Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program

A partnership of Olds College, Horseman’s Benevolent Protective Association of Alberta and Horse Racing Alberta.

The Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program will give you the confidence, fitness and skills to be an entry level exercise rider and jockey at the Alberta Horse Racing tracks. Under the instruction and supervision of professionals in horse racing you will learn the theory and practices to develop your riding skills.

Opportunities for Employment as a Certified Exercise Rider or Jockey

  • The race season in Alberta will be at Century Mile, Lethbridge, and Century Downs.
  • There are also opportunities for Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program graduates to be employed by training farms that operate year-round.
  • Opportunities will depend on the success of the individual
  • Entrepreneurial skills will be required to gain employment with trainers

Wage range as an Exercise Rider

  • Trainers are paying gallop riders in Alberta a rate of $10 per horse per exercise session (as of June 2006).
  • An inexperienced gallop rider would start with approximately 5 to10 horses per day ($100 per day) and work up to 20 per day ($160-$200 per day).
  • Most trainers prefer to exercise and/or gallop their horses 6-7 days per week. The wage range could be $2000-$4000 per month.

Physical and academic requirements of an Exercise Rider or Jockey

Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program graduates need to be physically fit, mentally ready, willing and able to ride a thoroughbred race horse.

  • Strong work ethic is required for success as an exercise rider or jockey.
  • Being an Exercise Rider or Jockey is physically challenging and will need a solid foundation of personal physical conditioning and the ability to ride horses. Riders must independently develop personal fitness regimes to meet physical requirements.
  • Riders must be able to recognize the individual differences and respond to the needs of individual horses.
  • The ability to ride, perform and complete tasks as instructed by individual trainers is important.
  • Riders who wish to become jockeys will need to meet specific weight restrictions. 

Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program Specifics

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Advanced experience in riding horses is an asset.
  • Completion of the application form (including appropriate information and references)

Selection Process

  • Small classes promote quality education- applicants will be carefully selected
  • Selected applicants will be contacted for a 4 part evaluation:
    • a riding test (this program is offered for those with considerable riding and horsemanship skills)
    • an interview,
    • a fitness test and
    • basic medical evaluation (to ensure there are no injuries or underlying conditions to prevent you from working in the race industry)

When we have received your application we will contact you for your test procedures and dates.

Send in your application now to avoid disappointment.

Program Agenda

Participants will be required to master specific competencies through individual riding assessment prior to advancing to more challenging horses and riding conditions. Students will be gradually introduced to more challenging riding conditions as their ability and confidence grows.

  • Month 1: you will hone your riding skills indoors at Olds College
  • Month 2: you will learn at the college and Olds Agriculture Society complex and track.
  • Month 3: you will learn at an industry training track with your instructors and on the successful completion of the riding test (the licence test).Then you will be embedded in the industry working with current trainers at the track galloping their horses. 15 weeks. To complete the graduation requirements you will log 60 rides with industry horses in training.

Graduation Requirements

Graduates will be competent in their athletic ability and horse handling skills, riding skills and their ability to exercise and ride race horses. The exercise rider will work directly for trainers to exercise and gallop horses, with the potential to train and aspire to be a jockey. As a graduate of the Exercise Rider and Jockey Training Program you will have gained:

  • entry-level occupational skills that will enable you to secure employment
    • as an exercise rider and
    • as a potential jockey in the race horse industry.
  • advanced training in the horse racing industry for
    • race horses and
    • training farm

To graduate you must maintain a passing grade in all skills, tests and have maintained a riding log with a minimum 60 galloped horses.

For more information please contact

  • Olds College Animal Science Continuing Education
    (800) 661-6537 ext 4767
  • Horse Racing Alberta 
    (780) 474-1742  

Registration Information

Dates: TBD

Location:  Olds College, Olds Agriculture Grounds, Spring training track (Century Downs, Balzac) 

  • $1000.00 + $250.00 materials fee + Student Fees for Alberta Residents
  • $2000.00 + $250.00 materials fee + Student Fees for residents other than Alberta
  • Call 1 (800) 661-6537 ext. 4610
  • Please include the following with your application.
  1. A short written paragraph on what your main areas of interest involving the horse racing industry?
  2. What are you looking for in career opportunities involving horses?
  3. List two or more equine and/or personal references( name, address, and phone number)

Please submit your references with a brief personal description (one page maximum) including your experience with horses, and why your references would recommend you for this program.

Apply Now!

Apply online with Olds College