If you’ve always dreamed about being a jockey and you have some experience with horses, know that this is totally possible if you take the necessary steps. You have to know that jockeys are bona fide athletes, however, and like in any sport, you’ll need a combination of natural aptitudes and physical abilities, and you need to fit a specific profile. You may also need to get started as soon as possible since most jockeys have spent a major part of their lives riding horses. Let’s take a look at a few tips you should follow if you want to become a professional horse jockey.
Make Sure that You Have the Body for it
Even if you’re the best horse racer on the planet, you will not be able to become a jockey unless you’re under the maximum weight requirements. Flat race jockeys cannot carry more than 10st 2lb and jump jockeys cannot weigh more than 12st. So, if you weigh a lot more than that, you may have to look for another career.
If you are wondering if there are height requirements for being a jockey, they aren’t. However, the weight limits make it so that jockeys are rarely taller than 5 feet and a half. Also, note that anyone over the age of 16 can be a professional jockey in this country.
Learn to Ride
If you haven’t been riding horses since you were a child, you will have to deal with a steep learning curve. But it’s still possible to work your skills up to an acceptable level with consistent work, the right trainer, and if you’re still young. Start looking for introductory riding classes in your area and see if you have the basic skills to even be a rider. If you notice that you have natural skills, you can start looking for racing schools.
To become a jockey, you will first need to get your Level 1 Diploma in Racehorse care from the NHC or the British Racing School. This programme lasts from 12 to 18 months on average, and the length of the course will depend on your experience. Once you get your diploma, you’ll be able to look for a position as a racing groom with a racehorse training yard. This is what will allow you to get your foot in the industry.
Conduct Some Research
You should also start doing research on the world of horse racing in general. Learn about the most famous races in the country and around the world and famous stables as well. You should also learn about the betting side of horse racing since this is what mainly drives the industry. You could even bet on horses and claim the Unibet sign-up offer so you can test your knowledge while getting a chance of winning real cash.
Get Formal Jockey Training
Once you’re sure you have the skills and knowledge to be a jockey, you can look for an apprenticeship. A licensed trainer will assess that you have the competence to be a jockey before your application for a formal licence can be submitted.
During your apprenticeship, you can advance your education in horse care and get a level 2 Work Based Racehorse Care diploma or Equine Groom Apprenticeship Standard with the NHC or BRC. These courses last about two weeks and require full residency, so be prepared for that.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, your trainer can submit your application for a conditional or apprentice jockey licence with the BHA (British Horseracing Authority). Once you get your licence, it will remain active as long as you meet their licencing requirements.
All you need is your Diploma 2 and your jockey licence to start competing against pro jockeys. A conditional licence will allow you to participate in jump events while an apprentice licence will allow you to compete in flat races.
Join an Organisation
Joining a jockey organisation like the Professional Jockeys Association or the AJA will help you get jobs or secure a contract. They can also help you get legal representation in case of disputes, provide general advice, and give you access to different insurance schemes, among other things.
Being a professional jockey can be a prestigious and exciting career, and if you’d like to become one, all you have to do is follow these steps. First make sure that you fit the profile of a jockey, however, and be ready for all the work that becoming one involves.