed notes of what it happening so that if it ever comes back to haunt you have your facts straight. And speak to someone to get the support you need."

Thank you to our BGA member for sharing her story.

Find out more about personal accident insurance.

BGA MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS

 

 

 

 



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What the personal accident policy covers you for:

  • Whilst at work
  • All stable duties – mucking out, grooming, washing off, turning out
  • Clipping
  • Riding – including hacking and jumping
  • Hunting
  • Lunging
  • Breaking in
  • Holding horse for a vet and other procedures
  • Travelling horses both in the UK and abroad
  • Competing in line with your job including: jumping, dressage, eventing
  • Injuries that may happen to you whilst you are teaching - but you must also be grooming as part of your duties and not be a sole instructor

What the personal accident policy doesn’t cover you for:

  • Riding in a race, point to point or team chase
  • Stunt Riding
  • Accidents occurring whilst travelling to and from work
  • Riding and competing your own horse (but you can upgrade when applying for membership to include this)
  • Public Liability – this is a separate insurance policy - the Freelance Groom Liability Insurance
  • Care Custody and Control – this is a separate policy - the Freelance Groom Liability Insurance

If you require additional cover then please contact KBIS directly.

   GROOM  RIDER  EMPLOYER

When you are working for other people you do most of the following; muck out, turn out/catch in, tack up, groom horses, exercise Horses (including hacking, jumping and schooling), in the care of your employer/client.

 
YES

 
NO

 
NO

Predominantly ride horses for other people including schooling, exercising and competing.   
NO
 
YES

YES
 Provide grooming services for someone else either full time or on a freelance basis i.e. an employer or a client.   
YES

NO

NO
Employ staff – have an employers liability policy in your name NO NO YES
Buy and sell horses NO YES YES
 
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