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A GROOMS LIFE BLOG

My Olympic Dream

As the Team GB grooms are getting back to normal and the Paralympic GB dressage grooms are making their own memories, the last few weeks have reminded many of us that one day being part of Team GB is possible.

We spoke to BGA member Jaydene McGourty about her dream of being a groom at the Olympic Games.

"Life as a groom and working with horses is not easy, but it is so worth it. From as early as I can remember, I was mad about horses.

Whenever I could I would miss school days to spend as much time as possible helping out at our local riding school in exchange for lessons.

  My first grooming job was in America working at a show jumping yard. I was fortunate as my aunt ran the stables, so I was able to go to the States every year and spend my summers working at a top class show jumping stud. The experience gave me the opportunity to learn and a thirst to be a top level competition groom.


I decided to go to college to do my BHS exams so that I could add teaching to my CV. Once I was qualified I worked full time in a riding school and although I enjoyed it I knew that it was not the path for me. My heart lay with being a groom. 

I packed my bags and left my home in Ireland to work in a dressage yard in the UK for eight months. It was a fantastic experience and a brilliant opportunity for me and my horse. Although moving away from home was difficult, and there have most certainly been many highs and lows, I do not regret it once; it was the best decision I have ever made and it allowed me to follow my dreams.


Being a competition groom


Being a competition groom opened up so many new opportunities and doors for me and suddenly, I was in a whole new world!

Grooming at international level is the pinnacle for me. It is so rewarding to see the horses and riders competing at the top of their sport. It is a team effort; grooms play a major role in getting the horses get to top competitions, and to be part of that is so satisfying.

I got the chance to fly with horses from Amsterdam to LA, and from there, I spent three months working in a show jumping yard in California. The competition circuit in the US is on an entirely different level; I learnt so much and enjoyed every minute of it.


When I came back to the UK I applied for a job with Luke Baber-Davies, an international dressage rider. Three and a half years later, I still work for him as his yard manager and show groom. I enjoy making sure that all the horses are getting the best care and that the days run nice and smoothly for everyone.

I enjoy working on the yard but my favourite part of what I do is still going to shows. I also love that you get the chance to spend one-to-one quality time with the horses when you are away with them.

  In 2020 I was one of the top four nominations for the Horse & Hound 'Groom of the Year Award’. This was a massive achievement for me; especially as the previous winners included my biggest inspiration, BGA Ambassador Alan Davies.


My long term goal is to groom at the Olympics. I would love to go to Paris 2024; however, if that does not happen, I will aim for LA in 2028. Grooming at the Olympics has always been my lifelong dream.

Although that is the ultimate goal being a groom has already given me so many opportunities in life that I will never forget. I have gained valuable experiences that will live with me forever. Grooming is not a job; it is a lifestyle and one that I love to the core."

Be like Jaydene and join the BGA today.

BGA MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS



BLOG ARCHIVE

 
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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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