Native riders of Britain: the jump jockey

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  • Welcome to Horse & Hound’s tongue-in-cheek guide to the various “native breeds” of riders in Britain.

    HEIGHT: About 5in taller than he’d really want to be, and if his parents had had any consideration at all in choosing each other, he wouldn’t be limited to Sunday lunches of two Ryvitas and a litre of flavoured water.

    CONFORMATION: About a stone heavier than he’d want to be, and if his parents had any consideration at all in choosing each other etc, etc. Nevertheless, jump jockeys are wiry, durable, impervious to fear and, in some cases, just plain crazy. Frequently the cause of safety alerts in airport metal detectors as a result of being wired up like Pinocchio and held together by more titanium screws than the Ark Royal.

    MARKINGS: Scant. Too little food and too much high-speed death-cheating gives many jockeys a pallor that would frighten Christopher Lee — or Dracula.

    TEMPERAMENT: Similar to that of the event rider, perhaps due to the shared experience of flying unaided into solid objects. Best described as “stoical”.

    HABITAT: Often born and raised in hunting counties, where being dropped on your head by an indignant equine is a rite of passage, the jump jockey was taught from an early age that “fear” and “big hedges” are never to be used in the same sentence.

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