Animals, land and environment

Career outlook for jockey

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would ride horses to win races for the owners and to entertain the crowds at the racetrack and watching on television.

You’d need excellent horse riding skills and have the dedication and determination to win.

Horse trainers would employ you to ride one of their horses at race meetings. You would either race on the flat - on a race track without obstacles - or over jumps and ditches – called National Hunt racing. You’d specialise in either flat or jump racing, although you could take part in both.

You would:

  • Plan racing strategies with the horse owner and trainer
  • Take advice from the trainer on tactics to suit the horse and the track
  • Ride every day to exercise the horse
  • Ride the horse at flat or jump races at race tracks around the UK and possibly overseas

You’d need to be able to handle horses and have a good knowledge of horse care and welfare.

It’s a demanding job physically: fitness, strength and stamina are required. There are also risks of injury, for example from falls and being kicked by a horse.

Working conditions


You would work around 40 hours a week, depending on the number of races you take part in, often involving early starts and late finishes.


Your work would be physically demanding. There is a high risk of injury from falls and kicks.


You would attend races at courses throughout the UK, so you must be prepared to travel and spend time away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Self awareness
  • Taking responsibility
  • Making decisions
  • Risk taking
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Observation

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are no formal qualifications to enter this job however you will need to complete a jockey apprenticeship and get a British Horseracing Authority licence to ride.

This includes a five-day residential Apprentice or Conditional Licence course and a medical at the British Racing School in Newmarket or the Northern Racing College in Doncaster.

Once the licence is awarded, an Apprentice or Conditional Jockey would complete the Apprenticeship at a trainer's yard.

To keep the licence, jockeys then need to continue their development by taking a four-day Apprentice or Conditional Continuation course and an advanced Apprentice or Conditional course.

For entry into the riding courses, most racing schools ask that the candidate have experience in riding, jumping and galloping.

Helpful to have

Past experience as a stable hand or groom.