Grooms on the edge as equestrian industry bullying revealed

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Workplace bullying, stress and mental health issues are rife in the equestrian industry, a survey revealing the extent of problems facing grooms has shown.

A recent survey conducted by the British Grooms Association (BGA) revealed that more than 70% of grooms have been bullied (including being the recipient of derogatory comments) within the workplace, either by their employer or by fellow workers and 83% of grooms who responded are suffering from stress and/or mental wellbeing problems.

The survey was launched as the first stage of the Grooms Minds project, with 1315 grooms answering 13 specific questions. Comments from grooms who completed the survey included: “Bullying is rife in the industry” and “I was bullied to the extent I had a breakdown” with an overwhelming feeling lack of support from the industry and employers.

Fi Boughton, BGA Membership Officer said it was shocking that “in this day and age young people are still being bullied and exploited to such an extent”.

“Having been bullied in two yards as a groom when I was young, I am aware of how damaging this type of working environment can be and what affect it can have on you. Thankfully there are great employers out there but more must be done to help safeguard young grooms in the workplace. As part of the Grooms Minds project the BGA is working closely with other professionals to help address this disturbing issue.”

The research highlights the need for urgent change within the industry, and indeed for the existence of the BGA and Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) within this profession. The Grooms Minds project aims to identify the specific issues associated with mental health within the industry to allow the BGA to focus on and develop within this area. This work will include employees, employers and those who are self employed.

The results were collated and a full report of the findings has been written up by Dr Carol Hall, Associate Professor (Equine Behaviour and Welfare), Nottingham Trent University.

National Anti-bullying Week 2017 is between November 13 and 17 and is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

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