When South African Jockey Academy Legend, Jeff Lloyd, addressed the Apprentices at the Academy yesterday afternoon. All in attendance were left in awe of his emotion, humility, insight, knowledge, passion and work ethic!
Jeff has a simple recipe for success, which he shared with the apprentices, that has hard work as its foundation. As he pithily explained “nobody can do it but you, if you put in the hard work you will reap the rewards!” He also explained that hard work wasn’t a road to instant success, saying “it could take 5 to 10 years of hard work before you reap the rewards, but without it there will be no rewards!”
The next ingredient is continually striving to better yourself, Jeff explained to the apprentices that every time you ride a horse, either at work or in a race, it is a learning experience and an opportunity for a jockey to make mental and physical changes to his approach and style of riding. He urged the apprentices to make use of the facilities at the Academy saying “the Jockey Coaches video you at track and you have footage of all your races, you should spend as much time as possible in the AV room doing video analysis with the Jockey Coaches, analysing what you do well and trying to eliminate your mistakes”
Jeff critically clarified, that linked with continuous development, is the need to become an expert and student of the jockey craft! He explained that South African jockeys have a unique and powerful style of riding that sets them apart for other jockeys, particularly the ability to quickly change and use the crop with both hands! However, this was not enough and that a jockey’s style of riding should be continually evolving and striving to be better! He explained that earlier in his career, during a slump, he watched lots of footage of Pat Eddery’s unorthodox but highly effective bouncing style and incorporated elements of this to create his own unique style of riding that included both the bouncing technique and being in harmony with the horse. He also stressed that apprentices should visualise and practice any changes when riding work and perfect it, before trying it in a race.
Jeff implored the apprentices to always maintain an excellent public image, saying “once you have ruined your name, it’s almost impossible to come back” and that he had seen many jockeys damage their reputations and their careers never recovered. Jeff emphasised that currently jockeys are under huge scrutiny from the media and that via social media positive or negative information could be shared in an instant throughout the world.
In closing, Jeff explained to the apprentices how he used all the ingredients from the recipe, with large doses of determination and self-belief to comeback from his stroke in 2014. He detailed how he got his fitness back and how he knew deep down inside he had more to give to the sport! He enthused that he just didn’t want to make a comeback but wanted to be better than he ever was! The results speak for themselves and as Jeff explained, not only has it netted him Australian Jockey Championship titles and new records, but more importantly he knows deep down inside that he is currently riding the best he ever has in his career!