Is becoming a jockey right for me?
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How to become a Jockey
There are two critical elements to becoming a jockey; a love of riding, and the right body type. 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, which will help them when it comes to race training. Horse jockeys also have to be within certain weight limits in order to qualify for racing (typically between 108 - 118 pounds). This can be very challenging, as a jockey must also be physically fit in order to control such large animals.
If a person enjoys working with horses and wants to be a jockey, a good next step would be to gain experience working at a race track or a stable. Getting a foot in the door could eventually lead to grooming horses or 'exercising' them which involves riding a horse around a course at a gallop, as a practise run.
The next step is to begin participating 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. 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.
There are also Jockey Training Programs available. Students learn everything from the anatomy of a horse, to racing strategy, to how to groom and bandage a horse’s legs and how to muck out stalls.