We’re huge fans of the British Grooms Association, which fights for representation and workers’ rights for grooms, but also provides educational opportunities to help both aspiring and career grooms gain new knowledge and sharpen their skills.
Now, with that goal in mind, they’re introducing the Pro Groom School, an exciting one-day seminar featuring some of the best in the biz and, undoubtedly, no shortage of seriously useful tips, tricks, and life advice along the way. It’s set to take place on October 23 at Stallion AI Services in Whitchurch, with programmes running from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., inclusive of lunch and refreshments.
So what can you expect from your day with the BGA? First of all, access to some of the world’s best grooms. You’ll be learning from Alan Davies, best known for his partnership with dressage superstars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin; FEI award winner Jackie Potts, who’s been the lynchpin of William Fox-Pitt’s career, as well as grooming for Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto; and Jenny Ellis, who’s worked for a number of top showjumpers and dressage riders in her tenure as a British team stalwart.
They’ll be leading a number of talks and Q&A sessions covering a huge swathe of topics, from what to expect from life on the road as a competition groom, how to stay abreast of FEI rules, tips for top turnout, how to manage travelling horses, anti-doping best practice, and much, much more, with break-out sessions allowing you to focus on your areas of particular interest. These include, but aren’t limited to, equine massage, spotting health issues early, and more. Expect plenty of useful knowledge, but also some hilarious insights into some of the (truly mad) experiences these three powerhouses have had in their storied careers.
Here’s the timeline for the day:
9.30 Welcome to Pro Groom School
10.00 Practical demos with Alan, Jackie and Jenny
12.00 Anti-doping with FEI Vet Paul Thomason
12.30 Lunch Break
13.15 Travelling Horses Internationally
13.45 More practical demos with Alan, Jackie and Jenny
15.15 A focus on you — life as a top groom
15.45 The real truth with Jackie, Alan and Jenny
Tickets are available — though a limited number remain, so move fast! — for £70 and can be purchased here. You don’t have to be a BGA member to take part, though we do absolutely recommend joining if you’re working as a groom, and particularly as a freelancer. Their tailored insurance policies will protect you from loss of income if you’re rendered unable to work, and will provide you with coverage in case of injury. Speaking as a former freelancer myself, my BGA policy made me feel much more secure in my work — particularly with badly-behaved dressage stallions. Knowing I was protected in case one of them decided to use me as a human punching bag was a huge relief. You can find out more about the different membership options the BGA offers here — they begin at just £5 per month, so it’s a no-brainer, really.
Want to extend your Pro Grooms School experience? The BGA team is taking up residence at the Premier Inn, Shrewsbury North (Harmer Hill) Hotel on October 22, and is extending an invitation for any attendee of the PGS to join them for dinner at the hotel. It’s a great chance to pick their brains and network with fellow grooms in a friendly, low-key environment — and we reckon it’ll be a great laugh, too.