Methods Of Developing A Jockey: An Apprentice Must Undergo Long and Hard Labor Before Being Permitted to Ride., Daily Racing Form, 1918-08-02


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METHODS OF DEVELOPING A JOCKEY An Apprentice Must Undergo Long and Hard Labor Before Being Permitted to Bide BideThe The life histories of famous jockeys arc constant ¬ ly being published and interesting reading most of them afford but they seldom give any details of how these knights of the pigskin fared in the earliest stages of apprenticeship From time to time articles have aypeared describing the life of an apprentice in a big racing establishment and the writers have endeavored faithfully to limn them from their point of view though the experience narrated invariably differ widely from fact factFew Few people are aware of the hardships which are endured by a Iwy who is to make his mark as a jockey and it is generally imagined that if a lad is of a sufficiently slender build he has merely to enter a racing stable to earn the income of a cabinet minister in a few years This is a great mistake as everyone concerned with stables knows well enough and as every embyro jockey finds out to iis cost The training of a jockey entails many vcars of hard work if success is to be achieved and possessing a strong constitution alone will enable an annrentice to rise to the position of a firstrate jockey jockeyThe The famous actor usually gains fame by begin ¬ ning on the lowest rung of the ladder and so it is with the jockey and few cases can be recalled of any rider of note who has not commenced his career by doing his bit in the stable That those who rise to the top of the tree are few and far between is apparent from the long list of ap ¬ prentices which appears year by year in the Eac ing Calendar the majority of whom pass into obscurity obscurityThe The life of an apprentice in a racing stable al ¬ though healthy enough is by no means a bed of roses and woe betide the gently nurtured lad who thinks lie is going to have a good time Years ago an apprentice was thought little of and his housing and feeding were of the most primitive kind but things have changed greatly and in most establish ¬ ments the lads are looked after with the greatest care and their interests studied in every possible way wayThe The terms of apprenticeship Taries considerably and it usually rests with his parents whether a boy is bound to a trainer for three five or more years In most instances five years is the stipu ¬ lated time as the rudiments of the profession can scarcely be taught iu less though in some cases the apprenticeship lasts until the majority it at ¬ tained It is an old saying and a good one too however much to be said for the other side of the question and nearly all the crack jockeys of liie present day owe their positions to the care ¬ ful tuition bestowed upon them by their early em ¬ ployers ployersMUST MUST HAVE NATURAL ABILITY ABILITYA A boy must have bred in him the ability to con ¬ trol horses and the nerve to do so for no teacher can instill these necessary attributes The in ¬ stinct to judge pace is indispensable as without it no boy can hope to succeed and it was probably owing to this faculty that Sloan excicised such influence on race riding in England EnglandThe The inability to estimate correctly the speed at which a horse is traveling has spoilt the career of many prominent lads and this will be borne out by every trainer who will tell you that men whom he has had in his employ for perhaps a score of years even then cannot tell the difference between a half speed threequarter speed or racingpace gallop gallopAnd And now to describe tome of the details of an apprentices life It must not be supposed that when he enters the employment of a trainer he is at once placed on a race horse No a great many things have to be learned before he achieves that distinction The routine of a stable has first to be taught and there is a great deal more in this than most people imagine At the outset his attentions are mainly confined to sweeping the yards polish ¬ ing brasswork washing out the stables cleaning saddles bridles and harnesses and a hundred and one other details too numerous to mention mentionGoing Going the rounds with the stopping pot is one of these first duties and as this implement will no doubt be unknown to many readers it may be well to explain its uses A stopping pot is a box or other receptacle containing moist cowdung which is used to stop up horsess feet the night before they have to be reshod the object of the dung leing to soften the hoofs and thus render them less resisting to the blacksmiths knife knifeThe The novice is then gradually educated in the proper way of cleaning out a stable and bedding it down while he also has to notice how to dress a horse down properly It is frequently a source of wonderment to the visitor who makes his first in ¬ spection of a racing stable to see a small lad of some fourteen summers and sometimes less than four feet high completing the toilet of a big animal of sixteen hands in order to do which he has perched himself on the top of an upturned stable bucket bucketEARLY EARLY RISING THE EULE EULEEarly Early rising is the rule in all stables and the lads are invariably aroused at hours ranging from six a in in the winter to four a m in the summer for in the latter season most trainers have their strings on the exercise grounds before five oclock oclockWhen When the boy has thoroughly learnt his stable duties he is then taught to ride his first mount usually being some quiet old cob or pony and he is after having practiced a few times in the home paddock allowed to go out with the string to pick up and bring back the rugs hoods kneeboots etc which are taken off horses when they are about to undergo fast gallops This gives them plenty of mounting and dismounting practice and invaluable exi erience as race horses cannot be mounted by the usual procedure of placing the foot iu the stirrup for they will not stand and they have to be mounted by a series of springs springsWhen When sullicieiitly advanced the lad is given charge of a nice horse usually one chosen for its quiet ¬ ness and good manners and he is then taught how to ride canters the task of steering the horse in the faster work being left to more experienced hands After Mime months of this the lad of prom ¬ ise is given a chance of taking part in the gallops and it is the way in which he then shapes that de ¬ cides whether the trainer thinks he is capable of riding in a trial gallop gallopThese These trial spins are the crucial test and if a boy does well in them he is certain to be put up iu public To win at the lirst time of asking is nat ¬ urally a tine beginning but it falls to few and more often many races have to be ridden before a lad has to direct his mount to the winners enclosure Even then a long period may elapse before his services are in much request but if he is a promising light ¬ weight he is fairly certain of securing some patron ¬ age ageThe The apprentices1 career is not assured oven at this point for though he may be capable enough and his skill in much demand the loss of the live pounds apprentice allowance may cause him to be relegated to the background This fivepounds al ¬ lowance rule was made in order to give an appren ¬ tice a chance with his more experienced opponents and so it dots but as soon us a boy loses Lis right to it it will be found more often than not that he is no longer wanted and unless he shows special ability ho is seldom heard of again againThe The life of a stable apprentice consists of a great amount of hard work with little prospect of earn ¬ ing the great prizes of the profession just as in every other walk of life the stars arc few and far between London Sportsman

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