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To become a jockey.
I know you must be 16, and have a jockey license. Any tips or comments would be great. I am going to be lerking the race track alot in the summer :p so what kind of questions should I ask if I can get a hold of owners/trainers/other jockeys?
 

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How tall are you? What do you weigh?
Most of the jockey's I know live off a diet of bananas, tea and oatmeal, yummy, eh?
If you can get a job at a track (the ones around here are ALWAYS hiring people to clean stalls) try to get some connections and work your way up, there are also some 'jockey training' schools you can go through.
 

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Yeah, ditto above post.

Most jockeys weigh about 110-115 pounds and are pretty short, around 5'2''. Hell, I wanted to be a jockey but I ain't willin to ut in that much dedication when I could own my own horses and compete on my own, breed pretty colts and make them champions of my own accord.

A lot of Jockeys also have eating disorders, mostly Bulemia but I know some anorexic ones too. And if you don't win, you don't get paid. And if you don't get paid, you can't afford to feed your family.

On top of that, it is incredibly dangerous. You are travelling at about 40 mph and if there is one single mistake out there you and the horse are going to go down and when you are going that fast its gonna hurt, and if you're up front you're more than likely gonna get it from the other horses too. Everytime you go out there you have an ambulance chasing you.

It isn't for the faint hearted...I have gone to the track several times and worked ith one of my friends who is a Jockey here in Oregon. She consistently get sinjured and has to ride through it to avoid looking weak, and in a matter of two minutes her twisted ankle turned into a major problem for her. And if you don't win, you get chosen to ride less.

I know I've covered mostly the negative, but I want you to know everything that you're getting into.
 

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^ Hm, I weigh around that much and barely reach 5'2" on a good day. Plus, I'm not terribly fit at the moment, so my optimal weight is less than that. I never thought I'd fit the requirements of a jockey. Maybe I should become one... xD
Just kidding, from what I know, it's a very tough lifestyle. Not to mention that it seems like it'd be even tougher as a female.
 

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I live close to a race track and alot of the jockeys started working at the track at the age of ten or younger. They had to work their way up by hard work, no one gets a shortcut. They are all very, very, small. You have to have 100% dedication, meaning no distractions because your up and working at 5 'o'clock everyday, seven days a week. The pay isn't good unless you win, eta...

How old are you? I would see if you have a local track. I worked at one for FREE once. It was so hard, and it pushed me to my limits. Because I was at the bottom (picking stalls) I got treated like dirt. I was offered a non-paying job of cooling off the horses. But after listening to some of the jockeys I decided I didn't want to get started down the track path. And like others have said it's sooo competitive.

You sound young, so you might grow. I got unlucky, I'm 19, and 5'1.

The guys at the track close to me aren't bulimic, or anorexic; it wouldn't be tolerated. They eat, and eat alot. They just pay attention to what they eat. They never go out, they always make their own food. They are extremely cautious. If they need to lose a few pounds before hand they run, for however long it takes to burn the calories. Which is probably why I'm so skinny, I'm not a huge eater. But I snack allllllll day.. I never realized I did that until I wrote this.


Watch the show Jockeys and you will get an idea of what it's like.
 

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Around here there's so much competition that the max 'ideal' weight is 110 including tack.
That doesn't strike me as healthy, ahah.
If you're 5'1 and under it is. I actually just had a conversation like this with my fiance's mom. She thinks I'm too skinny, but I said "I'm 5'1, how fat would you like me to be." :shock:
 

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http://www.horseforum.com/horse-stories-poems/my-story-becoming-jockey-what-do-40807/

There's a member who posted about her blog quite a while ago on this very topic. It's a very interesting read and tells how she went about becoming a jockey. Not that this way works for everyone...but just another approach to think about.

Good luck to you! I used to want to be a jockey when I was about 12...but since I was 5'5" at the time...well...I moved on from that career thought. lol
 

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A better and somewhat safer route to becoming a jockey is to work on the farm first. By that I mean a farm where the break long yearlings and prep horses for the track. The horses aren't as fit, and there's usually just one set out on the track at a time, so there's less to cope with. Also, if you're a solid rider in another discipline, a farm is much more willing to give you a chance than a trainer at the track.

There's two different approachs. One is to be hired full time to rub and ride. That means your assigned 4 - 5 horses and you're responsible for their total care, including grooming, mucking, breaking and exercise. If your riding skill isn't as well developed, this may be your only option.

The other is to just ride, and get paid by the head. No mucking, no feeding, no farm work. This is the route I went, however, I had a lot of experience breaking horses, and had foxhunted and evented, so I didn't have a problem with speed. And I had to demonstrate my riding on several horses before I was offered this option. So I rode 10 - 14 per day, cleaned my tack and went home. It was great!

If you're doing very well on the farm, you may get a chance to ride at the track when your farm sends horses to the track to train or even for a one day workout. It's a way to gain some experinence and have some trainers see you ride.

If you're really serious about his, I'd try working on a farm for 6 months - 1 year; then try moving to the track and working as an exercise rider. Give yourself 6 months at the track before applying for a jockey's license. Once you have your license, get an agent. Be prepared to still ride work every single morning to pay the bills while you beg rides.

The guys at the track close to me aren't bulimic, or anorexic; it wouldn't be tolerated.
That must have been a highly unusual track, that certainly has not been my experience. I woiuld estimate less than 20% of jockeys working at the track maintain their weight through diet alone. The rest use laxatives, the hot box and purging.
 

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Very informative post, Maura!
I have never worked on a track myself, but I have a few friends that have, and have been party for a number of conversations concerning the matter; it is not an easy job. It is a job that will test every inch of you - both physically and emotionally.
If one doesn't have experience with the track life, they might think that it's like the books (such as the Thoroughbred series) say it is - very untrue.
Your very mettle will be tested.
Some racetracks, trainers, and owners, will not handle horses like we might like them to be handled.
Is it rewarding? Yep.
 

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A better and somewhat safer route to becoming a jockey is to work on the farm first. By that I mean a farm where the break long yearlings and prep horses for the track. The horses aren't as fit, and there's usually just one set out on the track at a time, so there's less to cope with. Also, if you're a solid rider in another discipline, a farm is much more willing to give you a chance than a trainer at the track.

There's two different approachs. One is to be hired full time to rub and ride. That means your assigned 4 - 5 horses and you're responsible for their total care, including grooming, mucking, breaking and exercise. If your riding skill isn't as well developed, this may be your only option.

The other is to just ride, and get paid by the head. No mucking, no feeding, no farm work. This is the route I went, however, I had a lot of experience breaking horses, and had foxhunted and evented, so I didn't have a problem with speed. And I had to demonstrate my riding on several horses before I was offered this option. So I rode 10 - 14 per day, cleaned my tack and went home. It was great!

If you're doing very well on the farm, you may get a chance to ride at the track when your farm sends horses to the track to train or even for a one day workout. It's a way to gain some experinence and have some trainers see you ride.

If you're really serious about his, I'd try working on a farm for 6 months - 1 year; then try moving to the track and working as an exercise rider. Give yourself 6 months at the track before applying for a jockey's license. Once you have your license, get an agent. Be prepared to still ride work every single morning to pay the bills while you beg rides.

That must have been a highly unusual track, that certainly has not been my experience. I woiuld estimate less than 20% of jockeys working at the track maintain their weight through diet alone. The rest use laxatives, the hot box and purging.

Probably the most accurate post here.

I worked at the track and knew a few TB stables and owners. It is not for the faint of heart and most people that try for jockey status never make it. It is early rising so you can "sell yourself" to get rides unless you have a really good agent. You will get the bottom rung horses to exercise IF you can convince the owners/trainers to even let you on the horse. Hotwalking is where a few start off as, or mucking out and in your free time you will try to push everyone else that is trying to get a ride ( exercising) from an owner.

Maybe if you hit the right combination of sympathetic owner and horse you work well with you could be taken under an owner's wing and fostered to the point of getting a chance to actually ride in a low level claiming race to begin with.

I hope you have a lot of fortitude.
 
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