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The road to the Royal Mews

17th May 2024

BGA member Bethany Attwell shares her story of how she went from an eventing groom to work within the Royal Mews at Windsor.

Bethany started her career as an apprentice with BGA sponsor Haddon Training, she began working within a dressage training yard. Later, she became a traveling groom for Tom Jackson Eventing attending big events such as Le Lion, Pau, and Badminton. Now a proud Liveried Helper at the Royal Mews, Bethany is going into her third ceremonial season, and she loves it!

What made you decide to become a groom?

“I started riding at 11 years old and I fell off more times than I stayed on, mostly while riding tackless on my best friend's mother’s horse!

It took a while for my parents to take me seriously as I hadn’t stuck to any of the sports I got pulled along to with my older brothers. So, after much persuasion, I volunteered at a riding stable that catered for ‘riding for all’. I started to help with the tacking up and then riding the naughty lesson ponies, as well as having lessons myself. I was then bought an untouched pony from a sale in Ireland, my first project. My love for these animals just kept growing.”

How did your career begin and what led you to the Royal Mews?

“We had an outside dressage instructor come to the yard and she left with a new Saturday girl! A year later, when I turned 16 years old she took me on as an apprentice through Haddon Training.

Later I went on to Tom Jackson Eventing and became his travelling groom. It was a blast, crazy hours in the lorry, grooming for the most wonderful horses at the big events, including Le Lion, Pau and Badminton being core Memories!

I decided to take a break from horses to work a season on the ski slopes, so I went out to France to tick it off my bucket-list. Unfortunately my trip was cut short as I broke my back.

Once I was on my feet again, I had to re-evaluate my career, as I now didn’t know my body’s limits. I came back to work with a young event rider with a small string of horses. 18 months later I saw an advert for a groom at the Royal Mews, this led to a formal interview and ridden assessment at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace. The rest is history, I’m going into my third ceremonial season here and I love it.”

Life at the Royal Mews

“I am part of a team of six people for ten grey horses, within the Royal Mews at Windsor. I look after Milford Haven and Friary Girl.

After feeding, mucking out, brushing and washing off, we harness up/tack up for first exercise. This could be a hack, school, driving, or posting pair/team.

Once the horses are ready it’s time for us to have our first outfit change into our exercise-specific livery. Our exercises are generally an hour, so once we have finished and the horses are away, we grab a quick breakfast before the second exercise.

Once they’ve all been worked, tack cleaning starts. This includes brush polishing the harness and rubbing up all brasses that have been used, as well as the daily cleaning of the carriage.

We will groom again if there’s time before lunch, ensuring the horses get all the attention they deserve."

What is the best part of your job?

“There are lots of great bits, but getting back from a Ceremonial Duty knowing it has all gone well, and spending time with the horses, letting them know they did well too!"

Do you get involved with the Royal events?

“Yes! It might be one of the only jobs where you prepare the horse and then do the job you’ve got them ready for. We always work out a timesheet to allow enough time once the horses are ready, for us to get into our livery too, (including sometimes wearing an ancient wig!)."

Name something you have learned since working within the Royal Mews?

“Everything to do with harness work! It was a whole new world to me when I joined. Within the Mews, courses are held for each type of position on a carriage, I’ve completed courses for Outrider and Footman, Wheel Postilion Rider and Driving course. With just my Lead Postilion to go.”

Has there been a career highlight to date? Or something you are looking forward to in the future?

“I don’t think I could name just one, leading the Royal Procession as an Outrider at Royal Ascot for the first time. Outriding for the Regalia Procession at State Opening of Parliament 2023 and being a footman for the Diamond Jubilee Carriage on Coronation Day.

But my favourite memory was showing one of the late Monarch’s homebred Cleveland Bay mares at Windsor Horse Show 2022.

I enjoy being busy, so Royal Ascot week is always a highlight in my calendar, five hours in the saddle for multiple days with everyone’s eyes on you. There is always great camaraderie when we have jobs on, it is a real team effort!”

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Never go anywhere empty handed and always try and find a positive!”

What would you say to someone watching the horses in London, dreaming to be a groom one day?

“Keep an eye on the website. You can do anything you want to, if you try.”

What do you do in your downtime?

“I enjoy skiing, fitness, field sports and catching up with friends.”

Thanks to Bethany for sharing her career journey.

Bethany is a BGA member - are you?

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Posted: 17.05.2024






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