Horses and Jockeys: How Jockeys Choose the Horse They Ride

Have you ever been to a racetrack? If yes, you may have noticed that jockeys ride not just one but multiple horses. Have you thought about how they choose which horse to ride?

Every horse race is looked after by a trainer who makes sure that the horse is prepared to race over jumps or on the flat. It is a day-to-day decision for the jockey on how a horse is taken care of, including preparation for which race a horse suits.

Meanwhile, a jockey is booked by an agent to ride a horse. The booking needs the agreement of the trainer and the owner of the racehorse. It is not the hockey’s sole decision on which horse he rides, However, good jockeys are often sought after and can pick the best horse they can.

Still, it’s a critical decision for a jockey to ride a specific horse because it will affect the race. Many factors are to be considered in choosing the race and making the right choice. Trainers and owners want to have skilled jockeys to ride their horses. The whole process of handicapping guide and choosing the best rider starts with the sharing and distribution of the tracks.

Horse Racing Trainers and Jockeys

What does a racehorse trainer do? Racehorse trainers are responsible for supervising the regular care and conditioning of the horses. Racehorse trainers supervise the proper care for the horses to prepare them for the competition. They are the ones who ensure that the horses are well taken care of and receive the proper nutrition, veterinary attention, and regular exercise.

Duties and responsibilities of a racehorse trainer

  • Plan horse’ workouts
  • Find appropriate races and join
  • Discuss race and most accurate strategy with the jockey
  • Advise owners of the horse’ training progression and the race entry options
  • Monitor stable employees
  • Plan and schedule healthcare maintenance for horses

A jockey is a profession that races horses. Jockeys are often self-employed and collaborate with horse trainers to race their horses for a fee which they will also get a portion of the winnings.

A jockey starts as an apprentice riding horses in the morning for the trainers. He or she must ride a minimum of 20 barrier trials to be allowed to start riding in races. A jockey usually weighs 108-118 lbs. for flat racing. Despite their lightweight, a jockey must have the skill to control a horse that often weighs 1200-1400 lbs. Usually, a racing quarter horse has a top speed of approximately 55 miles per hour, 40 mph for a racing thoroughbred for over a mile.

Horse racing jockeys are skilled in specific types of racing. The jockey’s primary goal is to make sure that the horse gets to the finish line first.

Jockeys are exquisite riders that are physically fit. It takes a lot of agility and skill to control a horse running at high speed. Jockeys are riders who are not just riding horses, and instead, they are pushing the horses to do their best run. Every horse is different. Some horses are called “speed horses,” known to be out front the whole race, while other horses need extra space on the right to pass.

Jockeys work side by side with trainers and horse owners while discussing strategy and horse needs. A jockey often spends time keeping track of the record of race tracks and horses and other jockeys that will also be in the race.

How Jockeys Choose the Horse They Ride?

There is an estimate of 450 professional and licensed jockeys in Great Britain, including 300 amateurs. These jockeys maintain an excellent fitness level to complete their daily routine of riding and training horses in the morning, riding races even in the afternoon and evening.

Moreover, no two jockeys are alike. Each has its unique riding style and attributes.

Before the race, all jockeys were to weigh out to make sure that the horse they will be riding is carrying the right weight to go on a race.  For example, if a jockey with the saddle and kit comes a little under the required weight, small weights will be added, such as a saddlecloth to make up for the weight.

Once the weight is recorded, the jockey then turns over the saddle to the trainer or an assistant to prepare the horse to race.

Final Thoughts

Deciding on a jockey to ride a horse is a crucial decision, affecting the outcome of the race. When we pick our first racehorse, we opt for one of the top jockeys to handle our horse. It is best to be familiar with the riders and provide trainers’ names before choosing to ride a horse. The process of choosing a trainer and a jockey is a critical factor for horse racing. Jockeys have to be athletic, fearless, and intelligent and must know the competition’s complete details.

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