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Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - ideas of things to do

Most weeks on social media Caroline wishes everyone, working or not, a good weekend. Here at The Grooms List by Caroline Carter Recruitment we recognise that a groom’s lot can sometimes be a Cinderella-like existence – whilst others are off relaxing, shopping etc., the world of the horse is around the clock weekends, holidays or not! Christmas and New Year are certainly no different.

Myself and The Grooms List team members have all done what you do, and this week’s article features 10 fun ideas to make the best of the forthcoming holiday season on the yard. We will certainly be thinking of you when we’re out doing our own horses over Christmas.

For the vast majority of ‘normal’ people, Christmas means a nice relaxing few days off, spending time with family and lounging around over a long boozy lunch. For the vast majority of employers and grooms working with horses at Christmas, it just means business as usual. In hunting and racing yards Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year, as boxing day meets are one of the most popular days out for owners.

Though it may be hard to fully convince yourself that shovelling poo is the first most ideal thing you would like to do on Christmas Day, there are plenty of ways to keep the festive spirit alive and still enjoy Christmas. Here are our top suggestions for how to survive the holiday season.

 

1. Have an early pretend Christmas

Many of us with separated parents will have cottoned onto this clever way of bagging yourself two Christmas days long ago. Move your personal celebrations with family/friends to your nearest day off to the event itself or better yet book a whole weekend off and make it your own mini bank holiday. This is a fantastic way to legitimise two separate days of eating excessive quantities of chocolate during the day and overindulging on beverages and too much food in the evening. When Christmas day itself comes round and you have less free time for both you won’t feel so much like you’ve missed out.

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - ideas of things to doTips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - ideas of things to do2. Organise a staff Christmas brunch

If you work with a few people or perhaps if you are just friendly with your boss or fellow local grooms from smaller private stables perhaps you can organise a get together for breakfast/brunch before everyone heads off to their respective family do’s or back to work. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a hearty fry up or bacon roll, some spiced Christmas punch (or sneaky glass of mulled wine) and piece of cake – it is Christmas after all! Something to mark the day as special.

 

 

3. Skype/Facetime calls with family

This will really be a tactic that divides opinion. Being part of festivities through the wonder of free internet calls that also allow you to see the caller either make you feel included and part of the celebrations or bring heightened awareness to the fact that you are not there. Modern technology has made it so much easier to stay in touch with loved ones no matter where in the world they are. Whether it’s for you or not there’s no denying that It has certainly made a job that allows worldwide travel that bit less lonely.

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - Photo Credit Tina Johnson

Photo Credit Tina Johnson

4. Go for a Christmas jolly

Depending, of course, on the type of horses you work with and their respective schedules, it can be nice as a break from normal routine to head out for a long picturesque hack. If there is company to be had, either fellow workers or a fun outing with liveries it can be made into a jolly Santa type ride. Add tinsel (where safe to do so!) reindeer horns, bells if you’re really brave and see how many heads you can turn in the village. Alternatively, head out for a nice explorer type adventure around the countryside by yourself. Pray for the kind of crisp frosty morning that makes working outdoors worthwhile and enjoy the peaceful quiet of empty roads enjoying the fresh air, while others are all still indoors. The silence can be soul cleansing.

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - Munchies5. Treat yourself to something special

If circumstances are such that you find yourself spending Christmas evening home alone do not let this deter you from joining in the traditional spirit of overindulgence. Unlike everyone else, you will actually have earned all the extra calories! Understandably, cooking a full roast from scratch for one may feel like overkill but investing in a small joint and some pre-prepared stick in the oven veg, or just whatever meal tickles your fancy as a bit of a treat is a must. Get in a few nice drinks, sneak an extra sweet thing or two in the trolley and feel smug at how all this can be enjoyed in your PJ’s and slippers!

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - Wizard of Oz Movie6. Watch all your own favourite cheesy Christmas movies

Do not underestimate the pleasure of full selfish control of the TV remote and/or DVD schedule. The joy of watching the terribly predictable Eastenders with no-one to point out the flaws, chuckling at how much you can relate to the Grinch and/or Scrooge, guiltily enjoying the horribly clichéd Love Actually/the epic 8 hour version of the Wizard of OZ for the 100th time. Apologies if anyone loves that, apparently Caroline is a big fan, LOL! Make the most of this opportunity with a fully planned line up of interruption-free rubbish TV watching!

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - Cookies for the Horses at Christmas

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7. Get crafty with gifts for the horses at Christmas

It is quite possible that your main companions on Christmas day will be the horses themselves. A nice way to mark the occasion for them and keep yourself feeling festive is to make up some treats and laugh at them trying to eat them. Using a screwdriver or any sharp implement make a hole in the middle of several different pieces of fruit/veg which you can thread a rope through and tie a knot at the end. This makes a basic hanging kebab stick for the horses to play within the stable. For the really enthusiastic groom here is a link to homemade ‘horse cookie’ recipes.

 

 

8. Make your day as easy as possible

Option A: Provided there are no impending events perhaps yourself and fellow grooms or employer can split the day into two shifts so everyone only has to work half a day. This may require starting early or finishing late but could give you up to half a day off to spend with family and friends.

Option B: If the above is not an option it should always be possible to make the day a little easier for yourself. Plan in advance for the day and get all the extra jobs done and out the way. Ensure all the horses are well worked in the days leading up to Christmas so they can afford to take it easy or even have a day off. Pre make extra haynets, bank up the beds, have the muck heap pushed back or trailer emptied ready to use. This way you can hopefully get done quickly and enjoy a long lunch and an early finish.

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - read Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm9. Read ‘Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm’

The book itself is, in fact, a collection of short stories but the main reason to buy this is for the title story ‘Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm’, which is a prequel to the fabulous book by Stella Gibbons that parodies the morbid doom-laden impression of country life in the 1940’s. It was also made into a film in 1995 with an impressive star-filled cast. The Christmas short story joins the wacky family during their Christmas Eve dinner where so much goes wrong and the whole situation is so dire you can’t help but finish it feeling amused and substantially better about your own situation. Buy it here

 

 

Tips for Grooms Working with Horses at Christmas - Taking photos of the horses at Christmas10. Stage a Christmas Day ‘photoshoot’

We have to finish with a good suggestion for silliness as that really is what getting into the festive spirit is all about. One that in fact I have already seen a good amount of spread all over my social media feed! Few can resist smiling at the ridiculousness of a horse dressed up for Christmas. The sky (or your horse’s drama queen levels) are the limit in possibilities are but we suggest…

  • A pair of gloves on the ears make a fetching set of reindeer antlers
  • Little is cuter than a horse in a Santa hat (extra points for baubles)
  • An extra large Christmas wreath around the neck
  • Any inventive use of tinsel, which notably can also be used to decorate the stable door for a framed headshot

Whether the pictures are for yourself or as an amusing Christmas message accompaniment for owners, simply taking the pictures themselves is sure to give you a good laugh.

 

When all is said and done the fact of it is, Christmas is just another day. Working with horses is, as we all know, not just a job it’s a lifestyle choice. Many of us do, whether we openly admit the fact or not, by far prefer the company of our equine and canine family to our human ones. Perhaps we’ve been looking at it all wrong and working Christmas day is simply a convenient excuse and the option we would all prefer! One things for sure there no need for Christmas at work to be a sad event, it is whatever you make of it.

Whatever you’re up to this year – Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Stuck for last minute Christmas gift ideas?

Browse our gift ideas for your horsey friends, family and colleagues here!

 

 

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  Family PC/Eventing/Hunting family looking for a senior Groom/Rider for a small family hunting yard within an estate. 8 horses kept. * £25K neg *Lovely cottage accommodation*Partner welcomed *Pets welcomed * Own horse welcomed *FOC council tax/water rates paid/horse if applicable *Vehicle available for company business.   The successful applicant should have longevity in past roles please as we are replacing someone who has been in situ for 6 years. You must be happy to work sole charge in a rural location but with help/support when required. The role includes: ordering and organising feed, bedding and hay, keeping the yard immaculate, maintaining the highest standard of turnout of horses. A thorough understanding of the day to day care of the hunting /event horse is essential including the ability to bring 2nd horses. Candidates must be able to do all fitness and basic schooling of all horses to a high level plus be able to hunt or ride around a hunter trial,further training available if interested. You must be able to lunge and school young horses. Communication and people skills essential as liasing with other Estate staff to run this lovely small yard in an estate environment is essential. Also there will be a necessity to manage other PT staff. Hours Oct-March are full on but halved April-Sept with pay and all Terms remaining the same year round! Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a really super job for someone who works in a very professional manner but in a super friendly environment. If that describes you and you are looking for the long term then this would be a great opportunity for you. Very generous and somewhat negotiable remuneration if you are a really decent rider too!  Please contact Caroline& the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com                  
Job Description Work riders with previous experience of working in a racing yard.   Minimum Requirements Experienced Work Riders   Accommodation details This is a full time position and we have single accommodation available – sorry no pets allowed. We offer a Full Pension with Royal London. Benefits Pool Money (Stable Percentage) and regular opportunities to go racing. As per NTF Scales – age related https://www.naors.co.uk/help/pay-and-expenses/  
*IRO £19- £20K pa *Live out (GL56A) *Riding available with good hacking and indooor and outdoor facilities if you are interested.   Groom/Rider required for a small family yard close to the GL56 postcode. The family enjoy a variety of disciplines and the family children and grandchildren ride too so a happy, fun environment with lots going on.    The ideal applicant will be a team-player & ideally but not essentially, light enough to ride slightly smaller horses/ponies 🙂   🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 A good wage, for a groom with some experience who is looking for a fun live out role with some flexibility on days and hours if required.  Please call Caroline and the  Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
Job Description To provide care for the horses at home and assist with competition preparation to ensure the smooth running of the yard and facilities.   Minimum Requirements ABLE TO: Follow feeding, cleaning and water schedules set by Head/Competition Groom. Cleaning and maintenance of tack/leatherwork and other items including rugs, boots, bandages, etc. Other day to day tasks such as mucking out, feeding, turning out/in, lunging and preparing horses for exercise including knowledge of tack requirements for each horse. Communicate with vet, farrier, dentist, physio in absence of Head/Competition Groom or Owner. Assist in preparation for competitions, training and events. To cover specific tasks agreed when other staff absent. Ensure all tack and consumable repairs and requirements are noted and reported to Head/Competition Groom including bedding, feed, veterinary supplies. Report any maintenance issues to Head/Competition Groom/Owner. Assist in horse care and yard maintenance as required for all BOS horses. Ensure all fields are kept clear of droppings and poisonous plants and facing safe and effective. Lunging and Horse Walker familiarity for all horses. Act professionally, with discretion, courteously and effectively at all times To maintain effective and positive working relationships with staff, consultants, partner organisations, external organisations, sponsors and clients   DESIRABLE: Experience of handling youngstock and broodmares Experience of managing (unwell) horses and rehabilitation techniques and programmes   PERSONAL QUALITIES: Good communication skills Team Player who is also able to work in isolation on occasions Willing to undertake relevant additional training as required An eye for attention to detail Flexible and responds positively to new challenges   Accommodation details Shared Flat   Benefits 5 1/2 days per week Salary £18/20k per annum (dependant on experience) NEST Pension 28 days holiday per annum Sickness cover in line with Statutory Requirements Great Location Superb Facilities Fantastic Horses      
Live out, part time (IRO 3 hours a day), permanent Family Groom required for a Yard with some fabulous horses who are produced in a slow and consistent fashion so they can achieve their potential, remaining with the same owner throughout their career and probably beyond 🙂 AFTERNOON SHIFT PLEASE 🙂 This is an opportunity for a freelance Groom to fit in some work with other’assignments’  but will need to be  an experienced Groom rather than someone at the beginnning of their career. Small and friendly Team for 7 horses. 2 well bred yearlings (with a future in Dressage) 1 ridden horse, (11 years old mare ) hacking and basic schooling & confidence giver) 3 year old very well behaved and well bred stallion (His future direction tbc) welsh x pony companion 4 years old Mare 4 years old who may be an eventer/show jumper depending on how she develops. If you were a decent exercise rider/able to lunge minimum and if you are capable of more that would be fabulous! Employer has a busy life with 5 children and 4 still at home (15 year old son / 17 year old daughter/11 year old daughter/7 year old son). You  MUST be comfortable around children. Owner does a bit of most things and enjoys being an owner and the fun that will come with that. Daughter (11 yo) enjoys showing and general riding. 7 year old son may or may not ride.  You must be capable of all aspects of stable work/horse management etc and sole charge when necessary, but also relaxed and happy to work with others. Please do call Caroline and the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
Preparations for a very exclusive horse auction in the south of the Netherlands are in full swing. 2019 is the sixteenth edition and it promises to be a great equestrian spectacle again! The entire week prior to the auction is all about glitter, glamour, luxury and entertainment but the week of the auction itself is fast paced, hard work and an amazing opportunity to gain an invaluable insight.   We are looking for grooms to join our happy and motivated team from 1st October until the end of November 2o19. We specialize in horses at all levels ranging from unbroken up to Grand Prix. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn and become part of this iconic event. Succesful applicants will receive comfortable accommodation on site and a competitive salary.       
Full Job Description can be downloaded (below under application form) Minimum Requirements We are looking for someone who is dedicated and enthusiastic!  Qualifications are not important to us, we are a small team and the candidate should be motivated, able to work alone or in a team and have a desire to ‘own it’! Ideally, candidates should be able to drive and have good general knowledge of basic equipment maintenance & repairs. The ability to self-manage and organise your daily work programme would be an advantage. Accommodation details Live out but accommodation might be available if necessary Benefits The opportunity to work in a beautiful environment & you will never be bored!  All the usual apply, good rates of pay, holiday pay, pension and all staff are issued with corporate uniform.
**We are adding to our Team!** This is an excellent opportunity to join our team!  We are looking for a confident, experienced rider for racehorses undergoing remedial programmes, competition horses from the private sector and pre-training for our own horses! Duties will include riding horses in our indoor round pen, trotting ring, gallops and around the village.  From time to time additional duties will include assisting our grooms during morning & evening stables, dressing horses over, putting horses on and off the horse walker, turning horses in and out, tacking up and various other duties. Full details available on request. As well as riding horses at our Stables, there are times when we take our jockeys to trainers yards, to racecourses and other external locations so this is an great opportunity to join a busy team – you will not be bored! Minimum Requirements We are looking for experienced, confident riders.  We take safety very seriously and have excellent facilities but experience is essential!  It’s not all about crazy horses – some are just young and very green so need a good rider to teach them and give them confidence!  We have other riders for lead horses and offer full support and training. We are able to offer a part time position if preferred, mornings only from 07.30hrs. Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from candidates needing to bring dogs to the yard. Subsidised grass livery for own horses is available. Benefits Salary according to age & experience, 6 day week with 28 days holiday.  Corporate clothing provided and assistance with NVQ training with our Learning Provider.
We are looking for a Rider & a Groom to strengthen our existing team at our stables in the South of Holland. The succesful applicant(s) will receive a salary & their own appartment located on our property. We are looking for hard working people with a sense of humour and who enjoy working as part of a well organised team. Experience is not the most vital ingredient – motivation and a love of horses is.  Our yard comprises 45 stables with indoor and outdoor arenas. We have 7 members of staff most of whom live on site so it is important that the succesful applicant(s) can work as part of a team.    
*Career opportunity – Could consider someone in a trainee yard management capacity. * Salary IRO £21K neg. *Live out or live in   Full Time/ Part Time Yard Manager/Assistant Manager (trainee) required by a very successful Hanoverian dressage stud which breeds & produces quality British-bred dressage horses using top German bloodlines, is now looking for a hands on team player to be the owner’s right-hand person running the yard on a daily basis. You will work closely within a Team and alongside vets, physios, farrier etc. and manage the work of the team. Would consider someone in a trainee yard management capacity and training will be provided.     Ideally you will have experience of yard management, competition horses mares and young stock and you will be able to lunge/clip/turnout/handle young stock/muck out. Great opportunity for an existing Yard Manager or Grooms with basic performance horse or stud experience & who wish to have the best skills development training. Must be bright, have initiative and possess a good work ethic. Ideally interested in the world of breeding/performance horse training & development.   Whilst exercise riding could be available if you would like and are competent to do, this is primarily a non riding role with the focus being on Yard/Team/Horse management. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 Now this is a position which is an outstanding career opportunity for someone who loves Dressage and wants to ‘step up’ and be involved in the management of a yard. Whilst you will be expected to roll up your sleeves and help with the day to day, you will work closely with the yard owner as her right hand person to keep things running as they should whilst she there and when she is away. At the top of their game, the standards are high and you will have to reach those in reasonable time, but there isn’t often an opportunity like this for advancement. If you are already doing the job at this level, then there is an opportunity to do this PT or to bring your skills to the table and add to this Team who are already enormously successful but poised for even greater things in the future!  Please contact Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
*Accommodation available *5 day week *Sensible hours *Dog a possibility *Live in or out Dressage Groom (mostly home and occasional competition grooming required) for Intermediate 1 level rider aiming for Grand Prix. 5/6 liveries also on site  Cheerful happy team to work alongside. This yard breeds performance horses too, so young stock handling experience useful . The position entails usual yard duties plus must be able to communicate well within the team and with the liveries. Training provided but must have some experience of handling and grooming performance horses of all ages & levels Caroline’s Comments 🙂 Interesting role, recommended by those who know it! Chance to work within a happy and motivated Team  would suit someone who loves all things Dressage and with some experience. Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
*Salary IRO 1800 euros *All accommodation and food provided *Seasonal position with far reaching CV improving benefits! This world class service station and stud is looking for experienced stud hands for the forthcoming season to be based in Muhlen, Germany. Some prior experience important as some serious unmatched warmblood breeding stock is involved in this operation names such as  Balou du Rouet, whose offspring’s prize money makes millions plus Sandro Hit plus stallions Fürstenball, Vivaldi, Bordeaux, Foundation, Vitalis, Sir Donnerhall I and Diarado were amongst the leading group of all German stallions according to the German FN’s 2016 predicted breeding value statistics. Last year stallions from Mühlen once again dominated the Oldenburg Elite Mare show and of the twelve mares presented, seven of them were daughters of this yard’s stallions, including the winner Candy OLD by Sir Donnerhall I. The list goes on and on and on! 🙂 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com  
Salary 8.5 Euros/negotiable dependent on experience with no food/accommodation or utilities to pay. You will need some experience grooming competition horses One of the Most Professional SJ yards in the world – Learn your trade with the best and secure your Grooming future with a hands on job. All you need is a passport and an adventurous spirit! Enthusiasm and dedication to work along side the best horses, riders and horse people.This opportunity would be GREAT FUN and a second to none experience which would guarantee your career anywhere you chose in the future both home and abroad. A rare insight into world class horses, world class facilities and a truly remarkable experience for any groom seriously interested in getting to the top of their game. Whilst there are considerable opportunities for advancement and promotion possibilities if you wish to remain in Germany. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
*Stunning Cotswold location *IRO £350pw *Flat with no bills! *5 day week Our client events her horses at all levels (BE90 – 4*)and has some fabulous advanced horses as well as some “up and coming” youngsters.This role is suitable for an experienced Groom who enjoys the competition environment but prefers mostly home grooming. Relevant experience ideal including yard/stable/performance horse management. Young stock experience also as a few young horses brought in from time to time to bring on. Must be able to turnout to a good basic level. Must be passionate about horses and their care. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a nice job for a real Team player who enjoys the world of eventing. High standards and busy event yard where everyone pulls together and enjoys themselves. Considerate employer who looks after her staff. Would consider someone slightly more junior and train up but should have eventing/performance horse experience. Please call Caroline & the Team  on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com  
*2 bed flat *5 day week *Dog considered *IRO £375 pw per role + accommodation (neg). Working couple Required ( Groom/Rider + general maintenance/Person Friday duties). Lovely lifestyle role for a suitable couple to help manage a private home and yard for a large family who split their week between London and the country and sometimes are abroad for a few weeks at a time. Must be experienced and have good people and communication skills. Would suit a friendly, relaxed but very responsible couple. Working couple Role(s) involves working with another and PT help : General Groom/rider duties to a high standard. Sole charge and working with others Help with horse and the other animals (5 dogs, 1 cat, 2 chickens, 2 geese, 3 ducks) Looking after and walking and feeding the dogs when the family are away (usually 2-3 nights in London weekly, plus longer holidays) Maintenance for the yard, the house and the garden:  fence mending, taking care of the pool, helping keep vehicles maintained and clean, etc Keen gardener to do mowing, weeding, raking, hedge trimming, and minor tree surgery, planning and planting the borders and walled vegetable garden· Housekeeper/cleaning duties including organising & cooking healthy interesting meals mostly at the weekend.  🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 Nice opportunity for a couple who enjoy taking charge of a family home, yard and the animals and all facilities therein.  Pls call Caroline and the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com    

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Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
The Stables
Fildyke Road
Meppershall
Bedfordshire
SG17 5LU

caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
0203 006 5730 / 07747 686 118

Registered company number 10657796good site
Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd is registered with the UK Information Commissioner as a data controller with registered number ZA250621

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