Many horse racing fanatics probably know their favorite champs’ name, height, and birthdate, but there’s little ever said about those who share in their victory. Regardless of the breed, Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Warmbloods, or Ponies, every horse trainer needs a suitable jockey that will race their four-legged sprinter to victory.
It may even be a personal fantasy for any horse lover to soar through a steeplechase race, overcome every hurdle, and cross the finish line first. However, before you underrate or over-obsess over jockeying, here are ten unique facts about horse jockeys.
- Size and weight are essential.
Jockeys are usually required to be lightweight and weigh between 108 to 118 pounds. However, in Kentucky Derby’s, jockey’s could weigh up to 126 pounds. That means the average jockey would probably be 4’10 to 5’6.
However, their size and lightweight form shouldn’t affect their strength and poise. So, the next time you’re considering bookmaker offers, don’t just focus on the size and weight of the horse, take a peek at the jockey’s form as well.
- It’s not the most lucrative career.
Horseracing may be one of the most prestigious and long-standing sports, plus it rakes billions in revenue across Europe, Australia, Asia, and America. However, that doesn’t mean jockeys earn the same as footballers, basketballers, or even tennis players.
In fact, according to cnbc.com, every jockey that rides their horse to victory gets 10% of the cash prize, which is usually in millions. However, they don’t take home the full 10% either; there are agents to pay and tips given to the valets who help them prep for the races.
- Jock-horse harmony is key.
So, there’s a little jockey-horse romance required to ensure both parties feel safe, confident, and well partnered up for the race. That means jockeys have to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the horse to ensure it’s riding at full potential in each race.
- It’s a risky business.
Being a jockey doesn’t come without certain risks and downsides. In fact, according to this post by CNN, jockeys may just be the most underpaid and injured players in any sports industry. They take great risks riding at such record speeds, and sometimes, such injuries even lead to death.
- Jockey’s don’t own horses.
Most horse racing competitions don’t allow jockeys to own horses, rather they are employed by trainers and changed at will. That means they have little say in what they wear, however, their travel costs and health insurance are taken care of, plus they are allowed to bring their saddles, bridles, crops, and the likes.
- They aren’t so famous.
Most people know the most famous horses or even the horses that are just starting out. However, jockeys suffer quite a humble career and usually don’t get the accolades they deserve.
- It’s a male-dominated industry.
Newly conducted UK research shows that female jockeys are just as good as their male counterparts. In spite of this, the industry is still quite male-dominated, and the majority of jockeys that trainers ever consider are usually men.
- Their style is usually not self-inspired.
Jockeys are supposed to wear unique colors and patterns that will help differentiate the horses they are riding. This means that it’s up to the trainers/sponsors to provide unique colors and personalized patterns which shows more of the owner’s style choice than the jockeys themselves.
- There are more or less freelancers.
Most jockeys are actually self-employed and have to wait to be called upon by trainers to ride in races. They usually work with contracts that allow them to earn a standard fee regardless of the cash prize at the various racing competitions.
- All jockeys need a license and can’t bet on races.
Being a jockey is a professional choice, which means all hopefuls and aspirants must be well-trained and acquire a license. Plus, jockeys are not allowed to bet on races, neither are they allowed to give outsiders information on what to bet. However, trainers are allowed to bet, probably because they are not as close to the action as jockeys are.