New Proposal for Exercise Rider Licenses

With racecourse safety being on the forefront lately, the proposal of creating a new license classification for exercise riders, suggested by the California Horse Racing Board, has been welcomed by everyone in the horse racing industry. Trying to ensure the safety of horses and riders is vital and through the new proposal of the exercise rider license, it is hoped that the safety on the racecourse will be increased, for everyone involved.

Whenever racehorses are exercised or breezed on a racetrack, there is always a racecourse official present. The duty of the official is to monitor the horses and riders on the track and to ensure that riders and horses are not in jeopardy at any time. An aspiring rider will therefore have to go through questioning by the stewards, before being handed over to the official. The official will then ride behind the rider to evaluate a rider’s skills, knowledge of racecourse rules and assess their ability at a gallop. Once the rider is cleared by the stewards and official, a stewards’ card is signed, allowing the rider to work horses with the others on the track. The flaw with this system is that even though a rider might be confident to ride a horse, they lack the experience, making newly appointed exercise riders a relative danger to the other riders.

What the new provisional exercise rider license will do for the horse racing community and the new rider, is allow them to gain the knowledge and experience, under close supervision. It will require the rider to train for a predetermined time period of approximately sixty days, with a licensed trainer, at a licensed racecourse, while being trained and their progress monitored. This will mean, that when a rider receives their exercise rider license, that they will not only have the ability, but the experience to be permitted to breeze and gallop horses with the veteran exercise riders.

The applicant for a provisional exercise rider license must therefore be employed by a trainer, who will be able to provide them with the necessary training and monitoring. Specially designed hats and vest covers will be given to the provisional rider, so that other riders can easily identify the new riders on the track. The outrider of the specific racecourse will advise the trainers if they need to accompany the rider on the track. After completing the sixty days of provisional exercise riding and having received recommendations from the outrider and stewards, a rider will be allowed to apply for their standard exercise rider license.

Allowing exercise riders to gain experience in a controlled and safe environment also ensures the wellbeing of others using the racetrack and the protection of racehorses. If no resistance to the new license is met by the 17th of July, the ruling will go through smoothly, putting in place additional security in the fight against racecourse injuries.