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There are different types of Jockey:
Amateur Jockeys are not jockeys by profession and are restricted to riding with other amateurs once they have obtained their Catagory A Licence. Amateur Jump Jockeys can obtain a Catagory B licence which allows them to ride against both Amatuer and Professional Jockeys. The British Racing School provide training and licence courses for Amateurs, for more information please see Amateur Courses.
The first step on the professional ladder is to become an Apprentice or Conditional Jockey depending on weather the Jockey rides on the flat or over jumps. All Apprentices and Conditionals start off with a 7lb claim which is reduced down once they achieve a certain number of wins:
- until they have 20 wins (Apprentice)
- until they have 15 wins (Conditional)
- until they have 50 wins (Apprentice)
- until they have 40 wins (Conditional)
- until they have 95 wins (Apprentice)
- until they have 75 wins (Conditional)
The British Racing School run Licence, Continuation and Advanced Courses for both Apprentice and Conditional Jockeys. Please see the Jockey Courses section for more information
What skills do you need?
You will need to be committed, dedicated, highly motivated and a very good rider with good horsemanship skills. You will also need to be light. Flat Jockeys are usually around 8 stone with Jump Jockeys weighing slightly more at around 9st 7lbs. Jockeys are professional athletes and to be one you will need to be extremely fit and healthy.
What are the benefits?
A riding fee as well as a percentage of the prize money, some Jockeys also manage to secure sponsorship deals.
Name: Sam Thomas
Employer: Self Employed
Attended BRS: 2000
I was interested in horses from an early age and shared a pony with my sister when I was 4. I got my own pony when I was 7 and competed in show jumping, cross country and other Pony Club activities and I was mad on hunting. I started riding out for David Evans when I was 15 and then went to The British Racing School on the 9 week foundation course. After completing this I went back to David Evans and took out my Amateur licence in 2000. I had a few rides on the flat before going to work for Venetia Williams. My dad bought a Point to Pointer which I was able to gain experience on and after a few seasons with Venetia I started to get more rides as an Amatuer. I turned conditional in June 2005 and later became 1st jockey for Venetia Williams. I then changed my agent to Sam Stronge and went on to become 2nd Jockey for Paul Nicholls and rode regularly for Henrietta Knight.
Name: Harry Haynes
Employer: Miss L Harrison
Attended BRS: June - August 2006
How did you hear about the BRS?
Word of mouth through people already working in the industry. I used to work weekends and school holidays for John Bridger.
How did the 9 week course help you?
BRS helped me with the horse care side of racing which is what you need as much as the riding skills to work in racing.
How did your riding career start?
I Started riding in Arab races as soon as I was 16 and I rode in Point to Points for a season when I was 17 and had 30 rides and 2 winners. This was good experience especially the jumping. I have now obtain got my Conditional Licence.
Career to date:
So far I have had 69 winners under Rules.
What does it take to be a jockey?
You have to want it, you can't go half hearted at it. You have to look to continue to improve all the time and stick at it, work hard and be dedicated.
What are the highs and lows?
Highs - are the wins and successes
Lows - are the falls and injuries