Tag Archives: groom

Richard Davison: Welfare in top level Equestrian Sport


Part 1: What do our horses really want? 


When the words “Equine Welfare” are used, associated with animal cruelty, to me it conjures up images of emaciated, lice-infested horses and ponies. Yet at the recent World Horse Welfare Annual Conference, a number of other “modern” welfare issues were highlighted. Olympic Dressage Rider Richard Davison has been at the top of the sport for many years, having contested four Olympics. He was a founder of the Burghley Young Event Horse series and his yard is made up of dressage horses and his son’s international showjumpers. Therefore he is highly regarded both as a great horseman and spokesperson on Equestrian matters, who is not frightened of sticking his neck out.  At the Conference last week, Richard spoke candidly on the welfare issues seen even at the highest level of Equestrian Sport.


In our first blog, Richard raises his concerns over the modern fashion of “humanising” our horses, relaying one example he saw at a show recently.


“For those of you have visited international competitions, you will know that horses are confined in relatively small stables for four to five days. I was in Denmark last week and I watched a groom perform surgery on a teddy bear (used as a stable toy) who had lost a limb. The process of sewing up the teddy took half an hour or more. I wondered whether this half an hour would have been better spent, taking the horse out of the stable and giving it a walk in the sunlight or finding some grass for a graze and a stretch. For me, this “humanising” behaviour displayed by owners can skewer the priorities.


In my world (Dressage), they’ve all got the bling browbands, the matchy-matchy stuff, and the belly-deep shavings beds but actually what does a horse really want? What is really important, is to get out in the field, not to be kept in a stable, never mind how beautifully decorated it is with toys or anything else. They really want to be outside, stretching their back, being with their mates, sniffing each other’s bottoms and rolling in the mud. Thankfully is not generally something that us humans do, any longer. So I put this to riders and grooms- ditch the teddy bear and take the horse out of the stable and give them fresh air. That is what they really want- to be horses.


We are all stakeholders in this. We all feed off equestrian sport, either professionally or just gaining an awful lot of enjoyment from it. We all need to get behind education and spend more time, learning how horses really function. In these days in horse sport, where horses command huge sums of money we must never forget that their natural habits and herd instinct are really essential for both mental and physical welfare.”


Grooms – Vacancies and Advice, we have it all


If you are thinking of becoming a groom or looking for a new placement there are several professional trainers and riding establishments who have open positions at the moment check out Justine Armstrong Small in Essex who is a professional show rider who has won at all major county shows including royal international and horse of the Year Show over the past 20 yrs. Her passion is particularly focused on showing working hunters.  So expect jumping and a high standard of turnout to be on her list of priorities.

Another high profile trainer is Event rider Lucienne Elms who is based at in the south ‘Blackwater Equestrain Centre’, which is potentially one of the most prestigious equestrian centres in the South West. Lucienne offers professional training up to CCI***, and is aiming for Bramham  again in 2015. Luciene has trained and worked with numerous world ranked riders including world number 1 2009, and UK number 1 2014 Oliver Townend.  She produces horses for sale, training & competition.  So this would be a great opportunity to be part of the Event world in a fantastic location.

Are you looking for work as a groom or are you currently working with horses? Just like joining any regulatory body like say, British Eventing or the British Show Jumping Association, if you are a professional groom, i.e. paid to work with horses, then belonging to The British Grooms Association will keep you informed of rulings and regulations that your employer should be implementing and also offers confidential help line and access to free legal advice.

British Grooms Association – Membership benefits

BGA membership means you benefit by being part of a national association that represents grooms and provides you with a wide and growing range of member benefits that can help support you in your professional and personal life as well as helping you to save money.

BGA Support you throughout your career, whether you are just starting out in the industry or an experienced professional groom; whether you are an employee or working freelance. Becoming a member means you are only a click away from accessing support, advice and guidance on all groom related matters.

The BGA membership is accessible to all who are part of the British grooming profession and even those beyond. If you’re not a member already don’t miss out, join today!




Job available – Full time groom or Part time groom Ringwood Hampshire


Little Pointers Farm are looking for Staff.

Do you live near Ringwood or are you looking for a job in the New Forest?

Full time groom or Part time groom

They are currently looking for either a full time groom/general help or a part time groom with flexibility to do 1/2 days or whole days to fit in with other staff. The right applicant must have worked on a professional yard and must work and turn out to the highest standard. On site single accommodation available. Ideally a lightweight competent rider, happy to hack young horses but a non riding position considered. Preferably no pets. Must be 100% reliable, cheerful, hard working, responsible and motivated. Excellent pay and conditions. References will be required and checked

This is a private showing yard for the owners horses only. Stabling for 4, a grooming box with solarium, rug room with drier and racking, tack room and feed room. All paddocks are post and rail and horses are turned out individually. The yard is run to a professional standard. Excellent direct hacking on the New Forest, no road work but a fairly busy track. Owners horses are show horses (cobs) or retired show horses but still in work. Planning for a menage is pending appeal decision. Non HGV horsebox on site. Owner lives on site.


Excellent off-road hacking, Individual turn out, Onsite communal tea & coffee facility and Solarium

If you are looking for work elsewhere check through our listings on Horse Scout  and you will see a button on the top right hand corner of the Professional Trainers  or Yards  advertisement that says Staff Required.



Promoting the event rider


The average event rider struggles to stop for Christmas let alone weekends! Working all day everyday and making them inherently one of the worst relationship candidates there is.

Weekends are dark mornings, caffeine and lorry loading. At best home before dinner if not made the prize giving…

Weekdays are juggling liveries, teaching, sales horses, and dinners with clients. Week evenings often late, often unattractive , and tiered.

Putting such facts to one side- surely for all the input a little helping hand would be appreciated? Well fret no more ! Horse Scout has identified the dedication, and offers free advertising and promotion to riding professionals, and also their yards. The site helps them to be discovered, and expand business.

Have a look and let us know what you think. Here to help !

The Horse Scout Team