How to become a Jockey

Jockeys ride racehorses at race meetings, in trials and for exercise.

Personal requirements for a Jockey

  • Enjoy working with horses
  • Light build
  • Athletic, with a good sense of balance
  • Steady nerves
  • Competitive
  • Age and weight limits apply

Education & Training for a Jockey

To become a jockey you usually have to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional information

To work as a jockey, you must be licensed. This licence can be obtained from the racing authority in your state or territory. Applicants must undergo assessments, and there is a minimum age requirement in most cases.

Duties & Tasks of a Jockey


  • Receive instructions from trainers and owners before races
  • Ride horses during exercises, race trials and races
  • Judge the abilities of each horse and the best tactics to use to win each race
  • Discuss performance of horses with trainers after races or exercise gallops
  • Report anything that may have affected the horse's performance in a race to stewards and other racing authorities
  • Answer stewards' enquiries regarding the performance of their horse
  • Study videotapes of races to improve their own performance and to determine the best way to ride certain horses, after discussion with the trainer
  • Maintain their own riding equipment, including saddles and boots.


  • Undertakes sports promotional activities and television appearances..
  • Decides on strategies in consultation with coaches..
  • Adheres to the rules and regulations associated with horse racing..
  • Maintains a high degree of expertise in horse riding..
  • Attends regular practice sessions and undertakes private training to maintain the required standard of fitness..
  • Assesses other competitors and conditions at venues..
  • Competes in racing trials and events..

Working conditions for a Jockey

A jockey's time is usually split between early morning trackwork and riding at race meetings. Apprentice jockeys often live at the stables and may initially be required to perform the same work as stablehands. Jockeys must pay careful attention to diet and exercise, as they have to keep their weight down.

Employment Opportunities for a Jockey

Apprentice jockeys work for racehorse trainers. At the completion of the contract of training, jockeys become self-employed and work with racehorse trainers and owners to obtain rides in races.Those who find that they do not have the qualities needed to be a successful jockey may continue in the industry as stablehands, trackwork riders, farriers, float drivers and track officials. Some become licensed horse trainers.



Jockeys ride racehorses at race meetings, in trials and for exercise.

  • Average age
    Average age
    30 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    32% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    49 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    70% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    580 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.5%
    NSW: 26.0%
    NT: 1.0%
    QLD: 26.5%
    SA: 5.7%
    TAS: 1.9%
    VIC: 27.6%
    WA: 10.7%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 6.4%
    20-24: 24.1%
    25-34: 31%
    35-44: 23.6%
    45-54: 11.5%
    55-59: 1.6%
    60-64: 0.9%
    65 and Over: 0.9%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 5.2%
    Bachelor degree: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 51%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0%
    Year 10 and below: 25.7%
    Year 11: 4.7%
    Year 12: 13.4%
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