Stablehands or grooms work in stables and look after horses, keeping them clean, comfortable, fed, exercised and groomed. They may take special care of foals.
You could be:
feeding and watering horses
keeping horses clean and grooming them – brushing their coats and oiling their hooves
mucking out (cleaning) stables and putting down new bedding
cleaning saddles, bridles and other riding gear ('tack') and fitting them on horses
riding horses to exercise them
clipping horses' manes or tails, using clippers and scissors
checking horses for injuries or illness and following care instructions from vets
getting horses ready for riding lessons or for sports like eventing or horseracing
specialising in a certain area, such as racing, breeding, showjumping or trekking
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £5.28 an hour for workers under 18, £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over is £10.42 an hour.
An experienced or head groom might expect to earn between £16,000 and £20,000 a year.
You may get free accommodation and food, a stable for your own horse and perhaps riding lessons.
You could work in a riding school, a trekking centre, a livery stable which keeps other people’s horses, or a stable where horses are bred.
The working conditions can be dirty, muddy and smelly, especially when mucking out stables.
A lot of your work would be outdoors, sometimes in bad weather.
There is a risk of injury if a horse bites or kicks you or if you fall off.
Working hours are long, including early starts, late finishes and weekends.
Stables may be a long way from towns, sometimes in quite remote areas.
You might have to live at the stables, perhaps sharing with other stable workers.
You would sometimes wear protective clothing, such as riding boots, a hard riding hat and body protector.
The College of Animal Welfare specialises in veterinary nursing and animal care training. It operates from seven UK training centres, including the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School of Edinburgh University.