How to Become a Jockey

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How to Become a Jockey. Racing horses is one of the most exhilarating and dangerous of the equestrian sports.

Things You'll Need

  • Halter
  • Jockey Saddle
  • Lead Ropes

Get a referral to work on the back side of a racetrack. You need a recommendation from either a trainer or an owner to get a job on the racetrack.

Begin your career "walking hots." This means you'll cool down hot horses that have just run or exercised. Walking hots is done from the ground.

Move up to grooming. Once you've established yourself on the racetrack, you can become a groom. Grooms are typically responsible for grooming three to four horses. The groom is responsible for making sure the horse is brushed, cleaned and ready to ride.

Pony racehorses: While seated on one horse, you hold on to the lead rope of the racehorse and trail him to the side. This gives the racehorse exercise and gets him used to being ponied, which is how the racehorse enters the racecourse.

Exercise racehorses. You finally get to ride the racehorse, but only for exercise. You'll be required to gallop the horse on the track for practice.

Compete in schooling races. These are practice races designed to teach new jockeys how to come out of the gate and race. Successful completion will get you an exercise license.

Realize that track stewards will judge you on your ability to ride while you compete in smaller races designed for exercise jockeys. The track stewards will critique your ability to handle the horse and to maintain safety among a group of horses on the racecourse.

Get your jockey's license from the racetrack. This license is valid at all racetracks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Everyone who works on the back side is fingerprinted by the sanctioning body of the racetrack.
  • If you don't want to or are unable to get a referral to the racetrack, you can also attend a school for jockeys. Contact the racetrack for information.
  • According to the Jockey Guild, jockeys cannot weigh more than 115 pounds, though there is no hieght limit.

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