Multiple champion point-to-point riders Gina Andrews and Will Biddick have given their backing to plans requiring new riders to undertake a short assessment with qualified coaches before riding in the sport.
For the 2018/19 point-to-point season, new riders – and those who have not ridden in a race for five years or more – who apply for a Riders Qualification Certificate (RQC) will be required to meet with a PPA-approved, Level 3 BHA Jockey Coach.
The assessment will equip riders with more confidence and ensure that areas needing work will be supported, in turn maximising their enjoyment of the sport.
The BHA grant funded sessions will be delivered regionally by a small team of PPA-approved, qualified, self-employed BHA Jockey Coaches, working to agreed criteria to ensure consistency. The coaches will be geographically spread throughout the country and include Grand National-winning jockeys Carl Llewellyn and Mick Fitzgerald, as well as Colin Brown, rider of Desert Orchid.
At least one month before their first ride, riders will be required to arrange to meet with an approved PPA Jockey Coach, to demonstrate their ability to ride a horse at walk, trot, canter and over fences.
Reigning British champion Gina Andrews, said: “I think it’s a great idea and will definitely benefit people who aren’t necessarily from a racing background. Hopefully it will make things safer, not only for the rider, but for those they are riding against, as well.”
Six-time champion Will Biddick added: “I wholeheartedly support this new assessment for riders, as it will surely give inexperienced riders more awareness and confidence. I certainly wish I could have benefitted from this support when I started out.”
Vocational training manager at the BHA, Gill Greeves, said: “The PPA is to be commended for its approach to providing coaching and training opportunities for new and existing riders. Jockey Coaches are experienced in delivering a range of coaching activities and we look forward to supporting the PPA in this important initiative that will ensure riders are fully prepared for race-riding.”
Master of Foxhounds Association representative Alan Hill says: “In the modern era clearly we don’t see young riders on non-racing days as much as we used to, so to have a BHA Jockey Coach casting an expert eye can only be a good thing. As an ex-rider myself, I think it will be a great help to have this input and feedback so early in your career, I wish I’d had the same privilege.”