Horse groom

Stable hand, stable lad or lass

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Horse grooms look after horses’ everyday needs, and make sure they’re healthy and in good condition.

Salary Range: £10,000 to £16,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies
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You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Horse Care
  • Level 3 Diploma in Horse Management

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
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You may be able to get into this job through an equine groom intermediate apprenticeship.

This will usually take 18 months to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

If you’re aged 16 or over and interested in working in the racing industry, the British Racing School at Newmarket and the National Horseracing College at Doncaster offer pre-apprenticeship foundation courses.

Courses last between 4 and 18 weeks, depending on your experience, and can lead to an apprenticeship in racehorse care and a career as a groom.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
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Volunteering and experience

Volunteering or temporary work in a stable shows employers that you’re keen to work with horses and learn more about the industry. You can also make contacts that may be useful when you start to look for paid work.

Other routes

If you’re working with horses, you may be able to take qualifications, like those offered by The British Horse Society (BHS) and The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). These include:

  • Entry Level Award in Assisting with Basic Care of Horses
  • Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Horse Care
  • BHS Stage 1 and 2 in Horse Knowledge Care and Riding
  • ABRS Riding and Horse Care Certificate

The National Horseracing College at Doncaster offers a stable staff foundation course for beginners. The course is 18 weeks long and includes 6 weeks of work experience and will prepare you for entry into the racing industry. If you complete the course, you can be considered for a racing apprenticeship.

If you’re over 21, enjoy riding horses and would like to find out more about what it’s like to work in the racing industry, The British Racing School offers a Transition to Racing course.

If you’re interested in working in the horse breeding industry, for example as a stud groom, you can start training at The National Stud in Newmarket.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about training and working in the horse racing industry from Careers in Racing and the British Grooms Association.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • giving horses food and water
  • replacing bedding
  • cleaning equipment like saddles and bridles
  • cleaning, brushing and clipping horses’ coats
  • mucking out stables
  • monitoring the condition of horses and reporting problems
  • treating minor wounds, changing dressings and giving some medications
  • following instructions from vets when treatment is needed

Working environment

You could work at a riding stable.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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With experience and further training, you could take charge of a yard or become head groom. 

In a racing yard, you could progress to head lad or girl, travelling head lad or girl, or to assistant trainer or trainer.

On a stud farm, you could become a stud groom, stallion handler or stud manager. 

If you work in a riding stable you could become a riding instructor.

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