Do I have to be a member of the AJA to ride in Amateur races?
YES – for the majority of races confined to Amateur Riders you are required to be a member of the AJA. The exceptions are Hunter Chases, military races and when riding against professionals.
How do I join the AJA?
A membership form is downloadable from this website. Just click the link on the left marked AJA Membership Form. You can pay by debit or credit card over the phone and join immediately! Just call Kerry Neal on 01933 304778. The AJA Membership Desk is based at Weatherbys, Sanders Road, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 4BX. Fax: 01933 304779 If you prefer to pay via your Weatherbys Account, this is also possible. Please note that payment by cheque is no longer possible.
How can I pay the membership fee?
You can pay over the phone by credit or debit card and send the application form to The AJA Membership Desk at Weatherbys or have your Weatherbys account debited with the fee. Current cost is £100 (as from 1st January 2015) for a full 12 months from the date of joining.
Why do you require a new application form completed each year?
It is important that details such as your address and contact telephone numbers are kept up to date. Also information on the numbers of winners you have ridden is important as the AJA is often contacted by trainers for amateurs who have ridden “a certain number of winners” for example.
What benefits are there to AJA membership apart from being able to ride in Amateur races?
- Category B currently available funded by the AJA which covers 30 places per year, subject to acceptance by the BHA. (You need to have 15 completed rides over obstacles under Rules or 20 placed point-to-point rides or a combination of these in order to apply for a Cat B course).
- automatic worldwide insurance for all AJA members against temporary injury whilst riding out or handling a racehorse or point-to-pointer. incapacity benefitS can be viewed here: Key facts (NB: Cover does not include any capital benefits such as death or permanent injury.) Please note: You do not have to be a jockey to be a member! Anyone can join to benefit from this insurance! Upper age limit: 70. NB: If you are on a trainer’s payroll and will benefit from RIABS, this INVALIDATES your AJA insurance.
- improved racecourse insurance from weigh out to weigh in against injury, with incapacity benefit of £250 per week payable after the first 35 days of injury for up to 104 weeks, together with cover against medical expenses, permanent injury, death and dependants, as well as many other benefits.
- Help and advice on all matters concerning amateur race riding such as medical issues, licences, jockey sponsorship, insurance and Rules of Racing.
- Inclusion in the Riders Directory on the AJA website (currently under reconstruction). This is useful for trainers seeking amateur jockeys.
- Opportunities to represent GB and ride abroad within the FEGENTRI World Series. Also occasional invitation races have cropped up in the past in Austria (Vienna), Bratislava and Budapest (European Ladies Championship), Ireland (Limerick and The Curragh), France (Pompadour), China (Wuhan), Russia (Kazan) and USA (Maryland Hunt Cup). Fairyhouse Racecourse kindly host an annual chase in memory of Lorna Brooke with four amateur jump jockeys invited from the UK each November.
- Entitlement to various trade discounts.
- Opportunity to join AJA committee and voice your views and concerns.
Can I join the AJA on the day I am due to ride and do I need to show my membership card when I ride?
No, your details are stored on Weatherbys database and when you are booked to ride your membership status is automatically checked. However, you are required to be a member of the AJA by 1pm on the day of overnight declaration of the horse. It is not a problem if you want to join immediately if you have a credit or debit card.
If I join the AJA at the end of the year do I have to pay again in January?
No, not any more. We have improved our membership system so that you now have best value for money with a rolling system which allows you a full 12 months membership whenever you join within the year.
How can I express my views on the AJA and amateur racing?
There is a ‘contact’ section on this site that enables you to gives us your views. You can of course call or email any of the Association’s officials on the numbers shown on the contacts page. In addition, you are welcome to join the AJA Facebook Group and start discussions!
Are there any social events arranged by the AJA?
The AJA have in the past organised a Northern Dance in November as well as a Championship Christmas Ball in December. However, due to declining numbers for both events whilst most of our members are so busy working and riding as well as being so widely spread across the UK, this is now under review.
What about insurance?
One of the main benefits of AJA membership is the all-inclusive worldwide insurance which covers all members for riding out and/or handling a racehorse. You do not have to be a licensed jockey in order to join the AJA. At the current annual cost of £100 this is fantastic value for money; an individual quotation usually costs around £400 per person. You are also able to take out your own personal insurance in addition if you wish. You cannot be over-insured! You are also insured from weigh out to weigh in on the racecourse proper under your licence to ride. (If you ride in point-to-points, your point-to-point licence insures you from weigh out to weigh in on the point-to-point course.)
Advice for amateur riders at the races
- Remember you are an ambassador for the sport of amateur racing.
- Do not leave your saddle unattended once you have weighed out. This is now a Rule of Racing!
- DO NOT use your mobile phone from 30 minutes before you arrive at the racecourse and not until after you leave. You can obtain special permission to use the telephone in an allocated area within the weighing room but please check or this is a punishable offence with £250 on-the-spot fines!
- Always look tidy and respectable.
- Never leave the weighing room in your colours to walk around the course without wearing a jacket or blazer over the top of them (except when leaving for the race itself!)
- Have good protection on your calves – you will notice the difference when you first race ride after the comfortable saddle and clothes that you wear for riding out!
- Always walk the course before you ride and familiarise yourself with the route to the start.
- Make sure that you leave the weighing room when called to go into the parade ring. Don’t be late into the paddock!
- Try not to do overweight – you are now prohibited from race riding if you are 4 lbs overweight – but don’t make yourself feel ill by trying to do light. Be sensible so you feel fit and well.