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Goal setting, furlough and staying positive

Regular BGA blogger and freelance groom Carly O’Brien chats about goal setting, furlough and staying positive.

Have you made any New Year resolutions or goals for 2021?

What 2020 has taught me is that I need to make sure I get the work-life balance right. As a freelancer I find it very hard to say no or to make sure that I have a day off.

Its OK to say no

I’m starting to realise that it is OK to say no and it’s OK to have time off. Your mind and body needs it to recover, replenish and recharge.

2020 was a very strange year but being furloughed from my role as an instructor at the riding school meant that I had more free time to do a bit more freelance work and just relax.

I used this time to work on my social media presence, work on my mind-set and work towards learning more. I really enjoyed the BGA e-learning courses and have also been listening to lots of inspiring podcasts.

One of my goals this year is to make sure that I have two days off a week and give myself more holiday time. If I was in an employed role, it would be entitled too so it should be the same when you’re self employed too.

  As my parents always say, ‘work smart not hard’ and I had forgotten that until 2020. I was working so much and squeezing in so many clients in one day.
I’d spend the entire time running around, rushing from place to place and at the end of the day I didn’t feel any better for it and I can still survive without having to do so much! 

With the new lockdown, I have become furloughed again from the riding school. Luckily enough, my regular customers are still needing to go to work themselves so they need my services.

Again I have some more free time so it’s a perfect time to utilise these into positive outlets. So I’m give joined a mind-set group on Facebook and I’m looking at developing my business.

  I have plans to launch another service as a virtual assistant. So I have time to research, prepare and launch this properly during lockdown.

I hope one of your resolutions/goals this year is to look after yourself and remember that it’s OK to say no sometimes.

It might feel tough at the moment but focus on what you can do – not what you can’t. If you haven’t set any resolutions then why not invest in yourself by learning a new skill, going for a run, work on your mind-set or expand your business?”

Carly x







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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