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The Change is Too Slow

A recent survey, conducted by the British Grooms Association (BGA), revealed that whilst there have been some positive improvements to the employment conditions of those working with horses, there is still work to be done in order to ensure that the industry is compliant.

As the Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) launches its annual Good Employment Week, these results come as a reminder that we are not yet an industry of good employment and that change is not happening quickly enough.

The ‘Groom’s Survey’, which saw over 1,000 responses, highlighted many key points including: 

  • 58% are still not paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW)
  • 61% are not paid overtime or get time off in lieu
  • 33% work a six day week, with 13% working a seven day week 
  • Only 21% of respondents receive their full annual holiday entitlement
Whilst the research shows that aspects of employment are improving within our industry, I think it is quite unthinkable that in 2020 many employers are still choosing to ignore the law.

Employing your team correctly is not a choice. Employers who need support should contact the EEA to get the help and advice they need, in order to comply with legal requirements and help abolish illegal employment.
Tullis Matson, President of the EEA

The report shows a positive improvement in number of employed grooms who now have a written statement of employment particulars (contract) has risen from 53% in 2019* to 61%, while 83% of employed grooms now get paid holiday, compared to 66% in 2019.

Working Pupils

However, the survey worryingly highlighted that those labelled as a ‘working pupil’ are being exploited with: 

  • 69% not having a written contract or issued pay slips
  • 74% are not paid the NMW
  • 75% work more than nine hours a day
  • 32% receive their training
  • Only 10% get breaks during the day

This is especially worry as 50% of working pupil respondents are under 18.

The BGA reminds employers that although the term ‘Working Pupil’ may be used to describe a position, the individual is still classed as an employee and must have all the same employment rights.

Good Employment Week takes place from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd November. For more information and business support for employers go to

If you are a groom and need help or employment advice then have a look at how we can help you.



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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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