Job Description:

Jockeys are licensed to ride racehorses in races for horse trainers and owners.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

On a typical day you could:

  • plan racing strategies with the owner and trainer
  • ride one or more horses
  • keep up a fitness regime at home or in the gym
  • travel to and ride at race tracks around the UK or possibly overseas
  • watch race replays and review your performance


You’ll need:

  • a high level of ability in riding and handling horses
  • fitness, strength and stamina
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • good eyesight and fast reaction speeds
  • the ability to cope with the risks and pressures of racing
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a professional jockey, you don’t necessarily need specific subjects, but you’ll need to develop specific skills and gain experience in horse racing. However, achieving good results can still be valuable, as it demonstrates your commitment and ability to learn. Here’s a list of subjects and skills that can be beneficial for aspiring jockeys:

  1. Mathematics: Math skills are essential for understanding race statistics, odds, and managing finances related to the sport.
  2. Physical Education (PE): Courses in PE can help you develop physical fitness, which is crucial for jockeys who need to maintain a low weight and have excellent stamina.
  3. Biology: Understanding the anatomy and physiology of horses can be valuable, as it can help you work effectively with these animals and understand their needs.
  4. English: Strong communication skills are important for jockeys, especially when interacting with trainers, owners, and race organisers.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • switching from amateur to professional racing


The first step to a racing apprenticeship is to apply for a residential foundation course. These are designed to see if you have the potential to succeed and for you to see if this is what you really want to do.

The residential training lasts from 14 to 18 weeks and includes how to look after and ride race horses, and health and safety. If you do well, you may be offered the opportunity to work in a racing stable and start an intermediate apprenticeship as an equine groom. You would then go on to do a senior equine groom advanced apprenticeship.

You can apply if you’re aged 16 or over and work at least 16 hours a week in a licensed racing stable. There are no qualification requirements.


You could start as a stable hand in a training stables and work your way up.

If you’re already working in a racing yard, you could talk to your employer about applying for the racing apprenticeship programme.

Other Routes

You may be able to move into professional racing if you’ve got experience as an amateur jockey. You would need to complete training to get a professional racing licence.

Career tips

If you’re young, you can get an idea of what it’s like to race by trying a taster day at your local pony club.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 44-46 hours of work. You could be required to work early mornings away from home.

You could work at a race track or at a riding stable. Your working environment may be physically demanding and you’ll travel often.

Career Path & Progression:

You could work for one or several trainers or owners as a self-employed jockey.

You could go on to work for stables in countries like Dubai, Japan and the USA.