Jockey

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Jockeys ride racehorses at race meetings for horse trainers and owners.

Salary Range: Variable

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You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • switching from amateur to professional racing
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The first step to a racing apprenticeship is to apply for a residential foundation course. These are designed to see if you have the potential to succeed, and for you to see if this is what you really want to do.

The residential training lasts from 14 to 18 weeks and includes how to look after and ride race horses, and health and safety. Training takes place at the National Horseracing College and The British Racing School.

If you do well, you may be offered the opportunity to work in a racing stable and start an intermediate apprenticeship in racehorse care. You would then go on to do an advanced apprenticeship in racehorse care and management.

There are no qualification requirements, though you’ll study English and maths if you do not have GCSEs in those subjects.

Anyone aged 16 or over, who works at least 16 hours a week in a licensed racing stable, can apply.

More information

  • guide to apprenticeships
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You could start as a stable hand in a training stables and work your way up.

If you’re already working in a racing yard, you could talk to your employer about applying for the racing apprenticeship programme.

Other routes

You may be able to move into professional racing if you’ve got experience as an amateur jockey. You would need to complete training to get a professional racing licence.

More information

Career tips

If you’re a young person, you can get an idea of what it’s like to race by trying a taster day at your local pony club. The Pony Racing Authority puts on training and races for riders of all abilities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a jockey from The British Racing School and Careers in Racing.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be over 16 years of age
  • pass a medical check
  • pass a fitness test

All jockeys need to pass a licence course and renew their licence every year.

Amateur riders need to get an Amateurs Riding Permit.

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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • planning racing strategies with the owner and trainer
  • riding every day to exercise your horse
  • riding at race tracks around the UK and possibly overseas 

Working environment

You could work at a race track or at a riding stable.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and you’ll travel often.

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You could work for one trainer or owner, or ride for several as a self-employed jockey.

You could go on to work for stables overseas in countries like Dubai, Japan and the USA.

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