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Jockeys are sports professionals who ride racehorses at race meetings for horse trainers and owners.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You can apply to do a residential foundation course at the British Racing School (BRS) at Newmarket, or the Northern Racing College (NRS) at Doncaster, to see if you've the potential to progress on to a racing apprenticeship. You need to complete the apprenticeship and get a licence in order to be able to race.

Each racing school has course eligibility requirements.

If you're already working in a racing yard, speak to your employer about applying for an apprenticeship.

Careers In Racing has more information about becoming a jockey.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • high level of ability in riding and handling horses
  • fitness, strength and stamina
  • good eyesight and fast reaction speeds
  • the ability to cope with the risks and pressures of racing

3. What you'll do

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 

You’ll specialise in either flat or jump racing, although you could take part in both.

4. Salary

Jockeys are usually self-employed and are contracted by horse owners and trainers to race their horses.

As a qualified, professional jockey, you’ll receive a riding fee and a percentage of prize money.

You’ll get allowances for extended periods away and for overseas travel.

Some jockeys also secure sponsorship deals.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll work around 40 hours a week, including early starts and late finishes,
depending on the number of races you take part in.

You’ll attend races at courses throughout the UK, and possibly abroad.

The work is physically demanding, and there’s a high risk of injury from falls and kicks.

6. Career path and progression

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, especially in Dubai, Japan and the USA. 

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Last updated: 05 May 2017