What is a Jockey?

A jockey races horses as a profession. They are mostly self-employed, and will get a fee and a cut of the purse strings.

Horse jockeys have to be within certain weight limits in order to qualify for racing (typically between 108 - 118 pounds). Keeping such a low weight can be very challenging, as a jockey must also be very physically fit to control such a large animal.

What does a Jockey do?

Jockeys are excellent riders who have a high level of physical fitness. Controlling a horse running at high speeds requires a combination of strength and agility. Jockeys aren’t just riding horses; they are pushing horses to do their best possible run.

A jockeys on the back of a racing horse.

Jockeys typically start their day early in the morning, warming up the horse they’ll be racing later in the day. They will also confer with trainers and horse owners to talk about race strategy and what the horse requires from the rider. Some time will also be spent researching the other race horses that will be participating, as well as the jockeys that will be riding them. 

Before a race begins in the afternoon, jockeys will head into a steam room to relax their muscles for 30 minutes. The steam room also helps to shed one to two pounds of weight before a race. 

Jockeys typically specialize in a certain type of racing. Thoroughbred and quarter horse racing involves riders going around an oval ring for varying lengths. Other races involve the horse jumping over obstacles.

Some horses, known as 'speed horses', like to stay out front for the whole race whereas other horses need extra room on the right to pass. Every horse is different, and it's the jockey's job to find the best method.

Jockeys are paid a jock mount fee, which is a payment for each horse they race. Depending on where they finish, (first, second, or third) a jockey will also receive a percentage of the purse, which is the payment given to the horse owner for having their horse participate in the race.

Are you suited to be a jockey?

Jockeys have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of a Jockey like?

Jockeys spend most of their time outside, riding with horses, or in the gym making sure their bodies are in excellent physical condition. They are excellent riders and have to maintain their stamina.

Being a jockey can also be very dangerous. While riding at such high speeds, many jockeys know it’s not a matter of “if you will fall off,” it’s a matter of “when you will fall off.”

Jockeys are also known as:
Horse Racer Professional Horse Racer Apprentice Jockey Horse Racing Jockey