How To Become A Jockey

Features | 21st December 2022

Many young people dream of becoming a jockey. There’s never been more help available to realise those ambitions for youngsters from all backgrounds.

Little or no experience of horses is not even the tiniest barrier to taking the first step on the path to race-riding success. Here we look at some of the avenues open to all people with dreams of a career as a jockey.

British Racing School

Anyone interested in working in horseracing is welcome at the British Racing School. The college’s Foundation Course is open to 16 to 22-year-olds and teaches every aspect of horseracing from riding to yard work. The course is fully residential at the BRA’s Newmarket base and it lasts either 12 or 18 weeks.

The school operates courses for young riders already employed by a trainer wanting to becoming amateur, conditional and apprentice jockeys, as well. It also hosts the BHA Jockey Training Programme where expert coaches help young riders develop their skills. There are also courses aimed at young riders taking part in pony racing.

Some of racing’s top jockeys have attended the school, including Oisin Murphy, Tom Marquand, Luke Morris and Paul Hanagan.

More information can be found on the BRS website at

Northern Racing College

The Doncaster-based Northern Racing College trains young people for a career in horseracing. It has a wide-range of course covering every aspect of the racing industry, including catering for budding jockeys.

Those looking for a career as a jockey can enrol on courses for amateur, apprentice and conditional riders. The courses cover everything from riding work, schooling horses and nutrition, as well as training on the rules, regulations and integrity regarding racing.

Lots of top jockeys have passed through the Northern Racing College, including Danny Tudhope, Hayley Turner and Hollie Doyle.

More information can be found on the NHC website at

Tony McCoy chatting with students at Northern Racing College
Tony McCoy chatting with students at Northern Racing College

Pony Racing

Pony racing has been creating future champions in Ireland for many years but now the British circuit is firmly established as a training ground for budding jockeys.

Since the first regulated race in 2004, hundreds of riders have gone on to enjoy huge success as professional jockeys. .

The Pony Racing Authority holds taster days open to all children from seven to 15-years-old regardless of riding ability, background or ambitions. They also hold training and qualification days to prepare wannabee jockeys for the pony races.

There are dozens of pony racing fixtures throughout the year. Some are held alongside point-to-point races but others use the country’s best racecourses, including Cheltenham, Ascot and Goodwood.

More information can be found on the PRA website at

Scottish Racing Academy

The Scottish Racing Academy has created partnerships with leading education centres in Scotland to help people learn the skills and knowledge needed for a career in horseracing.

It holds a number of different courses tailored to preparing those interested in working in racing. These courses can help set budding jockeys on the path to a possible career in the saddle on the racecourse.

Scotland has a thriving racing scene. There are five Scottish racecourses and the country is home to a number of top trainers.

More information can be found on the SRA website at

The Riding A Dream Academy

The Riding A Dream Academy was inspired by the achievements of Khadijah Mellah who in 2019 became the first British Muslim woman to ride in and win a British horse race. Its aims are to help other young people from underrepresented groups and communities and non-horsey backgrounds get involved in the sport.

Within the Academy, there are two programmes – The Khadijah Mellah Scholarship and the Riding a Dream Residential Week.