Should Grooms be "Certified"?


This is a question that I get a lot!  I wish there was an easy answer to this.  There are so many angles and pros and cons - and I’m sure there are tons of things I have yet to think of. 


NO.  Grooms should NOT be certified. 

First, there are no official, nationwide programs that exist to date.  There are classes, some programs at the racetrack, and some universities and colleges that have courses.  Groom Elite is one program for racetrack Grooms and Equine Management Training Center is another for sporthorse Grooms. And who would design the curriculum, administer the classes, and do the testing?  And where would the campuses be?  Can it be done online?  I think hands on testing is crucial, so how would that work?  What would the “governing body” be like?


Logistics aside, the US is a place that does not yet have a system for any type of certifications for most horse industry professionals - like trainers.   In a nutshell, anyone can call themselves a trainer and set up shop.  There are a few programs out there for trainers to gain some credentials, such as the American Riding Instructor’s Association.  The United States Dressage Federation also has some levels of certification for Dressage Instructors.  Shouldn’t we worry about certification of the employers before we go all crazy and have the Grooms certified?  Is this the cart before the horse?

I’m also wondering who could pay for such a certification process! How could a future Groom be able to pay off tuition and expenses? Not to mention living expenses and possible travel while going through the certification process.


On the other hand….YES.  Grooms should be certified. 


This creates a wonderful way to help assure employers that you have understandings of anatomy, horse care, nutrition, grooming, etc.  It’s a way for Grooms to have a leg up in the industry, and gain respect in their field.  Could levels of certification even be created?  Why not!


It’s also a way for the horse industry as a whole come together and support the backbone of the business.  Having educated staff members creates a safe and knowledgable working environment, which will ultimately create a more reputable barn and training business while attracting clients.  


This also works out much better for horses, also - better chances of catching colics, swollen legs, fevers.  Better handling skills lead to decreased accidents at home and at shows.  Better first aid skills help horses in emergency situations (and may help people, too!) 


What are your thoughts??