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Why You Need to Know About Jockeys
Saddle up 🐴🎌 and discover the πŸ‘‘πŸ₯‡ awards, ❌risks, and πŸ’°πŸ’΅ moolah that comes with being an πŸ‡ winning jockey πŸ†πŸ’―!

Learn what are the requirements of becoming a jockey. Find out what are the risks, awards, and estimated salary of a jockey.


Horses take the spotlight in all horse racing tournaments because of their speed and agility. However, there is someone with them that is often overlooked. This is the jockey that sits on the horse to guide them through the race. They can also be called a rider or driver if they are competing in harness or draft races. While this may look easy on the outside, it is harder than it looks because of the responsibilities and risks of their job.


Requirements to be a Jockey


Speed is necessary in order to win horse races. This is one of the reasons why jockeys need to be lightweight. The weight limit depends on the competition they are joining but it usually ranges from 108 to 118 lb.

Despite the weight limit, jockeys need to be capable of controlling their horses. This is hard with how light the jockeys are since horses typically weigh 1,200 lb and move at 40 mph.

There is no height requirement for jockeys. However, they are usually short because of the weight restriction. Jockeys typically have a height of 147 cm to 168 cm.



Job Risks of Horse Jockeys


Horse racing has various risk factors not only to the horses but to the jockeys riding them. This is because you cannot ensure your whole safety during the fast-paced race. You can fall even if you are already an experienced jockey. This is highly dangerous because you are in a competition with strong animals that can stomp on you.


Some of the injuries you can get from an accident in horse racing are the following:

  1. Concussion
  2. Bone fractures
  3. Arthritis
  4. Being trampled on by horses
  5. Paralysis.

Additionally, eating disorders like anorexia are common. This is because the pressure placed on jockeys to be skinny is high.



How to Become a Jockey


Jockeys usually start off in the profession when they are young. Most jockeys have riding work with the horse trainers before they eventually become apprentice jockeys.

Apprentice jockeys are known as “bug boys”. The master they follow is the trainer they work for. They have to ride a minimum of 20 barrier trials before they can ride in races. Additionally they can have less weight on a horse’s back when they ride in races. This is usually an incentive given by trainers to hire less experienced jockeys.

Jockeys need to be licensed so they can compete in races. Furthermore, they are not allowed to bet on any horse race. Japan horse jockeys need to attend a horse racing school and graduate before they can be one.



Recognition of Horse Jockeys


Organizations that run horse racing tournaments all over the world often give awards to outstanding jockeys. This is based on the races they won, average race won, amount of money earned in total in horse racing, and the best newcomer jockey.

The most known awards given to jockeys in different countries are: Scobie Breasley Medal, Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, Lester Award, George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, JRA Award for Best Jockey.


JRA Award for Best Jockey

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) is a public company in Japan that organizes a lot of horse racing tournaments. They give awards not only to horses but also to the best jockeys. They give this award to the best jockey who has won the most number of races. A high average of success in races and how much they earned from races are also considered.


Scobie Breasley Medal

The Scobie Breasley Medal is an annual award given to excellent jockeys that race on Melbourne racetracks. Racing stewards vote on who they think is the best jockey based on the best ride of the day on the track.


Avelino Gomez Memorial Award

The Avelino Gomez Memorial award is given annually to jockeys who made significant contributions to the sport in Canada. However, you have to be born, raised, or stayed in the country for more than five years to qualify for the award.


Lester Award

The Lester award is given annually to excellent jockeys in Great Britain. The ceremony for the award is held in December.


George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award

The George Woolf Memorial Jockey award is given annually to outstanding jockeys. It is presented by the Santa Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia, California. This award can only be given once to one jockey. A one-foot high replica of the life-size statue of Woolf and his favourite horse Seabiscuit is included with the award.


Salary of Horse Jockeys

Horse jockeys are considered to be freelance contractors. This means they are not tied down to an organization and they are paid when they ride in a race. Once the race ends, horse jockeys receive their salary even if the horse they rode lost.

The real income for jockeys come from the purse of a tournament. This is the amount of prize money given to the horses who raced through the tracks and placed first, second, or third. However, the percentage of the jockey here is a bit small. For example, they may only receive six percent if they won first place, one percent in second place, and half a percent for third place.

Generally, jockeys earn ¥3,250,000 to ¥4,300,500 per year. This still varies though depending on prize earnings. This is because the amount of money placed in a tournament’s purse is not always consistent.


Famous Horse Jockeys


There are a lot of jockeys in the world that have made their name in the industry. Some of them who are known for their achievements are: Bill Shoemaker, Lafitt Pincay Jr., and Yutaka Take.


Bill Shoemaker

Bill Shoemaker is an American jockey who held the world record for total professional victories for 29 years. He has competed and won in various major horse racing tournaments like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. He has a total of 8,833 career wins.


Lafitt Pincay Jr.

Lafitt Pincay Jr. is an American jockey who competed mainly in the United States. He is considered to be an all-time flat racing jockey. This is because he won a lot of major racing events like the Santa Anita Derby among others. He has 9,530 total horse racing wins in his career.


Yutaka Take

Yutaka Take is a famous jockey in Japan because he has won a lot of major events. This includes the 2005 Japan Triple Crown with the horse Deep Impact. Additionally, he has won in international races like July Cup in Great Britain, Hong Kong Cup, and Prix d’lspahan in France among others.



READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Horse Racing