Coax your million-dollar horse into a winning position at the races.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$25,000 – $106,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Jockeys do?

Jockeys don’t just ride horses. They’re Professional Athletes who race them — perhaps even in the Kentucky Derby.

For many Americans, the sporting event of the year isn’t the Super Bowl or the World Series. It’s the Kentucky Derby — otherwise known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” What makes it so exciting might surprise you: It isn’t always the horses and hats; often, it’s the Jockeys.

As a Jockey, you’re known for your small size —you typically must maintain a weight between 100 and 120 pounds so that you can ride your horse without handicapping it — and your job is basically to mount a horse, then steer and control it while it runs at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour around an oval-shaped racetrack. Although it looks easy, the truth is: Horses are wild, and taming them requires tremendous strength and stamina.

It also requires a lot of training and preparation. In addition to riding them, therefore, your job is to bond with horses, often by grooming and conditioning them. Employed by individual horse owners, you’re tasked with learning the temperaments and behaviors of the animals you ride, then developing racing strategies that exploit their strengths and curtail their weaknesses.

Although it has mundane moments — consulting with owners and Horse Trainers, for example, and maintaining riding equipment, including helmets, saddles, and boots — your job is rarely dull. In fact, it’s often quite dangerous. Because you love horses, however, the reward’s worth the risk: Your boss isn’t a pencil pusher; it’s a mighty steed!

Should I be a Jockey?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • How to become a Jockey

    Most Jockeys have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9aaaaa&chl=no+college+%2899%25%29|||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,99,99
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