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What Christmas Means to Me...

BGA Ambassador Lucy Blain, also known for her cromwellandlucy blogs on what Christmas means to her.

People often say they felt sorry for grooms over Christmas. I’d always get the sympathetic head tilt and hand on the shoulder, as these people knew that Christmas Day (along with every other holiday) doesn’t mean anything for a groom.

Grooms are the Cinderella’s of the horse world and Christmas is certainly brings no exception to this title.

As everyone is out shopping and spending time with their loved ones, we are mucking out, washing legs and searching for thrown shoes in the pitch black, wondering why we made the life choices we did.


I have always been a Christmas lover....

So when I became a groom, my festive cheer came to a grinding halt when I wasn’t able to decorate the tree on the 1st December as I had done ever since I can remember, because I was wading through mud in the dark, torch in my hand, trying to find a horse who thought jumping out of the field was a good laugh.

As I became a more seasoned groom, December was always a blur. I’d still be catching up on sleep after a manic season eventing and would be getting twitchy looking at the event horses who were resembling small mammoths wearing their winter woollies.

In between scrubbing legs and attempting to brush dried mud out of manes without getting any in my eyes/mouth (a notable talent I feel!), I’d be making mad dashes into town for late night shopping wearing jodhpurs and wellies in the hope that inspiration would hit me as soon as I walked into a shop… it never happened.

My family didn’t see me for 8 months of the year whilst we were out eventing, so surely me being at home for Christmas constituted a pretty good present!?


Then came the yard Christmas party, the only day of the year you put any form of effort into your appearance and as a result, your boss and clients walk straight past you because they don’t recognise this clean individual that didn’t smell like or resemble a muck heap. 

It was always a source of hilarity to kick start a great night which inevitably involved too much alcohol and some pretty hefty regrets the next morning as you lean over the wheelbarrow for the fourth time, feeling like you’d been hit by a bus. 

Christmas is about spending time with people you love, and I always extended that too animals too.

I’d always roll my eyes as I looked at the blank space on the yard rota for 25th December, along with a host of ‘’sorry I can’t work, I’m doing family stuff’’ texts in my phone.

I never minded, I loved seeing all the horse’s happy little faces on Christmas morning, plus you got to raid the presents from the clients first which I always found to be a huge upside to working on the big day. 

I would always be the first to chalk my name up to work Christmas Day.

I loved working on the only day of the year that you could get peace and quiet on the yard – no clients to keep happy by chatting for an hour when you had hours’ worth of work to do, no staff complaining that they were cold when they had chosen an OUTDOOR job (the logic!?), no horses in the wrong stables or wearing the wrong rugs…just lovely peace and quiet accompanied by the sound of happy horses munching hay. Bliss.


Christmas was more than a holiday for me, it was a time to reflect on the amazing year we had had.

The rosettes, the huge road trips to the other end of the country for events, the days spent in the sunshine (getting burned!) running around cross-country courses and then that warm fuzzy feeling that made you a little teary as your rider came home with that double clear they had worked so hard for. 

Working over the Christmas period can be hard, when staff numbers deplete rapidly and it feels like everyone else is on holiday apart from you, but working with horses is so much more than a job. It’s a vocation, a lifestyle that we commit too when we decide to dedicate our days to these animals.

I always go to bed on Christmas Day knowing that, even though it’s tough and there are days that you really want to cry (and days that you really do cry), you have one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Lucy x

You can join Lucy and become a BGA member today. 









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.


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.




Predominantly ride horses for other people including schooling, exercising and competing.   

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


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

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