In Summary - Jockey
Jockeys typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Luke Drea, Event Rider
Luke Drea is a 3 Day Event Rider who is Self Employed. He left school before the the Leaving Cert exams to study in Kildalton Agricultural and Horticultural College in Kilkenny, where he completed the Sport Horse Production course. During his Transition year in school he took a year out to work with horses and did the British Horse Society stage I & 2 exams.
- Jockey - from: N.C.S. [UK]
The Work - Jockey
Most jockeys specialise in either flat or jump racing. The racing season varies, with flat races only during March till November and the jump season through out the year.
As well as riding horses in races Jockeys are required, as part of their day-to-day work, to exercise horses by riding them in gallops, in trials on training grounds and in schooling over fences.
You must keep weight as low as possible especially before races. You must be prepared to work in all weather conditions. Protective clothing must be worn at all times. There will be a risk of accident from falls.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Attend scheduled practice or training sessions.
- Participate in athletic events or competitive sports, according to established rules and regulations.
- Exercise or practice under the direction of athletic trainers or professional coaches to develop skills, improve physical condition, or prepare for competitions.
- Maintain equipment used in a particular sport.
- Maintain optimum physical fitness levels by training regularly, following nutrition plans, or consulting with health professionals.
- Assess performance following athletic competition, identifying strengths and weaknesses and making adjustments to improve future performance.
- Receive instructions from coaches and other sports staff prior to events, and discuss their performance afterwards.
- Represent teams or professional sports clubs, performing such activities as meeting with members of the media, making speeches, or participating in charity events.
- Lead teams by serving as captain.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Developing and Building Teams Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interests - Jockey
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
As an Apprentice Jockey you must be a minimum age of 15 and a maximum of 17 before 1st July (in the year of application), a maximum weight of 50 kgs (8 stone) and ideally, less than 5 feet 2inches (155 cms) tall.
You need dedication, self-discipline and a professional attitude. You should also have a great love of horses.
Entry Requirements - Jockey
The conventional way to enter this field of work is via a four-year apprenticeship which is undertaken at training stables. The minimum age for an apprentice jockey is usually 16 years, although some stables will take 15-year-old apprentices. There are a number of requirements that a successful applicant to a jockey apprenticeship will possess:
- Physical Requirements: a light build and specified weight (Although jockeys have the reputation of being elfishly small, the average jockey can be between 4'10" and 5'7"; the weight is far more crucial than the rider's height).
- Natural Ability: Most jockeys are naturally athletic and have an excellent sense of balance - which is imperative for obvious reasons. The job also requires steady nerves, as the pressure is inevitably going to be extreme.
- Personal Attributes: Although it is very unlikely that someone who dislikes working with horses will apply to be a jockey, the love for the animals and an understanding of their needs and behaviours is essential in a successful applicant. Interestingly the ability to ride is not an essential requirement for an apprentice jockey. A competitive streak will also work to the prospective rider's advantage.
Being an apprentice jockey is a full-time occupation. Apart from training on the track, the apprentice jockey will spend a lot of time maintaining the stables and grooming the horses in race preparation. Stable work and race training are completed with college-style classroom education on equine health and safety, as well as behavioural psychology to help the prospective jockeys gage the situation in a race scenario.
SOLAS provide an alternative route to becoming a trainee jockey via a traineeship.
The duration of this traineeship is 42 weeks. It consists of 14 weeks basic riding and stable management training at the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE), 18 weeks integrated training (mornings on-the-job and afternoons off-the -job training) and 10 weeks full time on-the-job training under the supervision of a local racehorse trainer.
Trainees however must purchase their own riding equipment. All meals and accommodation are provided and trainees return home each weekend. On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a QQI Level 4 Certificate in Race Horse Care & Riding.
For full details click here.
Last Updated: March, 2015
Pay & Salary - Jockey
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 19k - k
Professional riders earn €184.59 for riding in a jump race and €161.47 for a flat race.
Last Updated: August, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.