The speed, the sound of horses thundering down the track, the excitement of winning, the glory of being a Triple Crown winner are all factors that entice would-be jockeys to the race track.
There is, however, one critical physical requirement for anyone interested in becoming a jockey. Jerry Bailey is considered one of the larger jockeys at 5'5" and 112 pounds. Julie Krone, the first woman to win a Triple Crown Race and the first to compete in a Breeder's Cup race, is one of the smallest at 4' 10".
Race Track Job Options
Size can be an issue for many aspiring jockeys, but, there are plenty of other career paths for those interested in a rack track job including trainer, exercise rider, groom, hot walker, farrier, and equine veterinarian. As with jockeys, most of these jobs require extensive practical training and if you're interested you should get as much experience as you can. Even if it means volunteering to help out a local barn until you find paid employment.
Find an Equine Job
The best way to get started on an equine job search is by networking. Ask everyone and anyone you know, in the horse world, whether they need help. It could mean mucking stalls for a few hours a day at one barn, while riding horses that need a workout at another, or spending night shifts on the foal watch in the spring and early summer. All those connections you make along the way can lead to full-time employment or enough part-time positions to earn a living.
Also check the equine job sites for job postings on a regular basis. You will find a good selection of equine jobs in various parts of the country. Some of those positions maybe with horse breeding farms or horse trainers - a good path to follow to get to the track.
Working at the track isn't like a traditional job. Your busiest days are often weekends and holidays and you may spend quite a bit of time on the road. The New York Racing Association, for example, conducts thoroughbred, where horses having been racing since Lizzie W. became the first thoroughbred to cross the finish line on August 3, 1863. The hours are long and the pay isn't great, unless you are at the top of the jockey rankings. However for those who love horses and the sights and sounds of the race track none of that matters very much. As Jockey Laura Jean says in her article Inside the Thunder "...those of us who try to win those races day, after day in a sport which we love as much as life itself."