So you want to become a professional rider

Becoming a professional rider, charging around the badminton, cruising the incredibly high Power Wall in Olympia or dancing majestically on the dressage arena in ‘s-Hertogenbosch is the only dream of every pony-crazed child. I don’t think I’ll be the only one who fondly remembers riding my imaginary horse around a course of sticks over upturned buckets in the garden, commenting on my own prowess as a child. It is a great and noble ambition which, although by no means impossible, will unfortunately remain a dream for most of us in reality. Luckily, there are more ways to be a paid, full-time Rider than just success.

Behind the scenes of almost every top horse, there is a series of people who helped make it happen. The groom/rider at home who rotates the horses when the rider leaves for an International Event, the young horse producer (independent, at home or at the stud farm), without forgetting the always dynamic milking yard rider. For every top tier runner, there are so many more runners chomping at the lower tiers, often satisfied with it! They may never get that chance with a top horse, but they will still get tremendous job satisfaction and earn a respectable living performing their own courses as competitive riders. It’s still ‘Living the dream’ in many cases.

Become a professional rider – live the dream

As attainable as these positions are, it is not an easy path. Winning even the lowest rung of the “professional rider” ladder takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, determination, a bit of luck and yes, downright talent! This is such a competitive market and requires a great leap of faith from any owner/employer to entrust their precious animals to you as a relatively unknown person. Whether it’s to start them on their way or to achieve the superstar career they believe their horses are capable of, most owners will have invested financially and/or emotionally in these horses. In order to stand out from the crowd and have the opportunity to prove yourself, you must be able to impress the people who matter. For the most part, your career will start at least with an employer who cares about landlords and they are the ones you need to earn first. Here are the top 5 things employers look for in a professional cyclist.

5 Traits a Pro Rider Must Have

1. Experience

IF you are applying for a competitive rider role, you will need to have a competitive record in that discipline and a current affiliation with the relevant society. Any professional rider will need to have several years of experience in a variety of breeds/ages/sexes. Being able to jump your only horse that you produced for 4 years on a 1.3m course is one thing, but you will soon find that you are riding hot and fresh blood and even jumping on a 1. 0m when it’s only the 2nd time you sit on it (if you’re lucky) it’s a whole different ballgame! In some cases, like if you are applying to be a rider for an Arabian stud for example, experience with that specific breed and all of its quirks would be required.

2. Professionalism

As a professional rider, you will have a great responsibility to show a mature, respectable and professional personality while on the move. How you dress, communicate with show ground staff and your grooms, how you ride and treat your horses will reflect, for good or ill, the yard you represent, so be aware, you are always in the public eye. You will frequently need to liaise with landlords, either for yourself or on behalf of an employer, so making a good impression is essential. Horse owner looking for rider

3. Bravery

When you are first starting out, you will sometimes find yourself either as a solo rider or as a junior rider. In either position, you’ll almost certainly be the “dummy jockey”, as some call it – the one who is encumbered with “quirky” rides. Needless to say, unless he’s literally doing backflips, saying “no” to riding that horse can negatively impact how your employers may view you. As a rider, you are expected to be brave. You must always be ready to respond to the request or the announcement ” horse owner seeks rider”. If you are truly the competent and experienced rider you sold yourself to, you must have the ability and knowledge to deal properly and safely with said horse and the confidence to do so. Be brutally honest with yourself about the context of your riding experience and abilities. A runner must be really confident in his abilities and not just talk like he does!

4. Good health and fitness

Driving all day every day (most likely also between garden chores!) is extremely physically demanding work. Before even applying for such a job, make sure that your health in terms of recurrent injuries, persistent conditions and back problems is addressed. You will also need to ensure that you are physically fit for the job. There’s no point in blowing everyone away with your enthusiasm on day one if you’re crawling around the yard at lunchtime on day three!

Likewise, when you are on site, even though you are likely to stay fit for the job by doing the job, in order to do your best, be aware of any weaknesses such as straightness, tight hips or an arm /weak left leg and implement measures such as stretching/yoga/pilates/weight training if you want to stay on top of your game. Don’t give anyone a reason to doubt your abilities and tenacity when this is something you can be proactive about.

5. Evidence

Being the one who will “ride anything” in your local livery yard rarely equates to the knowledge, ability and experience required of a professional rider. Videos are an integral part of any runner’s job seeker profile and resume. You have to prove that you can do what you say! Preferably not just on one horse and the better variety of age and type of horses you can show you are schooling/jumping the better.

Approaching your ambitions with a realistic idea of ​​your own abilities and eyes wide open to the challenges you are likely to face will go a long way to getting your first foot in the door and impressing future employers. Here are some of the less glamorous things the budding young rider should keep in mind…

so you want to become a professional rider


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