Being a jockey is not just about basking in the joy of the winners circle, it is a dangerous labor intensive position which requires a great deal of experience and knowledge.
What You Need
This is a position which benefits from strength of character, excellent riding skills and a firm understanding of the racing industry. Jockeys must work with a variety of people including horse owners, trainers, exercise riders and a variety of barn staff.
Extensive horse experience, a small (but strong) stature and a fearless ability to think fast are all traits of a successful jockey. With few exceptions this is perhaps one of the most dangerous horse jobs.
In short, jockeys are responsible for taking their mount across the finish line first. Although that obviously doesn’t happen by just showing up and jumping in the saddle. Jockeys train intensively with their mounts and must work to maintain a specific body weight at all times.
Working with racing trainer to establish race strategies
Riding their mounts in training exercises
Spend time getting to know the strengths & weaknesses of each mount
Maintaining proper riding equipment
Provide feedback to trainers and owners about each mount
Study past performances of their mounts
Research & understand footing at each track they ride
Riding race horses during races
This is one of the few positions where height and weight can determine your level of employment. Racehorses carry strict weight requirements and those with smaller stature are preferred. Experience is also a huge telling factor in employment, knowing horseflesh, understanding the racing industry and experience in the saddle are essential.
Most high level jockeys will be expected to attend jockey school and acquire certification to ride in races. Certification and schooling requirements will vary from country to country (and probably even state to state).
A few places to start if you are interested in a career as a jockey.
The Right Job For You?
If this isn’t your dream horse job, try using the search below to find it. You can also find more horse job descriptions on our careers page.