horse groom

How to become a horse groom

What does a horse groom do?

Horse grooms, sometimes known as stable lads/girls or stable hands, care for horses, making sure they are healthy and in good condition. If you have a real love for horses and taking care of them, then this may be the job for you. 

Daily care involves mucking out stables, providing fresh water, preparing feed and replacing bedding. Some grooms are also responsible for daily exercising of the horses. Grooming involves cleaning, brushing and sometimes clipping horses' coats. If working with show jumpers or race horses, grooms prepare horses for events, and may accompany them.

In studs and breeding yards grooms work with stallions and/or mares and foals. They may assist vets in delivering foals.

During the course of their work grooms check for any changes in the horse's condition, report any problems and follow instructions from vets when treatment is needed. They may treat minor wounds, change dressings and give medication.

Grooms working in riding schools may greet clients, lead riders out on foot and accompany them on horseback.

What's the working environment like for a horse groom?

Grooms work 40 hours a week, including early mornings, late nights and weekends. Overtime is common, as is part-time and casual work.

Conditions are cold, wet and muddy, and dust from bedding and hay can be an irritant. Protective clothing and footwear is needed.

Accommodation may be provided, but it can be basic and is often shared. The work involves travelling, so a driving licence is useful.

What does it take to become a horse groom?

To be a horse groom you should:

  • be physically fit
  • have good observational skills
  • be patient and willing to undertake routine tasks
  • be aware of health and safety issues
  • be able to work alone and as part of a team
  • have good communication skills
  • be a competent rider with experience of caring for horses, although this may not be an initial requirement for all jobs.

There are no strict guidelines when it comes to entering this profession, however experience working with horses is always a huge plus.

Opportunities may be available through an apprenticeship. Other routes to becoming a horse groom includes starting off as an assistant horse groom, doing paid or unpaid work in a stable or even gaining a qualification in horse care. 

Horse Groom Career Opportunities

There are opportunities for progression. For example, you could move on to becoming in charge of a yard with enough experience and further training. Some horse grooms move on to becoming a head groom. 

Depending on different working environments you can move on a more senior management role. So, if you work in a racing yard, you could become head lad or girl or if you're based on a stud farm you could move on to the role of stallion handler or stud manager. 

Work based in a stable could see you progress to a riding instructor.


Further information

If you would like to learn mroe about becoming a horse groom that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Association Of British Riding Schools (ABRS)
Queen's Chambers
38-40 Queen Street
TR18 4BH
Tel: 01736 369440

The British Horse Society (BHS)
Stoneleigh Deer Park
Tel: 08701 202244

British Horseracing Board
151 Shaftesbury Avenue
Tel: 020 7152 0000

The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association
British Stud Staff Training Scheme
Stanstead House
The Avenue
Tel: 01638 661321

British Racing School (BRS)
Snailwell Road
Tel: 01638 665103

Northern Racing College (NRC)
The Stables
Rossington Hall
Great North Road
South Yorkshire
DN11 0HN
Tel: 01302 861000

Lantra House
Stoneleigh Park
Nr Coventry
Tel: 0845 707 8007

Lantra career advice sites:


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