Female Mentoring Plan for Jockeys Showing Early Signs of Success
A trial Mentoring Programme which pairs up female Apprentice and Conditional jockeys with female mentors is already receiving positive feedback following its introduction last month.
The six month pilot scheme, which is designed to complement the Jockey Coaching Programme by adding a second layer of support for jockeys, is being funded by JETS with a view to being offered to both male and female jockeys if the pilot is successful. So far, eight mentoring partnerships have been established with each jockey receiving around 2 hours of mentoring each month.
Just under a quarter of all Apprentices and Conditional jockeys are female and Jockey Development Manager, Joe Foley-Corah explains the thinking behind the scheme:
“Female jockeys tend to rely on their Jockey Coaches a lot so this Mentoring Programme provides an additional strand of support which is independent from the jockey’s coach or employer and someone who can help the jockey with other aspects of their life whilst the coach focuses on their performance.”
The mentors all bring years of racing or equestrian experience to their roles and have received mentoring training on how best to provide tips and skills to their jockeys. The mentors are Carrie Ford, Dana Mellor, Sally Randell, Gee Bradburne, Kim Tinkler, Alison Harper and Jeanette Brakewell and it is up to them to work out the most productive way to work with their jockeys in terms of both frequency and timing of mentoring sessions.
So far the feedback from both mentors and mentees has been overwhelmingly positive, especially as the scheme is initially having to be conducted online.
Apprentice Jay Mackay, who claims 7lb and is based with Jane Chapple-Hyam said:
“So far I’ve had a few Zoom calls with my mentor, Dana Mellor. She is always ready with advice whenever I need her and I’ve found her experience in racing really helps me as she is able to give me that extra bit of confidence I need especially before and after I have a ride. Both Dana and my Jockey Coach Michael Tebbutt have so much experience and I really value their support.”
Jay’s Mentor, Dana Mellor who rode for seven years as jockey, said:
“The whole culture of mentoring provides a safe space for young people. You never know when you’re going to need that little bit of extra support to help you navigate a setback or share achievements. The weighing room has changed a lot since I was riding but many of the challenges remain plus there is the added pressure of social media so I think it’s great that today’s jockeys now have such a structured programme of support.”