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Is it time for a Grooms Charter?

BGA Executive Director, Lucy Katan, explains

"I am a firm believer that ‘change’ comes about from those gatherings where industry representatives come together, debate and discuss a topic, resulting in clear actions, advocacy, and well-delivered campaigns.

Whilst lone wolf campaigners are admirable, they are unlikely to achieve much traction.

The BGA is a Member Body of the British Equestrian Federation and has played its part in the production of the new ‘Charter for the Horse.’  We attended all the meetings, fed in where appropriate to the content and represented you, our members, the grooms, on this important development.

Arguably, no one loves and cares for our four-legged friends better than the professional groom; it is their career focus after all. Most grooms care for their horses better than they do for their own wellbeing!

Horse welfare is so topical at the moment and rightly so. We must maintain our social license to do what we love.

  However, should there also be a Charter for the workforce – a ‘British Equestrian Groom’s Charter’?

The FEI has already decided that this is needed and will be launching its version shortly, which our friends at the International Grooms Association (IGA) have fed into.

Horse welfare and human welfare go hand in hand. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we would admit that in certain pockets of our industry, sports horse welfare is not as it should be…. The good news is that this has now formally moved up the agenda and has a firm spotlight on it.

And, if we were honest with ourselves again, we would admit that in far too many yards, human welfare is also not as it should be…. focusing on the lack of employment legislation compliance and the far too often underpayment of the National Minimum Wage, plus some bullying, coercive control and the odd case of harassment thrown into the pot.

Worryingly, despite the constant drive from the BGA since its formation 17 years ago, bad employment is still far too commonplace in our industry. It is a disgrace and must stop; it is so damaging to our workforce.

When I first had the vision of the BGA I had no idea what a ‘social entrepreneur’ was. I was however determined that the organisation would be a social enterprise – to make the groom's world a better place. Seemingly, as the founder, this meant that I was now termed a social entrepreneur!

I take this job title very seriously and yes, I do want to see the groom's world become one of only Good Employment.

  The equestrian industry is a changing place. ‘Social license’, and some of the discussions that have been had as a result of this critical piece of work, would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

The culture of our sport and the way that its workforce is employed are also on the change. Never before have I felt more hopeful that we are finally on the right path.

That phrase, “That is just how it is with horses”, it must become banished to Room 101!

However, it will still take time. The BGA is your professional association and although I can’t share the details of our confidential meetings, I reassure our members that we are representing you at the highest level to drive long lasting change.

I wish there had been a BGA when I was a groom. Sadly, there wasn’t any support for me. But there is now, and this is great news because this is the method for modernisation.

Of course, the more grooms we have as members, the louder the voice. So, if you are reading this and haven’t yet joined…. please take this moment in time to step over the line and become a member, along with 1000s of grooms just like you.

We will make our industry a place of only Good Employment, please do join us on the journey."

Thanks to Lucy for sharing these wise words. 



Our vision is for the equestrian industry to have Good Employment practice as standard, and be a great place for grooms to work. We continue our mission to promote, support, educate and lobby, as the grooms representative body, on the importance of Good Employment.

We wish for our BGA members to only ever work in professional, caring, viable businesses where the legalities are adhered to and wellbeing is paramount.



Play your part and be the change, join your professional association to help us work towards a future where Good Employment is the norm.

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

If you are not a member yet, please join to help us make the equestrian industry a place of only Good Employment.

Be part of the change - JOIN NOW.








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