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Jargon buster 

Your son or daughter announces that they want to work with horses, but you have no equestrian background and so no idea what all the jargon means! 

Here is our guide to some of the most commonly used terms in the equestrian industry: 

Groom: A person who cares for and looks after horses on a daily basis to ensure that they remain healthy, happy and in good condition. Grooms may also be responsible for exercising the horses and if in a competition, hunting or racing yard will prepare horses for events and may accompany them. In studs and breeding yards, duties will include working with stallions, mares and foals and assisting with foaling. A groom’s job can be varied and often comes with a level of responsibility.

Employee: An individual who works part-time or full-time under a contract of employment, whether oral or written, express or implied, and has recognised rights and duties.

Employer: A person or organisation that employs people.

Freelance groom: Is a person who is self-employed, runs their own business and has more than one client. They have made this decision themselves. 

Working pupil: A term used in the equestrian industry which implies that training is given in return for work on the yard. It is important to note that this is not a legal term and a working pupil is entitled to the same employment rights as an employee.

Self-employed: You are only self-employed if you decide to be yourself. Being self-employed means that you run your own business and have more than one client. Think of a self-employed groom in the same way as a gardener who may have many clients and they decide when they can come to do a job for you. It is illegal to tell someone that they are self-employed when in fact they are an employee.

Work placement/experience: Colleges often run a scheme where students get the opportunity to work in a yard for a short period of time. This is more often than not in a voluntary scenario and it is rare for someone to be paid for a work placement. It is recommended that all the facts are discovered prior to the first day.

Travelling Groom: One of the more exciting ways to work with horses is to be a competition travelling groom. The hours can be exceptionally long, but the experiences can be very rewarding. Ensure that if travelling abroad that a BGA Travel Insurance policy is purchased.

Live in: This is a common term for when a job is offered with accommodation. Always check the standard of living quarters before accepting a position.

Livery: When a horse is kept at a yard the service that is provided to look after it is known as 'livery'. There are strict rules regarding livery and ensuring that the salary doesn't fall below the National Minimum Wage. 

Is there any jargon that your son or daughter talks about that you don't understand?

Please do email us at if you have suggestions of further jargon we can add to this list!




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