Get Inspired: HORSE RACING

The "sport of kings" has a long and illustrious history stretching as far back as ancient Greece, and remains one of the most popular sports on both sides of the Atlantic.

There are a number of ways for you to get involved in racing, whether you're a novice in the saddle or an experienced rider - or even if you've never been on a horse in your life. Jobs and experiences in the sport stretch far beyond simply being a jockey, although there are ways to get into that, too.

Why is it good for you?

You will feel the health benefits of racing whether you're a professional jockey or someone taking part in the sport for the first time.

Riders have to be in pretty good shape before they begin, and serious jockeys need a very low percentage of body fat to progress in the sport.

Cardiovascular workouts are essential for those wanting to take part in horse racing, so regular aerobic workouts will help to maintain a low body mass index and help to cut body fat. Horse racing also promotes strong posture.

Jockeys traditionally eat a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet which should help maintain low body fat.

Racing also helps to promote well-being through a healthy diet alongside exercising outside on a regular basis. This applies even if you're not riding: members of the racing industry can expect an outdoor, rural lifestyle combined with work around animals and the occasional thrills of life on a competitive sports team.

Get involved

What will it be - hopping into the saddle yourself, or becoming one of the valuable team preparing horses to race?

The British Horseracing Authority  is a good place to start, whatever your choice. The BHA is the official governing body of racing in Britain and offer tools and resources to those interested in watching and participating in the sport.

The British Racing School,  formed in 1983, runs general training courses and specific jockey training  for aspiring riders.

If you have experience of working with horses and are looking for a new job, or want to start out at a local stable, websites such as Horse and Hound  or Yard and Groom  offer information on vacancies in the industry.

History

Organised horse racing within Britain dates back to the early 17th Century, where the term "the sport of kings" originates.

The sport came under royal patronage during the reign of James I after a royal palace was constructed close to the racecourse at Newmarket.

Double Life

Crowds at Newmarket watch the Cambridgeshire handicap in 1929

According to the British governing body, racing was the first sport to become properly regulated in Britain after the formation of the Jockey Club in the 18th Century. Many of the original races, created during the sport's formative years, are still contested to this day - including the likes of the Derby and St Leger.

Horseracing reached a new level of popularity when television coverage was introduced during the 1950s and 1960s, and major races still command some of the highest TV ratings for any televised sport.

Are you inspired to try Horse Racing? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired  or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.