What is a Jockey?

A jockey is someone who races horses, usually as a profession. Jockeys are mostly self-employed, and are asked by horse trainers and owners to race their horses for a fee, and will also get a cut of the purse winnings.

A jockey will start out as an apprentice jockey when they are young, riding horses in the morning for the trainers. He or she must successfully ride a minimum of 20 barrier trials before being allowed to start riding in races. The weight of a jockey usually ranges from 108 - 118 lbs. for flat racing and despite their light weight, they must be able to control a horse that weighs 1200-1400 lbs. A racing quarter horse has a top speed of nearly 55 miles per hour; a racing thoroughbred can sustain 40 mph for over a mile.

What does a Jockey do?

Jockeys are asked by horse trainers and horse owners to race their horses for a fee, getting a cut of the purse winnings.

Horse racing 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. The jockey’s main goal is to get the horse to the finish line first. 

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. 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 the jockey works with each individual horse so they can run their best race. Jockeys also work with trainers and horse owners so they can talk about strategy and what the horse needs from its rider. A jockey will also spend time researching the records of race tracks, horses, and the other jockeys that will be in the race. 

Jockeys typically start their day early in the morning before a race. It’s not uncommon for a jockey to warm up a horse they’ll be racing later in the day. 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 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’ll fall off.”

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