In sport, a jockey is one who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession.

Horse racing

Jockeys are normally self employed, nominated by horse trainers to ride their horses in races, for a fee (which is paid regardless of the prize money the horse earns for a race) and a cut of the purse winnings. In Australia, employment of apprentice jockeys is in terms of indenture to a master (a trainer); and there is a clear employee/employer relationship. When an apprentice jockey finishes his apprenticeship and becomes a "fully fledged jockey", the nature of their employment and insurance requirements change because they are regarded as "freelance", like contractors. Jockeys often cease their riding careers to take up other employment in racing, usually as trainers. In this way the appreniceship system serves to induct young people into racing employment.

Jockeys usually start out when they are young, riding work in the morning for trainers, and entering the riding profession as an apprentice jockey. It is normally necessary for an apprentice jockey to ride a minimum of about 20 barrier trials successfully before being permitted to commence riding in races. An apprentice jockey is known as a "bug boy" because the asterisk that follows the name in the program looks like a bug. [McGarr, Elizabeth, [ "A Jockey's Life, Stage 1"] , "Columbia News Service", Referenced August 12, 2008.] All jockeys must be licensed and usually are not able to have an interest in a bet on a race. An apprentice jockey has a master, who is a horse trainer, and also is allowed to "claim" weight off the horse's back (if a horse were to carry 58 kg, and the apprentice was able to claim 3 kg, the horse would only have to carry 55 kg on its back) in some races. After a 4 year indentured apprenticeship, the apprentice becomes a senior jockey [ [ Apprentice Jockey] ] and would usually develop relationships with trainers and individual horses. Sometimes senior jockeys are paid a retainer by an owner which gives the owner the right to insist the jockey rides their horses in races.

Racing modeled on the English Jockey Club spread throughout the world with colonial expansion, and in one view is a vehicle of hegemony. The emergence of women jockeys in the 1970s followed a wider cultural trend in female interest in sports. The emergence did raise argument about the suitability of women in the demanding role of jockeys, and whilst there are a number of high-level female jockeys, the profession is still dominated by men as illustrated in the list below:

Notable jockeys include
*Eddie Arcaro
*Jerry Bailey
*Russell Baze
*Scobie Breasley
*Tony Cruz
*Pat Day
*Kent Desormeaux
*Frankie Dettori
*Garrett Gomez
*Roy Higgins
*Earl Sande
*Chris McCarron
*Tony McCoy
*George T. D. Moore
*Lester Piggott
*Laffit Pincay, Jr.
*Red Pollard
*Edgar Prado
*Sir Gordon Richards
*Jose Santos
*Willie Shoemaker
*Ron Turcotte
*Ruby Walsh

Various awards are given annually by organizations affiliated with the sport of thoroughbred racing in countries throughout the world. They include:

*United States
** George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award
** Isaac Murphy Award
*United Kingdom
** BHB Champion Jockey Award

Racing colours

The colours worn by jockeys in races are the registered "colours" of the owner or trainer who employs them. The practice of horsemen wearing colours probably stems from medieval times when jousts were held between knights. But the origins of racing colours of multifarious patterns that are seen today may have been influenced by racing held in Italian city communities since medieval times. Such traditional events are still held on town streets and are remarkable for furious riding and the colourful spectacle they offer.

Getting white breeches and bib, stock or cravat known as "silks" is a rite of passage when a jockey is first able to don silken pants and colours in their first race ride, and it has a parallel in how lawyers are spoken of as "taking silk". At one time silks were invariably made of silk, though now synthetics are sometimes used instead. Nevertheless, the silks and their colours are important symbols evoking emotions of loyalty and festivity.

Robot jockeys

To replace child jockeys whose use had been deplored by human rights organizations, a camel race in Doha, Qatar for the first time featured robots at the reins. On July 13, 2005, workers fixed robotic jockeys on the backs of seven camels and raced the machine-mounted animals around a track. Operators controlled the jockeys remotely, signaling them to pull their reins and prod the camels with whips [] .

Risk factors

Horse jockeying is a sport where permanent, debilitating, and even life-threatening injuries occur. Chief among them include concussion, bone fracture, arthritis, trampling, and paralysis. Jockey insurance premiums remain among the highest of all professional sports. ["Jockey insurance measure hits snag," (accessed April 2, 2006)] Between 1993 and 1996, 6,545 injuries occurred during official races for an injury rate of 606 per 1,000 jockey years. [ [ "Safety and Health in the Horse Racing Industry"] . National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. (accessed October 10, 2008)] Eating disorders (such as anorexia) are also very common among jockeys, as the athletes face extreme pressure to maintain unusually low (and specific) weights for men, sometimes within a five pound (2.3 kg) margin. [David Schmeichel, "Throwing up for a living - Bulimic jockeys common ... Going hungry," Winnepeg Sun. (accessed April 2, 2006)] The bestselling historical novel "" chronicled the eating disorders of jockeys living in the first half of the Twentieth Century. As in the cases of champion jockey Kieren Fallon and Robert Winston, the pressure to stay light has been blamed in part for driving the men to alcoholism.


The word is by origin a diminutive of "jock", the Northern or Scots colloquial equivalent of the first name "John," which is also used generically for "boy, or fellow" (compare "Jack," "Dick"), at least since 1529.

A familiar instance of the use of the word as a name is in "Jockey of Norfolkia" in Shakespeare's Richard III. v. 3, 304.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the word was applied to horse-dealers, postilions, itinerant minstrels and vagabonds, and thus frequently bore the meaning of a cunning rickster, a "sharp", whence the verb to jockey, "to outwit", or "to do" a person out of something.

The current usage which means a person who rides a horse in races was first seen in 1670. [ [ "Jockey"] , "Online Etymology Dictionary", Referenced August 12, 2008.]

More recently, a colloquialism in the north west of England has emerged, offering a variation in terms of usage and meaning in the term "Jockey". The new slang implies that a person "Jockeys" something in order to control or maneuver an item or challenge.

Physical description

Jockeys have a reputation for being very short, but there are no height limits, only weight limits. A rider can be of any height if they can still make weight, but it is still generally limited to fairly short individuals because of the limits on a persons body. Jockeys typically range from 5' to 5'5" in height.

External links

* [ Jockey]
* [ Jockeys]
* [ "Mandated Anorexia"]
* [ "Jockey Career Description"]
* [ Etymology Online]
* [ "Mammals & Events: A Jockey's Hard Life"] . at

ee also

*List of jockeys
*U.S. National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
*Thoroughbred horse racing


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • jockey — [ ʒɔkɛ ] n. m. • 1775; mot angl., dimin. de Jock, forme écossaise de Jack 1 ♦ Vx Jeune domestique qui conduisait une voiture en postillon, suivait son maître à cheval. ⇒ groom. 2 ♦ Personne dont le métier est de monter les chevaux dans les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jockey — in den Farben des Rennstalls Ein Jockey ist ein B …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jockey — Sm erw. fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. jockey, einer hypokoristischen Form von Jock, der nordenglischen und schottischen Variante des Namens Jack. Zunächst Bezeichnung für jmd., der Hilfsarbeiten erledigt , dann auch speziell für… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Jockey — Jock ey, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Jockeyed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Jockeying}.] 1. To jostle by riding against one. Johnson. [1913 Webster] 2. To play the jockey toward; to cheat; to trick; to impose upon in trade; as, to jockey a customer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jockey — Jock ey, v. i. 1. To play or act the jockey; to cheat. [1913 Webster] 2. To maneuver oneself aggressivley or skillfully so as to achieve an advantage; as, he jockeyed himself into position to be noticed. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jockey — (engl., spr. Dschocki), 1) Pferdehändler, bes. 2) der Pferde zum Verkauf vorreitet; 3) gewandter, leicht (mit kurzer Jacke, ledernen Hosen, runder Schirmmütze) gekleideter Reitknecht, bes. bei Wettrennen, wo sie so mager als möglich genommen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • jockey — /ˈdʒɔkei, ingl. ˈdʒHkɪ/ [da Jockey, diminutivo di Giovanni, in scozzese] s. m. inv. (nelle corse al galoppo) fantino …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • jockey — has the plural form jockeys as a noun, and as a verb (used especially in the expression jockey for position) has inflected forms jockeys, jockeyed, jockeying …   Modern English usage

  • jockey — jockey, yóquey o yoqui sustantivo masculino 1. Área: deporte, hípica Jinete que se dedica profesionalmente a correr en las carreras de caballos: Un jockey debe ser pequeño y tener poco peso …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Jockey — Jock ey, n.; pl. {Jockeys}. [Dim. of Jack, Scot. Jock; orig., a boy who rides horses. See 2d {Jack}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A professional rider of horses in races. Addison. [1913 Webster] 2. A dealer in horses; a horse trader. Macaulay. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jockey — (engl. dschoki), eigentlich Stallknecht, Bereiter, vorzugsweise der ausgesuchte Reitknecht für die Wettrennen; auch der Name für Herren, welche das Wettrennen zu einem Lieblingsgeschäfte machen, deren Gesellschaften J. clubs heißen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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