Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing


How to become a Jockey

How to become a Jockey


If you are interested in pursuing a career as a Professional or Apprentice jockey, you should firstly discuss your options with your employer who will be able to help you decide the most appropriate licence at this stage of your career. Before making formal application, the Licensing Committee strongly advise you to read the application notes carefully and, if you are in any doubt at all about what is likely to be involved, you should also have a preliminary discussion with the Licensing Department at the IHRB, either by correspondence, telephone or personal interview, before committing yourself to any expenditure.

All first-time applicants must be 16 years of age or over, and for a Professional National Hunt licence you will ideally have gained experience as a Qualified Rider (amateur) or as a Professional jockey in another jurisdiction, and will have a reasonable level of experience. Applicants are interviewed by the Licensing Committee or their designate, and may also have to complete a pre-licensing riding assessment. Applicants must also complete a medical examination and baseline concussion test.

Apprentice Jockeys - Flat

Apprentice jockeys applying for a licence for the first time should not weigh more than 9st (126 lbs). The application is made jointly by both trainer and jockey. Applicants must also be issued with a ‘minimum riding weight’ (MRW) before a licence is issued. There is a 6-week procedure to obtain a MRW and this involves meeting with the IHRB dietician on two occasions. Once a licence is issued, apprentices are initially ‘indentured’ to their employer for a period of 3 years and the terms and conditions of employment are defined in a ‘Deed of Apprenticeship’.

Professional Jockeys – National Hunt

Professional Jockeys applying for a licence for the first time should not weigh less than 9st 7lbs (133lbs). The application must be supported by at least two licensed Trainers who are willing to verify the competence of the applicant and also be in a position to ’guarantee rides’. Applications should be made well in advance of when you hope to ride as all applicants are interviewed by the Licensing Committee, who convene approximately every 6 weeks.

If you are granted a licence, you may be restricted to your employer and/or from riding in Steeplechases until you gain suitable experience. New jockeys must also ride in three Handicap Steeplechases before being eligible to ride in a Beginners or Novice Steeplechases.

For further information, please download the application form from our website or contact the Licensing Department by email: or telephone 045-445605.

How to become a Qualified Rider
Jockey Pre-Licensing Assessment Dates
Jockey's Obligations (Main Rules)
Jockey's Obligations (Overseas Riders)
Drug / Alcohol Testing of Riders
How to Appeal
Concussion Assessment / Guidelines / Protocols
Concussion Centres
Link Addiction & Recovery Video
Safety Details - Helmets & Body Protector
Standards for Overseas Riders
Jockeys Accident Fund

Jockeys Accident Fund

The Jockeys Accident Fund was established in 1933 to provide benefit for professional jockeys and apprentices who are injured either during a race meeting or in the schooling of horses. In some circumstances, the fund may pay benefit to a professional rider from another jurisdiction to cover emergency costs in the event of he/she being involved in an accident while riding in an Irish race. The fund makes payments for the completion of research to benefit rider’s health and well-being. Income of the fund is derived from owners and jockey’s levies, a portion of jockeys and apprentice’s annual licence fees, stake percentages won by Qualified Riders, investment income and voluntary donations.
Jockeys Emergency Fund
The Qualified Riders Accident Fund
Drogheda Memorial Fund

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