The daily life of an apprentice jockey is a very tough one that entails long and hard hours of work and great effort. Apprentices must be 100% committed, dedicated and focused in order to endure the rigors of an apprentice schedule. An average day for the apprentice jockey is outlined below.
Wake up and prepare for riding work
Depart from the Academy for one of the training centres (Ashburton, Summerveld or Clairwood) to ride work
Work riding begins with supervision from the riding masters and trainers
Work riding ends for the day and apprentices head back to the Academy
Breakfast, shower, dress in preparation for school
Assembly (including announcements, scripture readings and prayers)
The school day starts
Report to stables (clean horses, stables, stable yard etc)/ Older apprentices report to trainers (stables)
Free time until supper
Prep (Homework period)
Free time until quiet time
Quiet time (For first year apprentices quiet time is at 20h00)
Lights out (For first year apprentices lights are out at 20h30)
This is the normal daily schedule for most apprentices. However, first year apprentices do not ride work at the training tracks during the first six months of their apprenticeship. They receive riding lessons in the morning and afternoon. This instruction is given by our riding masters. An apprentice is only sent to track once the riding masters feel that he/she is ready to ride work. Hence some apprentices may start to work ride before others. First year apprentices are also entrusted with duties at the stables as well as the cleanliness of the Academy buses, the Academy and the dormitory. These little tasks help in teaching them responsibility. Senior apprentices will not generally report to the Academy stables in the afternoon, but will work voluntarily for a trainer at the Summerveld Training Centre.
Weekends are taken up by race meetings and work riding. Usually the apprentices will have one day off on a weekend. They do not have the normal school holidays. Although they do not have school lessons during the holiday periods they still have to ride work for the trainers and they continue to live in the dormitory at the Academy. Apprentices are allowed 2 weeks leave a year during which time they may go home.