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Jockey

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) or the Northern Racing College (NRC), to see if you've got the potential to move on to a racing apprenticeship.

You need to complete the apprenticeship and get a licence so that you can race.

Each racing school has it's own course entry 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:

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

You’ll usually get extra payments if you're away from home, or if you're working outside the UK.

Some jockeys also get sponsorship deals.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

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

You’ll race at courses throughout the UK, and sometimes abroad.

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

6. Career path and progression

You could work just 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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Last updated: 22 August 2017