“I’d encourage anyone with an interest in horses and working outdoors to become a Racing Groom”
Laura Winstanley – Racing Groom
I was applying for University at the time but something about it did not feel right so I decided to pursue a career in racing. I wanted to wake up and do something I loved every day! I found the intelligence and athleticism of Thoroughbreds fascinating and I really admired the incredibly high standards of welfare and care that they receive on a racing yard.
I completed a 9 week course at the British Racing School in Newmarket gaining my Level 2 Diploma in Racehorse Care. I am currently working towards completing my Level 3. I started my current role two years ago after leaving the Racing School.
We normally pull out at around 7:00 AM and ride one lot before breakfast – typically this is a 3 or 4 year old up Warren or Long Hill on Newmarket Heath. We then ride a further two lots, sometimes four depending on how many lads and lasses have gone racing. As riders we are responsible for helping to keep the horses fit and happy in their work as well as providing our trainer with feedback on how the horse is moving, how well he is going and how prepared he may be for a race.
In the evening we return at around 4:00 PM to brush our horses over and take them for a pick of grass if the weather is good. Sometimes we will also be required to stand our horses up for our trainer or owners. Evening stables is a good opportunity to bond with the horses we look after as well as to keep them looking and feeling well.
The most important thing is to love horses – it makes the early mornings and the bad weather easier! If I had to pick three main qualities I think they would be dedication, passion and patience. I’ve also learnt that it’s very important to be able to use your initiative, have good time management but most of all to have an empathy and understanding of how horses think.
Becoming a Racing Groom
A Racing Groom is often the first job in the racing industry for young people after leaving education. In order to work full time as a Racing Groom, you need to complete an Apprenticeship in Racehorse Care. This will teach you all the skills required to ride and look after racehorses. The Apprenticeship course involves a 9-16 week residential training course at one of the Training Providers, followed by a work placement at a Racehorse Trainer’s yard. Throughout an Apprenticeship the learners progress and development will be overseen by Assessors.
Apprenticeship courses take place throughout the year, no horse riding experience is needed to apply, just a desire to work in the horseracing industry and willingness to learn.
Many Racing Grooms go on to other careers in the racing industry; Travelling Racing Groom, Racing Secretary, Jockey, Trainer, Assistant Trainer, Head Racing Groom.
Interested in becoming a Racing Groom? Take a look at our Racing Groom Guide below and visit the Video Wall to see the work of a Racing Groom