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Have you experienced burnout?

BGA member and freelance groom Bria Cummins shares what she is doing differently as a freelance groom the second time around.

Huge demand for Bria’s services led to an 18-month break, due to experiencing burnout. Bria has learnt to set healthy boundaries, now she is flourishing with a successful business.

Bria didn’t come from a family whose finances could afford her a pony, so she was very grateful, at the age of 12, when her mum's friend said she could ride her horse, Holly.

Like all of us horsey fanatics, the seed was sown and there was no turning back!


How long have you been working with horses?

“I learnt so much with Holly and soon went on to help at the riding school. Later, while still at school, I was very fortunate to pick up some weekend work in a small livery yard for some pocket money, which helped me learn the basics. I then worked at Pachesham Equestrian Centre until I was 17. This is where I learnt to work hard and how competition venues were ran behind the scenes. I truly believe working here made my career.

I studied at Merrist Wood College as well which gave me experience teaching and develop my riding skills. After college, I worked at various yards, but by the age of 22 I decided that I didn't want to work for other people anymore. I decided to branch out on my own and build a freelance business.”


WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST experience as a freelancer LIKE?

“I didn't expect it to take off the way it did. I built up a huge clientele and covered Surrey, Sussex and Kent, offering services from 7-day full livery with bespoke packages to holiday covers. On top of this, I offered training courses for riders and horses, and I ended up hiring staff to support me on a day-to-day basis.


I did this for 5 years but ended up feeling very deflated as staff would let me down regularly. I ended up working 7-day weeks with 16-hour days and, as a groom, I didn’t feel appreciated for much of my work. This led to my mental health deteriorating. I the horse that I had been bringing on was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to be PTS which is when I decided to give it all up.”


I sold everything and went into recruitment for 18 months in 2018. In March 2020, I came back to the horse world due to Covid, working on some yards to help out. I got a taste for horses again and rebuilt what I had, but on a smaller scale!


How different your business LOOK the second time around?

“It's now just me on my own offering holiday covers and training for my clients. I no longer offer 7 day a week livery as I learnt before that prioritising my working life balance is crucial.


I also now have a small yard of my own where I offer livery and have my own 2 horses, although I am still busy. I pride myself on being trustworthy and always turning up for my clients and their horses, I believe this is how I keep them coming back!”


I am proud that I have now grown and learnt how to say no to clients and put myself and my own horses first this time round. Which I encourage all younger enthusiastic equestrians to try and put in place as well.


The change


I make sure that if I am starting early and finishing late, I have time to sit and have a lunch break. I make sure I have time to ride my own horses every day. And I make sure I book out days off months in advance to spend time with family and friends. These dates are sent out to clients in emails monthly so as everyone is fully aware of my availability.”


Who (horse or human) has been your biggest inspiration with regards to your career?

 “Linda York at Pachesham Equestrian Centre. She probably doesn’t know it, but she taught me how to work under pressure and how a yard should be run at a young age, this has always stuck with me!” 


How do you relax away from work?

“I enjoy a good day out at the races it's my favourite thing to do. I go to the gym to make sure that all the heavy lifting doesn't kill me off and I am always up for going out for good food!!


What is your favourite PART ABOUT BEING A BGA MEMBER?

“The insurance stood out to me, and I like the fact that I am a part of an association I can turn to for advice when needed. I also love all the training and online tools, this really looks good for clients too.”



Some great advice there from Bria. We would like to thank her for sharing her story. Burnout is a real issue for freelance grooms and it is important to manage workloads to prevent it.

You can follow Bria on her Instagram page; BC Equine.



Need support?

Our Grooms Minds online resource is dedicated to supporting the mental health and well-being of BGA members.

The life of a groom can be complex, and so this bespoke project aims to support all that work with horses.

There is a library of information available plus a Groom’s Minds support line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a trained helper is always ready to talk to you.


Belong to your professional association!



Be part of a community of grooms, just like you. 

If you would like to become a BGA member, have a look at our membership options, from £25.50 per year. 








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