Apprentice horse groomers keep horses healthy and in good condition by responding to their daily needs. Feeding and watering horses, replacing bedding, cleaning out stables, washing and clipping horses’ coats, treating minor wounds, and exercising the horses are all part of a groom’s daily duties.
Depending on where you work, you may have extra responsibilities and opportunities. For example, if you work with show jumpers or racehorses, you can help them prepare for competitions and travel across the UK and beyond. This might be a fascinating job if you are part of a professional team and see the horses you love and care for competing in races or winning gold.
Working as a groom at a stud and breeding yard will need you to deal with stallions, mares, and foals, and you may be able to help veterinarians with foal deliveries in the spring. You may also work in a riding school, greeting clients, leading them out on foot, or accompanying them on horseback.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- give horses food and water
- clean equipment like saddles and bridles
- clean, brush and clip horses’ coats
- muck out stables and replace bedding
- monitor the condition of horses and report problems
- treat minor wounds, change dressings and give some medications
- take horses out for exercise.
Your salary will be set by the company you work for and your skills and experience; however, starting salaries for apprentice grooms normally are £12,000 per year. Experienced grooms may earn up to £18,000 per year.
Additional benefits for grooms may include housing, food, free livery for their horse, riding lessons, or the chance to compete professionally.
Normally, you’ll work 38 to 40 hours per week including evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
You could work at a riding stable.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice horse groom include:
Level 2 Equine Groom – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship.
This can take up to 18 months to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.
On an apprentice groom apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- customer service skills
- physical fitness and endurance
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
With further experience and training, you can manage a stable yard or become the head groom.
You may work your way up to head lad or girl, assistant trainer, or trainer in a racing yard.
You may work as a stud groom, stallion handler, or stud manager on a stud farm.
Working in a riding stable may lead to a career as a riding instructor.