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BGA Member


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Advice for freelance grooms on Coronavirus

**Please see the BGA Coronavirus page for latest advice**


This page is dated 16/03/2020 and so is out of date in many places. 

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, concerns are growing among those who are self-employed.

With the FEI halting all competitions and impending decisions from other governing bodies regarding the status of other events, many freelance competition grooms have contacted the British Grooms Association concerned about their health and their livelihoods.


It is vital to follow biosecurity guidelines to help avoid catching or spread coronavirus: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. Avoid drying your hands on a communal towel.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel when you get back into your car.
  • Avoid going to work if you are feeling unwell.
  • Self-isolate for at least seven days if you show any symptoms of coronavirus (even mild ones). If symptoms remain mild you do not need to call 111, but make sure you have made provisions for your own horse / dog (if applicable). 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand), or you cough or sneeze.
  • Put the tissue in the bin straight away and wash your hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are unwell.

  • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Eat before washing your hands.

Yard Protocols

Any yard you are working on should have biosecurity protocols in place which include asking clients / visitors to the yard to wash their hands on arrival and on leaving the premises.

Yards should ensure that you have access to soap and hand drying facilities such as disposable towels.

Minimise Face 2 Face Contact

Where possible minimise your face to face interaction with your clients, instead set up an open communication via another channel such as Whatsapp, to communicate what needs to be done each day.

If face to face communication is unavoidable take the steps above to minimise the risk and ensure that you wash your hands regular, avoid small enclosed populated spaces, and touching your face. Avoid anyone you know is feeling unwell, even if you suspect it may just be a common cold.

Limit any direct contact by emailing your invoices and asking for bacs payments instead of cash.

Loss of earnings

Freelance grooms, and especially those who would normally be travelling abroad, may see a direct impact on their loss of earnings.

Self-Employed Freelancers are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

Your BGA Insurance is a personal accident cover and thus unfortunately does not apply.

Contact your local yards and let them know that you are available to work. Some might be looking for a freelance groom to cover illness, parents needing time off if/when schools close or NHS workers may need cover for their own horses if they are unable to get home for long periods.

Use your local Facebook groups and social media platforms to share your availability. Horses do still need to be cared for.


Financial support

‘New style’ Employment and Support Allowance will be payable for people directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating according to government advice for from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth day.

People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments where they are directly affected by COVID-19 (or self-isolating), without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre. 

As there is at least a five-week wait before you get Universal Credit, you can get help from day one through a Universal Credit Advance Payment. Advance payments have to be paid back out of your Universal Credit payments, and must be paid back within 12 months.

People who need to claim Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not have to produce a fit note. Universal Credit is claimed online.

Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected. 

'Time to Pay’ arrangements - a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back – for businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax. 

HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need: 

The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 - and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. 


Stuck abroad?

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).


As the coronavirus continues to spread keep up to date with advice from the NHS who has detailed information on staying safe, and symptoms.

The BEF will issue regular statements from Member Bodies regarding their standing on the situation and events.

How to get through this

There is no point in saying this time won’t be tough – it will be, and for a variety of reasons. But we will, as an equestrian community, stand by each other and get through this and it won’t last for ever.

If you are concerned, or feeling anxious then talk to friends and colleagues, who may be feeling the same. Your mental health and well-being is just as important as your general health and don’t forget if you need support have a look at Grooms Minds. It’s OK not to be OK.

Now is the time to start making small changes and budgeting your income for the next few months to come. Do you really need that luxury item, or can it wait until everything has settled down again? Can you reduce any of your outgoing bills, or cut down on non-essentials?

The BGA is here to help and support its members, so get in touch if you need any further advice.  

Above all remember to be safe and be courteous. Whilst you yourself may not be at high risk there will be many people around you who are. 

Make sure any elderly relatives and neighbours have what they need in terms of food and that their dogs are walked etc, and avoid bulk buying. 

This is a concerning time for many, but we must all work together to minimise the spread and the impact on the economy.











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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