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A GROOMS LIFE BLOG

If I said I've found lockdown easy I'd be lying.

We caught up with Natalie Sharp, travelling groom for two Japanese Riders; Toshiyuki Tanaka and Ryuzo Kitajima, who was on track to go to the Olympics. Until Coronavirus hit.

"Day 102 since the first event was cancelled (not that I've been counting). At last, the event season is about to start again so what a good time to reflect on the last three/four months and how Covid-19 has turned our biggest and most important year upside down.

  I had never been more excited for an event season to start, this was the year I'd waited for my whole life, and worked so hard for - the Olympic Games.

Not only was it looking like I'd get the opportunity to go to Japan but incredibly be there grooming for the home team. An eventing plan had been made that would take us to June, then a month on from that we'd be packing ready to leave for Tokyo.

We were fortunate enough to get a couple runs in at the start of the season which included securing a win in the 4*S at Barroca, Portugal. Coming back home on such a high we were oblivious of how seriously covid-19 was affecting England.

Having such an exciting schedule planned and it then coming to a 'square halt' was extremely hard to come to terms with. The first thought to go through my head was - what's going to happen to the Olympics?

If I said I've found lockdown easy I'd be lying.

I mean who can honestly say they have? It's such a strange mind set to be in, you don't know if you have something to look forward to or not. No one knows what's happening. What do you do with the horses? Should my riders fly home? Am I at risk of being furloughed?

So many questions with no real answers. Luckily my employers were incredible and looked after us so well, however it was difficult not to slip into a real state of feeling lost. I'm sure most grooms can relate and have felt this way at some point in the past 12 weeks.

  You spend all winter looking forward to the season starting, seeing your friends and watching all your hard work come together - so having that pulled out from underneath you was harsh.

However, we are so lucky to be based at Angela Tuckers, Toshi and Sabu could carry on training and keep the horses ticking over until we had news of what was going to happen and a decision on the Olympics running.


Regaining motivation is so important; there’s no point sitting around feeling sorry for yourself when everyone else is in the same position, yet it’s easy to think you’re completely alone.

You must stay positive and look forward to what’s to come, but also think back to what you have already achieved. You’ll remember something that will give the push you need to want it again and maybe even become a better groom.

My favourite thing to look back on would be my time at the test event in Tokyo last August. It’s hard to put into words how a specific occasion has made me feel, I mean what other job would give you the chance to fly to Japan, accompanied by a couple of your best friends, watch two of your horses jump double clear - one finishing with a silver medal, and alongside this also being allowed to experience the Japanese culture?

Even just writing about it makes me excited and want to do it all over again.

So after all these weeks of uncertainty things are moving forward again. We are optimistic that the Olympics will take place in Tokyo next summer. So I’ve got no excuse not to be speaking fluent Japanese by then!"

Natalie x

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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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