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Jenny Hooch

BGA Member


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Grooms concerned about travelling

With reports that many riders and grooms are still planning on travelling abroad for the Sunshine Tour, despite government advice not to travel ‘unless for work’, the BGA are warning grooms to be aware of the situations that they may find themselves in following both new COVID restrictions and Brexit.

France, Spain and Portugal have banned non-essential travel to non-nationals and those legally resident and the BGA is concerned that many grooms may not get to their destinations, if they do set off.

The FCDO currently allows travel abroad for work purposes, however this might change if another lockdown is announced this evening. 

However, the country of origin from the port (France, Spain and Portugal), each now has its own restrictions due to the new variant of coronavirus. In the case of France, the exceptions for travel are quite clearly listed on the French Embassy guidance.

It would be ‘grey’ that a horsebox travelling with horses is counted as “Foreign nationals transporting goods internationally".

Please be aware that you will be travelling with a risk as it would completely depend on the customs officer at the port as to their view and interpretation on this line – with every possibility that you would be refused entry to France.

Each country also requires a negative COVID test 72 hours before travel, check the rules pre this well in advance. 


Not resolved yet

More critically, at the moment the vehicles Type 2 Authorisation for Journey's over 8 hours approval and the driver/grooms Certificate of Competence in the Welfare of Transporting Horses (CPC) are not valid in the E.U.

So for this reason travelling abroad is strongly advised against, as you will be doing so illegally.

This could result in the vehicle being impounded and substantial fines.

Of course all travelling to Spain/Portugal or France must have an operator’s license for their vehicle, otherwise they will not be fulfilling the FCDO requirement of 'travelling for work purposes' only. 

There is work behind the scenes to resolve this matter, succinctly to get the UK versions recognised in the E.U.

The BGA advises for all grooms to wait for further guidance regarding their CPC qualification and avoid taking any further versions of the qualification for now as it might be an unnecessary spend of money.

In addition, travel insurance companies are refusing to cover grooms and riders working abroad as travel is against government guidelines.

The good news is that holders of the EIHC health care card will still be treated when in the EU in an emergency, and this now becomes the GHIC Card and can be applied for as of today; but this does not cover additional treatment, or critically repatriation back to the UK – hence travel insurance is strongly advised.

“We have had a large number of grooms contact us over the past few weeks worried about travelling to the Sunshine Tour, with many stating that their employers have told them they must travel abroad or face losing their jobs.

This is concerning on many levels with a severe negative impact on mental health in addition to the obvious risk factor of travelling against FCDO advice in the current pandemic.

Our advice to grooms and riders is to be very aware of the current climate and the situations that you may find yourself in.”

Chief Executive of the BGA, Lucy Katan

For more information on the EHIC and new GHIC care click here

For information on travel to Spain go to: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain

For information on travel to Portugal go to: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal

For information on travel to and through France go to: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france.

For support for grooms go to www.britishgrooms.org.uk




Back to news home


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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