Jump into a flat-out career in the saddle

Jockeys are contracted by licensed trainers to ride horses at race meetings.

They race either on the flat (on a race track without obstacles) or across jumps (known as National Hunt racing).

Your work as a jockey would include:

l planning racing strategies with the owner and trainer

l taking advice from the trainer on tactics to suit the horse and the track

l riding every day to exercise your horse

l riding your horse at flat or jump races at race tracks around the UK.

You would specialise in either flat or jump racing, although you could take part in both.

You would work around 40 to 45 hours a week, depending on the number of races you take part in. You would attend races at courses throughout the UK, so you must be prepared to travel and spend time away from home.

Your work would be physically demanding, often involving early starts and late finishes. There is high risk of injury from falls and kicks.

Jockeys receive a riding fee and a percentage of prize money. Some jockeys also secure sponsorship deals.

You should not weigh more than about 9st 7lbs (60.3kg) as a jump jockey and about 8st (50.8kg) as a flat jockey.

You first need to be employed by a trainer in a racing yard as an apprentice jockey or a conditional jockey (if you are racing over jumps).

Before becoming an apprentice or conditional jockey you would usually work as a stable hand (also known as stable lad or lass), doing tasks like filling hay nets, sweeping the yard, mucking out stables, grooming, feeding and watering horses, and taking horses through exercises.

You can prepare for work in a racing yard by doing the NVQ level 1 and 2 Racehorse Care Residential Course. This course is free if you are aged between 16 and 22. The training centres for the course are the British Racing School (BRS), in Newmarket, and the Northern Racing College (NRS) in Doncaster.

The course includes a residential foundation of nine to 12 weeks or a 12-month apprenticeship in a racing yard, leading to NVQ Level 2 in Racehorse Care.

If you are already working in a racing yard, you may be able to do NVQ Level 2 in Racehorse Care by day release. You can find details of colleges offering the NVQ on the Careers in Racing website.

If you show exceptional riding skills you may be picked to train as an apprentice or conditional jockey.

As an apprentice or conditional jockey, you would receive training on the job. The trainer decides where and which horses you ride and decides when you are competent to race. You then apply to the British Horseracing Authority for a licence.

Before the licence is awarded you have to take a five-day residential Apprentice or Conditional Licence course. You will also need to pass a medical.