From jockey to solicitor is not a classical career move, but Rory MacNeice has made it work.
“When I worked out my CV I had to think what skills I had that could be transferred,” explained Rory, formerly third jockey for leading National Hunt trainer Martin Pipe, and now a trainee solicitor.
“The pressure in a top-flight yard is tremendous, but it teaches you discipline and to work consistently. When you ride a race, you have your trainer’s instructions, but if things don’t work out according to plan you have to adapt.”
Rory left school with what he describes as “bad” ‘A’ level grades.
“I wasn’t interested in school, only in racing.”
He was determined to work for the best and persuaded Martin Pipe to take him on as a stable lad.
“My intention was to give it five years and see where I was,” said Rory.
He had always been interested in law and enforced time off during his last year of riding due to head injury allowed him to study.
Improved ‘A’ levels led to a place at university.
Intensive study was no hardship. “When I was a jockey, I’d leave the house at 6am and often not get back until 10pm,” said Rory. “So going to university was like having four years off!”
Armed with a First, he applied the same criteria as before to job hunting. “I’d always felt there was a tremendous need for extra legal services in equine-related matters and I wanted to work in a forward-thinking company.”
His opportunity came with solicitors Veale Wasbrough, which has developed a specialist equestrian unit.
“You can do other jobs and still be involved with horses. I still ride out and I also play polo, while at work I’m involved with the horse world and talking to horse people all the time.”