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Exercise Rider/Track Rider
Jockey Manager/Agent

 

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Nature or RecreationSkill Level 3

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

 They usually act as independent professionals, contracting their work to horse owners and trainers. In addition to competing in races, jockeys also provide horses with regular exercise. They must Future Growth Very Strong consult with trainers and observe previous horse races to determine the best tactics to use in a race. They must pay consideration to the track to be ridden on, and the strengths and temperament of race horses. They are also required to advise race stewards and trainers of incidents during a race that may have affected a horse's performance, and may have to provide evidence to stewards in cases where it is suspected that rules have been breached.

ANZSCO description: Rides horses in competitive races, race trials, and in exercise. This occupation requires high levels of physical fitness, sporting ability and personal commitment as well as, or in place of, formal qualifications or experience. Registration or licensing is required.

Specialisations: Apprentice Jockey, Steeplechase Jockey


Knowledge, skills and attributes

A jockey needs:

  • to be physically fit and athletic, with a good sense of balance

  • to adhere to age and weight limits

  • light build and to adhere to strict diet and training regimes

  • good communication skills

  • steady nerves

  • to enjoy working with horses

  • to be competitive

  • to be able to work both independently and as part of a team.

Duties and Tasks

Jockeys may perform the following tasks:Jockeys at work

  • 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.

Working conditions

Jockeys compete at race tracks all over Australia and the world. 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. They must follow a strict diet and personal training program in order to keep their weight at specific levels.

They often start work with early morning training sessions and may be required to train and/or compete on weekends and public holidays.

Tools and technologies

When riding horses jockeys use various associated equipment or tack, such as saddles, stirrups and bridles. They are also required to wear a helmet, boots and a protective vest. When racing they may also use a small whip, however, there are strict guidelines governing the use of whips in horse racing in Australia, which jockeys must adhere to in order to avoid causing injury to the horse, or other jockeys.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a jockey you usually need to complete a traineeship. The jockey traineeship takes 48 months to complete.

Jockeys must be at least 15 years old, meet strict weight requirements and pass a medical examination. Once you have completed your traineeship you will need to apply for a Jockey license.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

 

Did You Know?

Banjo Paterson, Australian writer, wrote several poems about Jockeys.....

Banjo Paterson

Few wrote with such passion for the sport of racing as 'Banjo' Paterson. From an early career as a jumps jockey, Paterson became perhaps Australia's greatest writer on racing and its characters.

One of his earliest efforts was the poem A Dream Of The Melbourne Cup (1886) whilst other poems included Only A Jockey (1887) Tommy Corrigan (1894) and In The Stable (1902).

Paterson's prose included The Shearer's Colt, a novel about racing published in 1936 while perhaps his most famous work The Man From Snowy River (1890) was later made into a highly successful motion picture.

Paterson also served as a correspondent (on horseback) during the Boer War and later became Editor of The Sportsman.

The Oxford Companion To Australian Literature perhaps best summed up Paterson when it called him "the supreme balladist of the horse".
(Source: Racing Victoria)

''Of all the human wonders of the world perhaps the jockey is the greatest,'' he [Banjo Paterson] opined in the unpublished The Racehorse (1914). '

'An active child can learn the art of riding in a week and yet we find a great jockey can earn the salary of a Lord Chief Justice.''
(Source: SMH)


The Riders in the Stand by Banjo Paterson [1904]

There’s some that ride the Robbo style, and bump at every stride;
While others sit a long way back, to get a longer ride.
There’s some that ride like sailors do, with legs, arms, and teeth;
And some ride on the horse’s neck, and some ride underneath.

But all the finest horsemen out – the men that beat the band –
You’ll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the stand,
They’ll say, ‘He had the race in hand, and lost it in the straight’.
They’ll show how Godby came too soon, and Barden came too late.

They’ll say Chevalley lost his nerve, and Regan lost his head;
They’ll tell how one was ‘livened up’ and something else was dead.
In fact, the race was never run on sea, or sky, or land,
But what you’d get it better done by riders in the stand.

The rule holds good in everything in life’s uncertain fight;
You’ll find the winner can’t go wrong, the loser can’t go right.
You ride the slashing race, and lose – by one and all you’re banned!
Ride like a bag of flour, and win – they’ll cheer you in the stand.

(Source:
Australian Jockeys Association)

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