Horse Jockey Requirements Explained

Last Updated on August 8, 2022

If you’re a horse lover, you may consider being a horse racing jockey as a career. But what are the horse jockey requirements to enter this sport? Let’s find out!

What Is A Horse Jockey?

A professional horse jockey is someone who rides horses during races. Some jockeys are affiliated with a particular racing yard or string of horses, whilst others work independently. Jockeys earn their income by taking a portion of the winnings of the horse, although they may also be paid a fee to ride the horse, regardless of whether it wins or not.

The key to becoming a successful horse jockey is to get as many rides on winning horses as possible. This means you will need to work alongside trainers, helping them to work with the horses and maximize the chances of them winning a race. A jockey that wins many races is more likely to get rides on faster horses in the future.

What Is A Horse Jockey

As with most equestrian sports, there are some jockeys that are at the very top level and consistently ride winning horses again and again. However, there are many other jockeys that compete on a regular basis and maintain a regular income despite not getting top-level horses.

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How Do You Become A Horse Jockey?

Becoming a horse jockey takes time and dedication. It is not just a case of learning to ride a horse, as there are many aspects to this sport. Some jockeys have a background history of riding and working with horses, whilst others go into the sports having never ridden a horse in the past.

If you wish to become a horse jockey, the best place to start is by getting a job in a racing yard as a groom. The groom is the person who looks after and cares for the horses on a daily basis. This will also involve traveling with the horses to races.

As you gain more experience working alongside the horses, you will be given the opportunity to ride the horses during exercise. Written training is vital to ensure the horse has the maximum chance of winning a race and the grooms will train with horses every day.

It is common for horse jockeys to undergo formal training whilst working on the racing yard. This will take the form of a vocational qualification, such as a diploma in Racehorse Care. This type of on-the-job training enables the jockey to gain practical experience as well as the underpinning knowledge to help them become successful racehorse jockey.

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Horse Jockey Requirements

There are several horse jockey requirements that a rider must meet in order to be a successful jockey:

  • Weight

The weight of a jockey is under constant scrutiny. This is because each horse is given an allocated weight it can carry during the race. It’s cannot go under this weight, but to give it the best advantage the trainer would like the horse to carry weight as close as possible to this.

If a jockey is overweight, they will put the horse at a disadvantage. For this reason, jockeys tend to be small and have very low body weight.

  • Fitness – Horse Jockey Requirements

not only must jockeys have very low body weight, but they must be fit enough to control a fast-moving horse on the racecourse. This requires a high level of physical strength, fitness, and endurance.

  • Horsemanship

Jockeys must not only be able to ride horses but should also be able to carry out basic horse management skills. The jockey should be able to tack up the horse correctly for racing and be able to handle the horse in difficult and exciting situations.

  • Riding Skills

It may sound obvious, but riding ability is one of the most important horse jockey requirements. You need to not only be able to ride the horse at a fast pace round the course, but also warm it up appropriately prior to the race. This means you could need a good level of control and the ability to handle a horse in exciting situations.

  • Racing Technique

being a successful horse racing jockey does not just mean riding the horse as fast as possible. During the race, the rider will need to regulate the pace and control the horse appropriately. The direction of the horse will also need to be controlled to prevent accidents during the race.

Summary – Horse Jockey Requirements

So as we have learned, the main horse jockey requirements are that you are light enough weight to enable the horse to compete fairly, and also that you have sufficient strength and fitness to control the horse throughout the duration of the race. If you want to become a horse jockey, the best place to start is by obtaining a position as a groom in a racing yard. This will help you learn how to look after race horses as well as ride them in training and gain experience as a racehorse jockey.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the horse jockey requirements! Have you always dreamed of becoming a horse jockey but just don’t know how to get started? Or maybe you’re about to start work as a groom in a racing yard and you’ve got some questions about how to care for a racehorse? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


What does it take to be a horse jockey?

To be a horse jockey, you need to be able to control a horse in difficult and exciting situations. This includes warming the horse up correctly prior to the race, and managing the speed and pace of the horse during the race.

How hard is it to be a jockey?

Being a jockey is a tough and demanding profession. It requires constant dedication to managing your weight and fitness, as well as training with the horse regularly.

What qualifications do you need to be a jockey?

Most jockeys undertake some form of vocational qualification. This normally takes place when the jockey is a groom on a racing yard.

What are the duties of a jockey?

A jockey rides the horse in a race, but they must also work alongside the trainer with training the horse. This includes discussing tactics to be used during the race.