What’s the job?
Who would I be working for?
Any of the hundreds of racehorse trainers in the UK.
What do they do?
Grooms look after the horses in stables, making sure the animals are fed and watered, healthy and have a clean stable to sleep in.
What sort of work is involved?
- Feeding horses and making sure they have plenty of water to drink.
- Cleaning and brushing horses, and trimming their hair.
- Mucking out stables, which means getting rid of the horses’ poo and dirty bedding (straw or something similar).
- Cleaning and maintaining equipment like saddles.
- Working with a vet to report any health problems that your horses develop, and following the vet’s advice about how to treat and manage those problems.
- Exercising horses. This could include riding them or guiding them as they do other forms of training, such as low-impact exercise in a pool.
What skills do I need?
- Knowledge of a horse’s daily needs.
- A willingness to work in cold, dark and muddy conditions. You might have to start very early in the morning (such as 6am), even on freezing winter days. However, the flip side is that you get to work outside on nice spring, summer and autumn days, too!
- Horses are big animals with big poos, so you need to be able to handle cleaning it up!
- Good communication skills, so that you can deal with trainers, vets and any visitors to the stables.
- Horses won’t always do what you want them to do, so you need to show patience and compassion with the animals you look after.
What qualifications do I need?
There are no set qualifications and more than one way of getting into this kind of job. Some people start off just by helping out at stables when they’re young and then working their way up, while others might go for an apprenticeship. There are also stable staff courses you can take at places such as the Northern Racing College in Doncaster (http://northernracingcollege.com/) and the British Racing School in Newmarket (https://www.brs.org.uk/).
What hours would I work?
Working with racehorses can mean some very early mornings, late nights and weekend work, so it’s not a standard 9-5 kind of role!
Where would I work?
There are racehorse trainers all over the UK, so you could end up just about anywhere. See if there’s one near you in this interactive map: https://www.britishhorseracing.com/racing/participants/trainers/trainers-map/
How much would I get paid?
Until you work your way up, being a groom won’t make you rich, but if you love horses it will be rewarding. It’s hard to give a guide because wages vary a lot in the industry, and many jobs can also include things like accommodation, food, a bonus scheme and pension.
Can I do work experience?
Yes. Lots of stables take people on, so get in touch with any near you to see what they offer. You could also ask your teachers to see if your school has any links with nearby stables or has any contacts that could help you.
How might the job change in the future?
Advances in medicine or training techniques might change how horses are treated or trained, but the day-to-day tasks involved in looking after horses are unlikely to change a great deal. Horses will always benefit from being looked after by someone who cares about animals and enjoys working with them.