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I am almost 25 years old and want to learn how to care for and ride horses. I personally would like to learn how to ride a race horse. I am curious if you think that I may be too old to begin learning now or if this dream of mine should just remain a dream. I have no idea where to look for a good stable or how I can find more information about racing. I would like to hear an expert's opinion and will take nothing personal.


- C. K.


Your age is not the deciding factor. The great jockey Bill Shoemaker was 58 when he retired after 8,833 trips to the winner's circle.

A group of jockeys hard at work The first thing to look at is your weight. A professional jockey rarely weighs more than 105 lbs. Depending on the age of the horse and the distance being run, the total allowable weight for the fully-clothed jockey and tack may be as low as 103 lbs.

The second consideration is your riding ability. A jockey has to have a cool head, steel muscles and nerves, and icy cool judgment in handling a high-strung horse in a chaotic race. Anything less than this is the same as signing your own death warrant. Few onlookers really appreciate the extraordinary athletic abilities of a professional jockey.

If you are just now thinking about learning to ride, it may be too late to think about becoming a jockey. But if you can find a good teacher, there's nothing to stop you from becoming a top-flight trainer. If I were in your boots, that's probably the route I'd take.

Happy Riding!

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