What are the Potential Dangers Jockeys Face?
Many people absolutely love horse racing, and while the jockeys that race the horses can make a small fortune from their races, it can also come with a fair amount of danger. If you want to see safer horse races, as we all do, this article should help tell you everything you need to know.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the dangers that jockeys face when racing, what you should be aware of if you want to become a jockey, and how you can ride safely. Jockey and horse safety is paramount.
What are the dangers?
The biggest danger faced by jockeys is the risk of injury to the horse and jockey. Horses are big, really big, and so the risks posed to jockeys when a horse falls can be huge and can have lasting consequences. It’s been known for jockeys to be forced to retire, or worse, following a single fall because of the injuries sustained by a horse falling in a race.
The last thing you want to happen is for you to be thrown from your horse, as this can cause injuries that have ended the careers of many jockeys. This can happen if the horse trips or collides with an obstacle or even a fellow horse. As we’ve said, horses are big, and so being thrown from a horse can cause injuries that can be catastrophic to the rider and can knock the confidence of the jockey. This could lead to a long recovery period.
Getting trapped under a horse’s hooves can be a real danger for jockeys, caused by reins being tangled and stirrups not working as intended. While this isn’t all that common nowadays, it’s still a risk, so it’s important for jockeys to be trained about what they should do if they find themselves in trouble.
How can you become a jockey?
There are a few ways that you can become a jockey. In this section, we’ll explore the various ways that you can get involved in horse racing, as well as what things you should take into account before you try to become a jockey.
The longest but possibly most productive way to become a professional jockey, is to work your way up through the ranks of horse racing by racing at the lower levels and earning your way to the top. It’s not uncommon for jockeys who take this route to also work as a trainer first, working with established jockeys, before making the step up themselves.
Enrolling in a racing school is a surefire way to learn everything about horse racing. Whilst there, you’ll be taught everything you need to know about what it takes to be a truly great jockey, how to be an effective racer, how to bond and care for your horse, and the fundamentals of horse racing. While these racing schools don’t come cheap, they can provide the best possible education for a jockey wanting to turn professional.
If you’re fortunate enough to be born into a racing family, your jockey education is likely to begin at a younger-than-usual age. If this is the case for you, you have a head start on the competition. This certainly takes a lot of luck, we don’t choose our family after all, but if you find yourself lucky enough to be born as the child of a successful jockey, you’ll definitely have a head start.
How can I ride safely?
If you want to become a jockey, or even if you just enjoy riding horses recreationally, there are a few things that you can do to stay safe while riding.
Wear a helmet
The most important thing you can do is to always wear a helmet when riding. This will protect your head in the event of a fall and reduce the likelihood of you sustaining injuries that can cause severe head trauma and even death. It’s not easy to ride a horse, and being a jockey is hard, but wearing a helmet will make it safer.
Make sure to warm up
You should also ensure you warm up both yourself and your horse before riding. This will help to prevent injuries and will ensure that both yourself and your horse are in the best possible position to succeed on the race track. If you don’t do this, it increases the chance of your horse falling or not performing to an acceptable level, which can be dangerous.
Be aware of your surroundings
Being aware of your surroundings is key if you want to race safely and can help you avoid any potential hazards. This isn’t a skill that can be taught in the same way as the other points, though there are things you can do to become more spacially aware. This usually comes through practice, but you can also do exercises to improve this super important skill.
Listening to your horse
Being able to notice your horse’s needs is a skill that all great jockeys have. It’ll help you learn when your horse is tired, distressed, or not interested in any strenuous activity. This is a skill that will come with time but finding a horse that you have a good connection with is the best and easiest way to achieve this.
We love horses, they’re magnificent animals, and horse racing can be great fun. That being said, knowing how to stay safe is the most important thing as it can help keep not only yourself safe but also any horse that you mount. There are many things to be aware of, and we hope that you can take this advice on board and put it into action.