How to Become a Horse Jockey

In that case, you might be mulling over the thought of being a horse jockey and your love of horses extends further than a hobby. Maybe your passion for all things equestrian consumes your every thought. If that’s true, you better get started on that dream soon because the sport is actually quite competitive, and many of these jockeys start at a young age. As a want to be horse jockey, here are all the things you want to consider before beginning this long rewarding journey:

Horse Jockey: Start with Ambition

Becoming a horse jockey isn’t for the faint of heart, it requires you to have a passion for anything that involves horse racing.  As a jockey you will be spending most of your time around horses and people who are involved with the sport. If you think for even for a second that you will just try it out then you will not make it. This requires hard work and dedication with a no quit type of attitude to obtain success.

Physical Requirements

Not every type of person can become a horse jockey. There is a physical requirement that everybody must adhere to, without exceptions. The weight limit is around 110 pounds (as there is about 5 pounds of wiggle room). In addition to this weight restriction, you must also be at least 16 years of age and be very athletically fit. Height is another factor to consider, but it is less of a pre-requisite. Most jockeys stand  between 4’ 10” to 5’ 6”, but some  jockeys have been known to be taller.

Be Experienced Around Horses

Having a soft spot for horses isn’t enough to become a horse jockey; you must also know their habits, routines, patterns and natural behaviors. It is recommended that wannabe jockeys rack up some time as a stable hand or offer to assist a trainer.

You’ll want to spend as much time with horses as possible so that you can gain a high level of comfort and knowledge around them. You never know when the knowledge of their habits can save you from severe injury.

Get a License

Racing officials won’t let just anybody enter a race, regardless of whether or not you meet the physical requirements. It’s important to know that the participating jockeys are qualified and won’t end up harming the horses or themselves. The requirements for a racing license differ from state to state, but you must be at least 16 to apply.

Become An Apprentice

An apprenticeship is an essential part of your training to become a horse jockey. Inquire at racing facilities, equestrian clubs and job posting boards to see if anybody is looking for an apprentice. Usually, you’ll have about 4 years of training to learn the fundamentals of the business. Just keep in mind that you’ll like be working long hours, maintaining stables, grooming horses and learning the basic ropes of the sport.

Build Relationships

The saying “it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know” very much applies to the world of jockeying. The entire profession is so competitive that it can be very tough to get a foot in the door. Before you even begin your apprenticeship, you should be networking with people at stables, races and equestrian clubs— you never know who is going to be able to give you your big break.

Know Your Limits

Although rewarding, jockeying can be a very dangerous profession if you are not careful. Concussions, fractures and paralysis are common injuries, often caused by nervous or injured horses. You should take these factors this into consideration before beginning the journey to becoming a jockey.

If you are passionate enough about horses and think you have what it takes to become a professional horse jockey, you can accomplish your dream by committing to following these tips.

Virginia Cunningham is a health and wellness writer for northwest, a Canadian pharmacy, as well as a mother and yoga enthusiast. She’s always shared a great passion for horses and used to ride when she was younger, and hopes one day to pass this love onto her children as well.

horse Jockey

Tips on becoming a horse jockey


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