Despite what some people may think, a horse jockey is still an athlete. Yes, they may not do any running, swimming, throwing etc but they do have to control a horse and race at considerably high speeds. Not only does this take a lot of mental preparation, but also physical. It requires strength, stamina, strategy, coordination and lots more.

Horse racing is not an easy sport by any stretch of the imagination. Hence why it’s such a popular sport that is highly competitive. There are huge horse racing events and prices to be won, as well as so much coverage of all the great horse racing fixtures over at the best sites for horse racing betting.

So, just how hard is it to become a jockey and what is expected of them to be able to compete at the top level? This is what we’ll delve straight into for you now!

What is a Horse Jockey?

Jockeys are athletes who compete in horse racing. They move and control horses at high racing speeds, which requires tremendous precision and strength. As a result, jockeys undergo rigorous training to ride the horse to their full potential during races.

Horse Jockey: Weight and Height

The weight restriction for horse jockeys is very stringent, and for good reason. This prerequisite is in place to ensure that each horse in the race is matched evenly against the other competitors. Of course, the horse also benefits from being able to move more quickly. Although the rules for each race will vary, the typical weight minimum for horse jockeys is between 112 and 126 lbs. Male horse jockeys often weigh 113 lbs, while female jockeys typically weigh 107 lbs.

Jockeys are not limited in height. But as you may presumably expect, the majority of jockeys are somewhat small in size, given the severe weight restrictions. A jockey’s typical height is 5’2″. Someone who is taller could never weigh so little and still be able to race their horse effectively.

Age Limit for Horse Jockeys

The minimum age requirement to become a horse jockey is 16 years. If you meet the criteria, you can apply for a jockey licence.

How Do Horse Jockeys Stay So Small?

Horse jockeys are athletes, as we have mentioned. Success as a jockey requires not just physical prowess but also self-control and discipline. It is the full-time job of jockeys to maintain a low weight in order to be race-ready at all times.

Similar to boxing, many athletes have emerged with eating disorders because of the sport’s fixed weight cutoff. In fact, a few racers have acknowledged taking diuretics to aid with weight management.

It’s not easy being a horse jockey. You are not allowed to race if your weight is not within the required range. This implies that there is no possibility of profit for you or the owner of the racehorse.

Weight Reduction Techniques for Horse Jockeys

A few widely used techniques have been developed to assist horse jockeys in managing their weight. While some of them are still being used, others have been banned. The following are the weight management methods used for jockeys:

  • Diet & Exercise

A strict diet and workout program are necessary for jockeys to maintain optimal physical health at all times. They avoid drinks like soda and alcohol.
Some of them consume modest servings of food just once every day. Plus, they work out five days a week.

  • Hot Baths

Long hot baths before a race are not considered self-care for jockeys. Studies have shown that it burns as much as 140 calories in an hour. So, they exercise caution when having steaming baths. Taking a hot bath can also make the body store more fat because of reduced inflammation.

  • Saunas

You can shed some fat by sweating it out in the sauna. While there won’t be much weight loss, every pound matters in horse racing. A lot of riders use saunas to reduce their weight before a contest.

  • Laxatives

Horse jockeys were frequent users of both laxatives and diuretics. However, the Jockey Club, the regulating organisation, outlawed both of these drugs in 1998. The reason is the negative impact these drugs had on the riders.

The Size of the Smallest Horse Jockey

American jockey William (Bill) Shoemaker was 4’11” and weighed 91 pounds. This makes home 20 lbs less than the typical rider. Bill competed in 24 Kentucky Derby races, winning four of them.

How Big is the Biggest Horse Jockey?

Manute Bol is the biggest horse jockey to have ever competed. He was a former NBA player who weighed 200 pounds and was 7’7″ tall. Bol’s weight was considered because he was racing for a charity event.

Reasons Horse Jockeys are Weighed Before and After a Race

Weighing in and out is merely an additional measure of accountability and fairness. Jockeys must weigh in with their horse before they can start the race. They are also measured once more after the event to make sure the horse raced with the stated weight.

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