There are two aspects to consider, firstly the difference in the employment and secondly the difference in what you will be doing on a daily basis.
Being employed in racing
The racing industry is more progressive than the general/competition sector in terms of its employment of grooms; and this is good news for you if you decide to make the change. This video explains it all a bit more:
For those that are starting out in the practical side of the industry working with horses as a racing groom in a racehorse trainers yard, they will be protected by many of the agreements that are in place by way of the Trainer's License, issued by the British Horseracing Authority. This offers them a great deal of protection, and in that respect potentially a better working environment than that of other equestrian disciplines, such as eventing or show jumping.
The staff union National Association of Racing Staff is key in supporting stable staff in the industry and work closely with the employers National Trainers Federation to agree terms. Some of the key aspects of employment that they discuss and agree are:
Wages and Conditions
The Agreement provides for a Racing Industry Minimum Rates of Pay Structure and certain standard conditions of employment for stable staff employed by trainers in the racing industry. Further details and current rates of pay can be found on the National Association of Racing Staff website.
This is essentially the distribution of a share of a percentage of the prize money won by a horse in the yard. The stable staff in the yard agree how they want this to be fairly distributed. The payment of pool money by the trainer to the staff is governed by the Orders and Rules of Racing. Non compliance is a breach of the rules which could result in disciplinary action by the British Horseracing Authority, hence staff are protected.
Under the Rules of Racing trainers have to contribute to a pension scheme for eligible employees.
The Racing Industry Accident Benefit Scheme (RIABS)
RIABS is funded by licensed and permitted trainers and by contributions from stable staff. The scheme provides for benefits to eligible persons following accidental injury, disablement or death arising out of, whilst carrying out duties for a licensed trainer, including bona fide journeys between normal place of residence and place of work. The scheme does not cover race riding accidents or accidents, which occur while on, or travelling to and from a racecourse when engaged to ride.
The Breeding industry, whilst not regulated in the same way under license, also looks to provide excellent employment practices. The Thoroughbred Breeders Association is the only official body representing Thoroughbred Breeders in Great Britain and further details on employment can be found on their website.
The Welfare support in the industry is second to none and by having such a strong racing community goes towards creating a safe and supporting working environment. Take a look at the benefits of working in the racing industry in our Welcome to the Racing Industry video.
The BGA is the national representative body for all grooms working in the UK or British grooms abroad.