Recent graduate lives life as a jockey in England
December 30, 2010 By Leigh Cocanougher
and working as a freelance photographer in North Yorkshire,
England. Here, he is pictured with National Hunt trainer George
Moore (far left) and a fellow rider, Ginge.
Price captured this photo one evening at Nigel Twiston Davies’s
yard (the English name for a racing stable).
Price met 15-time champion jump jockey AP McCoy (left) at
Cheltenham race course on December 11. McCoy is in the running
for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award; winning would
make him the first jockey to ever have won the prestigious award.
Price’s photo of his friend Sam Twiston-Davies competing in a
race at Aintree made the cover of The Racing Post, one of the
largest horse racing publications in the world.
Jamey Price ’10 has been riding horses since the time he could walk. From his first horseback ride on his family’s racehorse at age four, Price has spent countless hours honing his riding skills, and he has nine first-place trophies already to his credit.
And having had much success—and much experience—riding in the United States, Price determined upon graduating in May 2010 that his next goal was to spend some time as a jockey in Europe.
“I decided that if ever there were a time for me to go do something different, it was now,” Price says. “So a month and a half after graduation, I jumped on a plane to North Yorkshire, England, where I’ve spent the last five months riding race horses around the country in the mornings and working as a professional freelance photographer in the afternoons.”
He chose to move to England, he says, because “England is the home of jump racing. The Brits are wild about horse racing, and steeplechasing’s roots lie in Ireland and migrated to England. Racing is a billion dollar industry here; the nightly news features replays from the day’s big races, the jockeys are like football superstars and racing is just a great day out for everyone. England had to be where I ended up.”
And although he was not surprised by the country’s passion for horse racing, Price says what he hadn’t expected was for the landscape on North Yorkshire to charm him so greatly.
“I’ve gotten to see the side of England that not many people ever visit,” he says. “When most people think of England, they think Big Ben, Parliament, the Thames, the London Eye and the Tube. That is England, but the England I know is rolling country sides, grazing sheep, pubs every half mile and towns that are worthy of being postcard pictures.”
Taking in the scenery is only one of many activities Price has enjoyed since arriving in North Yorkshire. In the past five months, he’s visited 20 race tracks around England and Ireland, traveled to Italy to attend a Formula One race and has ridden horses “worth more than the average house, next to jockeys who are legendary in the racing business.”
He has also stayed busy taking photos of “anything and everything,” including, of course, race horses and fellow jockeys.
And success in freelance photography found him quickly: while in England, one of his photos was published on the cover of The Racing Post, one of the largest horse racing publications in the world.
The photo, which was the result of a friendship Price made with professional jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, features Sam and Hello Bud, a horse trained by Sam’s father, Nigel, running in a race at Aintree.
“Knowing the jockey as a personal friend made the photo special on its own,” Price says. “But what made it even better was that it features a race at Aintree, over the formidable Grand National fences. The smallest jump on that course stands a solid five feet on the take-off side and every inch of that height on the landing side. The fence pictured on the magazine cover is called Becher’s Brook and is the biggest on the course in terms of landing height. From the top of the fence to the ground is nine feet—it’s a serious jump and not to be taken lightly by horse or rider. Aintree holds a special place in my heart because I’ve dreamed of walking the course since I was a small boy. It was a magical experience to walk the course the morning of the race with Sam Twiston-Davies and see the fences in person.”
Price’s reaction to seeing the photo he’d taken appear on the cover of the popular magazine was “sheer amazement.”
“I got a text from another photographer who works with The Racing Post saying that I ‘needed to pick up the paper in the morning,’” he says. “I initially thought, ‘Cool, a photo ended up inside the paper.’ That’s important enough in and of itself. But when I walked into the local shop and saw the cover, I think my mouth dropped. I bought six copies. The cashier laughed at me. I immediately rang Sam and told him we made the cover of The Racing Post!”
Because the Post is read by many millions of people every day, he adds, it was “extra special to have the photo be of a friend jumping a fence at a track I’ve long adored.”
Price believes that he has succeeded as a freelance photographer in England because many of the horses pictured in his photos are horses he has ridden while in England.
“I’ve sold quite a few prints to people of the horses they take care of,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of fun and tried to sell myself by taking photos that are original and maybe from a perspective people haven’t seen before. This is easy for me to do because everything is new to me here: racing in England is so different from what I’m used to. So being original isn't hard.”
And although he says he has “absolutely fallen in love with the English way of life,” Price has recently returned home to North Carolina, where he is founding his own photography business and will continue riding steeplechase races on the weekends.
And, he says, he will be visiting England as often as possible.