What is a Jockey?

A Jockey is a professional athlete who rides horses in horse races. The word, Jockey can also apply to camel riders in camel racing.

Jockeys are easily identified by their brightly patterned ‘silks’ worn on race day.

Jockeys are usually self-employed and are contracted by horse trainers and owners to ride in races. Jockeys are generally represented by agents who negotiate the best mounts (rides) for them.

What does a Jockey do?

  • liaise with the trainers and owners of the horses
  • they learn all about the behaviour and temperament of the horse they will ride
  • research competitions, races and their opponents
  • develop race strategies
  • maintain a low weight
  • keep fit, trainand ride
  • race around the country or even overseas
  • conduct post-race interviews

Are you … ?

  • passionate about horses?
  • slightly built?
  • Male: 40kg or less and under 1.55m?
  • Female: 44kg or less and under 1.54m?
  • fit, strong and with good stamina?
  • in good, healthy, physical condition?
  • fearless?
  • self disciplined to maintain weight requirements?
  • confident?

How do I become a Jockey?


It’s the only institution in South Africa that offers an apprentice programme for youngsters keen on becoming professional Jockeys. 

Both male and female apprentices are considered for admission for an apprenticeship regardless of their race or creed, provided they meet the physical and academic criteria. 

You can finish school (Grade 10 to Grade 12) through the Jockey Academy.

Minimum requirements:  Grade 9.  The youngest admission age is 15 years and the oldest admission age is 17.  There are also weight and specific measurement requirements which are strictly adhered to. 

See this link for these


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Horse Trainer and Farrier

Is becoming a Jockey the right career choice for me?

See below for more info.