Horse Jockeys: Size, Height, Weight, Gender & Nationality

A horse jockey is a person who competes in horse racing professionally. Said professionals have to be skilled in riding a horse and have to abide by rules that are set upon them as jockeys.

Jockeys have to maintain a specific weight to qualify as a horse jockey in the first place.

A lot of other things come into consideration when it comes to horse jockeys, you’ll get to know more about these professionals as you read along.

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Horse Jockeys

Are Horse Jockeys Midget Dwarfs?

No, Horse Jockeys are not midgets or dwarfs.

There’s a requirement for Horse Jockeys that they must abide by to become eligible candidates for being a jockey.

For instance, they must maintain a weight of 100 to 118 lb. Although there may not be a height requirement for jockeys, still, dwarfs don’t have the physical capabilities of becoming a jockey.

This doesn’t serve as an offense against them, rather, it’s just a rule for jocks to be capable of controlling their horse by being fit and strong enough to be successful at it, and we’re afraid dwarfs don’t have the physical attributes to commit to these requirements.

Many people always have this kind of question because the majority of the horse jockeys they see are short.

While that may be true to some extent (because they need to follow the strict implementation of weight requirements), some tall people are professional horse jockeys themselves.

Despite being tall, they still follow the rules of horse jockey, because naturally, tall people weigh more. So they must watch out for their weight.

Are All Horse Jockeys Short?

No, not all horse jockeys are short.

There are tall horse jockeys that compete as well, one instance is when a man named Stuart Brown, a 6 foot 3 jockey, decided to become a jockey.

Despite being a tall horse jockey, he was still able to comply with the strict weight requirements and became quite successful in his career.

There are also other notable tall horse jockeys such as Johnny Sellers (5 foot 7), Richard Hughes (5 foot 10), the late Stuart Brown (6 foot 3), Patrick Sankey (6 foot 7), and Louise Moeller (6 foot 1).

Just goes to show that not every horse jockey is short, even tall jockeys can shine in various types of racing!

Why Are Horse Jockeys So Short?

Horse Jockeys are short because this helps them keep their weights light.

In contrast to tall horse jockeys, smaller jockeys have it easier to meet and maintain the required weight for horse jockeys.

To expound on this further, there have been stories about tall jockeys that have retired early on in their careers because they couldn’t maintain their light weight. Taller jockeys are more susceptible to weight gain.

Horse jockeys would go to great lengths just to maintain their weight, and one thing that enables them to do just that is by having a short height.

There are jockeys that resort to sawing their legs off just to be short! It’s quite difficult to follow the weight requirement needed from jockeys since their equipment also counts in their overall weight.

Why Are Most Jockeys Male?

Most jockeys are male for two main reasons: there’s sexism within the industry of horse racing and men are better at keeping their body fat low.

So the first, and most obvious reason, why the presence of men evidently dominates the population of horse jockeys is because of sexism.

There’s this perceived thinking wherein some think that women aren’t capable of having the strength needed to control a horse during races. These same people believe that only men have the strength to push on and handle the pressure of racing.

Of course this isn’t true since there have been horse jockey women who have successfully competed in races.

A good example would be Rachel Blackmore, who won the Grand National and earned the title of being the first woman to finish as a leading jockey.

The second reason why there are more jockeys that are male than female is that men have better chances of maintaining their weight compared to women.

Why so? Well, for instance, when women get pregnant, they gain weight and an additional cause of pregnancy (during and after) is missing out on races.

Ultimately, this would slow down their progression in regards to their career in racing as jockeys.

Are There Female Horse Jockeys?

Yes, there are female horse jockeys.

You’d be pretty astounded with the number of female horse jockeys there are out there. Women are getting more and more competitive and devoted to demanding sports such as horse racing.

Here are some examples of the best female horse jockeys and their achievements:

  • Hayley Turner
    • She has 860+ career wins
    • Her earnings are: £7,980,646
    • Considered as the most successful professional female jockey in history
  • Nina Carberry
    • She has 427+ career wins
    • Her earnings are: €5,055,059
  • Rachel Blackmore
    • She has 317+ career wins
    • Her earnings are €6,345,144
  • Hollie Doyle
    • She has 420+ career wins
    • Her earnings are £4,620,857
    • She earned the title of finishing 3rd in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year     Award

Why Are There No Female Horse Jockeys?

There are actually female jockeys, however, there aren’t enough numbers of female jockeys that amount to the number of jockeys that are men.

One possible explanation why women don’t want to become horse jockeys in the first place is because of the weight requirement.

Women have a difficult time maintaining a light weight during instances of pregnancy for example. Also, there are prejudices in the industry of horse racing.

Of course, we can’t deny the fact that there are inequalities that happen behind the scenes, where let’s say, for example, a female horse jockey is being bullied or harassed by men, these instances are what inhibit women from joining in the first place.

However, on a positive note, the more successful the female horse jockeys that exist today, the more they are encouraging women to participate in horse racing.

Their successes are being documented and broadcasted as we speak, so it’s expected in the foreseeable future that there would be an increase in the number of female horse jockeys.

Do Horse Jockeys Stunt Their Growth?

Yes, there are horse jockeys that stunt their growth.

Horse jockeys stunt their growth so that they would stay within the weight requirement and not get disqualified for exceeding said weight requirement.

There are certain methods that jockeys use to stunt their growth, some even go to extreme measures such as sawing their legs!

Below is a list of the different ways jockeys stunt their growth (the majority of these methods are actually things that help them lose weight):

  • Skipping meals
  • Diet pills
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Laxatives
  • Flipping (vomiting)
  • Engaging in excessive exercise

Do Horse Jockeys Have To Weigh The Same?

Not necessarily, all jockeys have to be within the weight requirement though.

There’s no rule that indicates that each and every jockey must weigh the same.

How Do Horse Jockeys Stay So Small?

Horse jockeys stay small by either sawing their legs off to trim their height or they’re naturally small since birth.

Horse jockeys nowadays are actually born small, however, the jockeys in the past had to do some “adjustments” in order to stay within the weight requirement.

Extreme measures such as sawing off their legs is an actual thing that happens in this kind of industry in the equine world of sports.

How Many Female Horse Jockeys Are There?

There’s no document that shows the exact number of female horse jockeys as of now, however, there have been at least 23 records of female jockeys (based in the United States).

Of course, there are also female horse jockeys in other countries such as the United Kingdom.

How Many Horse Jockeys Die Each Year?

The number of horse jockeys that die each year can be counted by hand. With that being said, there’s no exact record that specifies the totality of horse jockey deaths in a year.

The number of injuries that jockeys get from falls is about 21 a year.

It’s a given that both a jockey and his horse are risking their lives as soon as they step into the world of racing.

But the reality of it all is there are actually more horse deaths than jockey deaths. In 2018, there have been 500 reported deaths of Thoroughbreds.

This massive number of horse deaths in a year is frightening.

Unlike humans, who can survive leg injuries, horses succumb to injuries that involve their limbs. Once their limbs become injured, the soft tissues in their bones get torn off. This inhibits circulation to their limbs which exposes them to infections.

Horses need all four of their legs to support their weight, however, injuries prohibit them from doing so.

Equine experts say that if horses lose their ability to use their legs, they might as well be euthanized.

When it comes to horse jockeys, the cause of their fatal injuries is usually caused by falls.

Why Are Most Horse Jockeys Hispanic?

Historically speaking, the majority of professional horse jockeys are of Hispanic lineage.

One of the first jockey schools originated in Panama, Puerto Rico, and Mexico City during the 1950s and 1960s.

This paved the way for aspiring jockeys to legitimately learn how to race. Equitarean sports eventually became a tradition for Hispanics as soon as it expanded in their country.

Why Are Most Jockeys Irish?

Most jockeys are Irish because compared to other countries or societies near Irish people, they’re not into urban living that much.

This gives Irish people more time to focus on their traditions and one of the said traditions is horse racing.

Resources: 

https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/jockey/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/horse-racing-risks-deaths-sport