Deciding to become a jockey is unlike choosing most other career paths. For one thing, it is often a decision made very young. Someone who has not grown up around horses, if not riding daily, is going to struggle to go down this route. For another, you have to fit very specific physical criteria.
However, it is a very rewarding career and one that has plenty of thrills. Even if you’re not going to be known as the best in the world, you can still make it work as a professional. And if going pro is not for you, being a jockey can still be incredibly fun and exciting.
Here are some steps to consider when choosing to become a jockey.
Own a pet
Anyone who wants to work with horses should grow up around horses or should have been raised around pets. This isn’t a choice you could have made at the time, of course, but it will nonetheless impact your options. If your child expresses an interest in becoming a jockey one day, you can help them out by getting a pet.
Everyone should own a pet in my opinion. While there is admin involved, there are also tools to make it much easier, such as the best pet insurance in 2019. Hopefully, you got the chance to grow up side-by-side with a pet, and are now ready to work so closely with animals.
Cutting it down to size
Unfortunately, one of the natural determinants of whether you can succeed as a jockey is your size. You can become a jockey if you weigh between 100 and 118 pounds. This is, of course, a very narrow margin, and it rules out almost everyone above 5’6”.
You can bring your weight down even if you are a little bit taller, but you also need to be strong and fit as a jockey, and that is impossible if you are undernourished. If you are the right height to be a jockey, you are going to need to follow a very strict diet, as well as a very particular workout regimen so that you do not bulk up too much while getting fit.
You don’t need to train with a particular academy or under a specific curriculum to become a jockey in the US. As long as you know how to race, you are fully qualified. However, the North American Racing Academy does offer a two-year program that will help you attain the professionalism necessary.
Alternatively, there are many excellent trainers available throughout the country. Find the person who is best suited to training you, and you’ll be well-placed to get the skills you need to become a professional jockey.
Complete an apprenticeship
Depending on where you are, you may have to complete an apprenticeship before you can apply for your professional jockey license. This will involve working with professional jockeys as well as taking care of horses and working in stables.
At this point, your career depends both on the skills you hone during your apprenticeship as well as how well you maintain your suitability. It is crucial that you keep to your weight requirements, eating correctly and working out appropriately. Because it is such a physical endeavor, there can be no vacations from staying fit.
Choosing to be a jockey is the first step on the way to a fulfilling, exciting career. Make sure you are the right size and have the resources to become a jockey, and get started on your journey.