Is becoming a jockey right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
Still unsure if becoming a jockey is the right career path? Take the free CareerExplorer career test to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a jockey or another similar career!
Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.
How to become a Jockey
The best way to gain experience is to begin riding and caring for horses as early as possible. Working with horses allows aspiring jockeys to learn how horses behave and how they need to be handled.
Jockey training programs are also available. Students learn everything from the anatomy of a horse, to racing strategy, to how to groom and bandage a horse’s legs.
Jockeys often start out as an apprentice jockey, riding horses in the morning for the trainers. They need to successfully ride a minimum of 20 barrier trials before being allowed to start riding in races. New jockeys often participate in schooling races, which are specially designed events meant to teach new jockeys how to properly exit a gate and handle the horse during a race.
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.
Some racetracks require jockeys to have a license to participate. License fees and qualifications depend on where you live. Once a jockey is licensed, they are able to ride professionally.