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I was speechless

BGA member and #supergroom Jade Lockwood works for Sophie Wells. Jade blogs from her first Paralympic Games in Tokyo, ahead of the para-dressage.

I started working for dressage rider Sophie in February 2020 in a work experience capacity whilst studying at Brackenhurst College. When the first lockdown came to a close, Sophie offered me a part-time job which I worked alongside waitressing.

I was working with Beth Revill (Sophie’s travelling groom at the time) who was teaching me all things grooming related from bandaging to plaiting and everything in between. In October Beth stepped down from her role and I was offered the position, which I was very happy to accept.

Shortly after this I attended Keysoe International where I did my first ever competition trot up and spent my time learning from some of the best. Their help was invaluable.

During the months leading up to Tokyo I went to many different events such as elite squad training, Kronenburg International and selection trial competitions. When it was announced that I would be grooming alongside Liz (Walsh) at Tokyo, I was speechless, shocked, excited and so grateful to have been offered such an incredible opportunity.

Before we travelled

On the 8th August all the horses went into quarantine at Holme farm in Lutterworth where we were greeted with British flags and beautiful big stables for the horses. Everything was very organised, well set out and we had the lorry emptied in 20 minutes thanks to the help of the lovely staff there.

We were in quarantine for a week before I then flew out to Tokyo. When we got to the airport there was a sectioned off area for paralympic athletes and officials. We were escorted the whole time to avoid any contact with the general public and instead of waiting at the gates we had time to relax in the British Airways lounge (thank you BA!).

Our flight took 12 hours and when we landed at Haneda airport we had to complete all the necessary Covid tests and paperwork which were required to be able to receive our accreditation and make our way to the equestrian park. Once we arrived at the park we had everything checked and started to kit out the stables with flags, drapes and banners.

The second we stepped into the park it was obvious how well thought out it all was. Everything was in close proximity meaning the horses didn’t have to walk far in the difficult climate.

The horses then arrived at 4:30am on Thursday morning so we were unloading them in the beautiful sunrise which is something I will never forget!


We kept a chart of how much water and food they were consuming during the day and our team vet was keeping a close eye on the horses the whole time. In the afternoon they had a hand graze and started to get used to their surroundings as it was still very quiet with us being only the second team of horses to arrive.

The following morning we continued their normal competition routine but trotted them up and weighed them to give us an idea of how they were moving and feeling after a couple of very long days.

The horses are all looking amazing and have travelled and acclimatised well. The stable blocks have air conditioning which is set at around 23 degrees but feels very refreshing when walking in from the outside heat. It is essential to keep all the doors shut to make sure the stables stay cool as they soon warm up if the doors are left open.

We have a lovely big space to hand graze with the options of shade under the trees and a cooling tent to desensitise them ready for training and competition cool down.

We did the first horse inspection yesterday and all of the Team GB horses looked amazing and sailed through. Tonight we had our last arena familiarisation before the competition starts tomorrow and needless to say we are all really excited and will be up early to prepare for the day ahead.

Until next time,


Image taken from JJL Equestrian.

If you'd like to join the BGA like Jade have a look at how we can support you.







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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