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BGA issues urgent advice for grooms going abroad

Travel advice for grooms going aboard – BE AWARE!

It has been well publicised that on the 1st January some key changes will be brought in due to the UK leaving the European Union (EU).

The implications for any groom who travels into Europe for work purposes are significant and the British Grooms Association (BGA) urges all grooms to be aware as you WILL be impacted.

At the time of typing (17/12/20), we still have no idea if there is to be a trade deal with the EU; there are just 15 days to go.


If no deal happens, then grooms (and riders) must be aware that there will certainly no longer be an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). 

This means that as of the 1st January you will not get free access to healthcare in Europe – therefore travel insurance is an absolute requirement if you are leaving the UK. 

In any case, even if there is a deal and the EHIC remains, an EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. Take out travel insurance before your trip.

As a groom, you will be working abroad and so the majority of online travel insurances (non working policies) are invalid. They would be a chocolate tea pot at the time you would most need them and are a waste of money.

The first question the claims adviser would ask is what were you doing in Europe? If your answer is on holiday, then you would be asked for proof of your accommodation… See the point?

The BGA has a comprehensive policy which does cover you for when you are working abroad and we strongly advise that all grooms, riders and those that travel abroad for work purposes has it. Get it here

Right, now here comes the Coronavirus twist…

At time of typing the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to most of Europe. See here for Spain and Portugal.

This is what the insurance providers say regarding essential travel: 

Unfortunately the insurers definition of work does not include sporting activities as they do not provide essential services to the general public or businesses.

Whilst we appreciate people wanting to travel there is nothing that would persuade insurers to accept competition riding/show jumping or grooms as essential work.   

Anyone who has travelled against FCDO advices will not be covered by their policy. 


So right now, even if you have travel insurance, it would be invalid. 

Which means that for any groom (or rider) who is planning to travel to Sunshine Tour, or is already in Spain or Portugal, is there with absolutely no health care protection.

Who is going to pay for medical costs?

The BGA is very concerned about the well-being of grooms who will be travelling abroad, maybe without little choice to do so, and feels that this issue must be raised.

It is also important to note that this issue is not just applicable to grooms, but also riders. 

As well as the insurance issues anyone now travelling to Europe must have six months remaining on their passport, or you will not be allowed to travel.

90 in 180 days

And here comes another spanner in the works… 

It is also important to note that if you have been abroad for more than 90 days out of 180 days, then you may not be allowed to travel.

You will get to the passport check and the computer system will say ‘No/Non/Nein/Nee’. Grooms will have to be super organised with their days abroad or risk being turned around at the point of exit.

You will now no longer be allowed to base yourself in Europe without a work visa, which as far as we understand at the time of writing will not be given. 

These rules might be different to transporters who may go to the venue, deliver horses and return home. However, this is very different to the groom who is staying out there and therefore will not be exempt from these regulations.

In addition the 90 out of 180 days will also include your own personal holiday use, so don’t forget this when arranging your own personal holidays.

There is no doubt that this will have a detrimental impact on the freedom of the travelling groom and the opportunities available.

If you are an employer needing support have a look at the Equestrian Employers Association. 


If you are travelling for work in the New Year make sure you stay up to date.


Back to news home


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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