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From Apprentice to Freelance Groom

5th February 2024

It's National Apprenticeship Week, a time to celebrate not only the current students but also those amazing grooms who came up through the ranks as an apprentice.

Today's success story features BGA member, Ellie Roe, who showcases the pathway from apprentice to freelance event groom.  

“I first joined the BGA when I started an apprenticeship with Haddon Training, where I completed a Level 2 course while working with Tom Crisp.

The skills I learned allowed me to continue my career path and after finishing my qualifications, I went to work on a showjumping yard with Liz Howes.

In the next stage of my development, I decided to go freelance, and I haven’t looked back since. I am currently working at Francis Whittington’s yard.

Starting out freelancing can be a scary thought, but the BGA has everything you need. From business advice, important documents, and even a Client Contract Creator.

Although a career with horses can be tough, it is rewarding. I made some of my best friends during my apprenticeship, and I even got to groom at Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials which has been amazing!”


“An important thing to remember is not to be shy about asking questions - ask as many as you can. Everyone is always so willing to help so don’t be afraid to ask.”


Do you have a funny story you can share with us?

“At events, I will sleep in the back of the lorry on an inflatable mattress. There was this occasion when we had been away for a few nights and the mattress had been slowly deflating. On the last night, it started raining heavily and the skylights were open in the back of the lorry. I remember Francis running in to close them and she stood on the mattress which sent me flying!”


Would you recommend the BGA?

“Yes, I would, the BGA has been so helpful at every stage of my career, from apprentice to employed groom to freelance groom, the BGA has been there the whole way.

The BGA team are always so helpful and make everything straightforward. 

When I broke my arm a few years ago, the KBIS insurance I have with my BGA membership was very much appreciated, everything was so easy to sort out, and the money I received really helped.”


Thanks Ellie for telling us about your career journey and showing your success from a Haddon Training Apprentice to Freelance Event Groom. 



The BGA is your organisation that supports, represents, and champions the career of all grooms. 

If you're not a member yet, find out more about the benefits and 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