How to get involved as... A Jockey

Riding in a point-to-point is not for the faint hearted. Travelling at speeds of 30mph over 4.5ft fences you need to be very confident in your riding ability. If you don't enjoy falling off then racing may not be for you; jockeys get perverse pleasure from getting up from a thumping fall and will almost always return to the changing room with a near smile on their face. The wonderful thing about point-to-pointing is that it caters for people on all levels of the spectrum, with no riding tests needed. However, to be allowed to ride in point-to-points you need a Riders Qualification Certificate, which must be signed by a master of a hunt who is confident that you are of an appropriate standard. 
 
There are two different ways to begin your career as point-to-point jockey:
 
Riding Out - If you want to pick up rides in races then you should begin riding out for trainers. Not only will you gain valuable experience but you may also be rewarded being allowed to ride one of their horses in a race. This is a long process and you will need to be very patient, but it is possible to rise through the ranks if you are confident, keen and talented. Local trainer Nick Pearce is a good example of this, he began at the lowest end of the scale as a stable lad and went on to ride 100 winners. 
 
Buying A Horse - This is definitely the best way to get rides as you will be in full control. This is obviously a much more expensive way to go about it, however, plus you may be stuck in the category of an owner-rider and not get offered any other rides. For more information on how to go about buying your owner horse visit How to get involved as An Owner or How to get involved as A Trainer, depending on whether you wish to train your horse yourself or not. 
 
The most proven technique is probably a combination of the two. The majority of successful point-to-point riders are supported by riding horses owned by their parents in their early years, as well as riding out for local trainers.