What they do
Jockeys ride horses in races and trials. 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 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.
Jockeys compete at race tracks all over Australia and the world. In Western Australia, there are tracks in Ascot, Pinjarra, Bunbury, Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and some other smaller regional locations. They often start work with early morning training sessions and may be required to train and/or compete on weekends and public holidays.
Jockeys must follow a strict diet and personal training program in order to keep their weight at specific levels.
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.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a jockey you usually need to undertake an apprenticeship in racing (jockey) (level 4). The apprenticeship takes 48 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
Apprentice jockeys must be at least 15 years old, meet strict weight requirements and pass a medical examination. You need to be licensed as an apprentice jockey to undertake the apprenticeship. This is issued by Racing and Wagering WA.
Once you have completed your apprenticeship you will need to apply for a jockey license, also issued by Racing and Wagering WA.
In order to compete in races interstate you may need to hold additional licences. Check with the licensing body for the state in which you wish to race for full details.