A Jockey’s mindset when it comes to Horse Racing

A jockeys mindset image of horses racing on sand

Given the immense popularity and competitive nature that horse racing provides fans and punters alike, being at the forefront of the horse’s saddle is often considered to be amongst the most daunting of tasks across any major racing profession.

When getting ready for race day, a racing jockey, the individual in question must always enter race day with a specific mindset and morale in place to ensure they will reap the rewards of the event’s greatest winnings.

  • The psychology surrounding a horse racing jockey’s morale and approach:

Psychology in various major sports is often considered to be among the most vitalised. However, it is also an under-utilised asset to deter numerous sporting outcomes.

Sports such as MMA, Boxing, Football and even the likes of Basketball and American Football all rely solely on an athlete’s psychological approach to a game.


The overall body language and facial expressions on display by an individual or team before, during and after a contest can be pivotal towards their success.

In sports such as the ones listed above, athletes want to show no prior weakness to their game. Players must also showcase their mental toughness to their opponent in an attempt to showcase their undying nature to win no matter the odds.

Combat sports will usually append this as the best in pre-fight press conferences or face-offs which allows rival fighters to square up one-to-one against their opponent without the risk of coming to blows.

This can be used in horse racing for all major parties involved, whether it be rival trainers, punters or even competing jockeys. After all, a confident jockey will appear more ‘together’ than one that is not so.

Alongside the rough nature of sports psychology, punters can often apply a similar approach to their game while learning poker ranking hands across gaming sites. When participating in a game of poker, players will often have to showcase their so-called ‘Poker-Face’ and remain sturdy in their body language to avoid displaying any developing weaknesses or nerves to their competitors when obtaining winning hands.

The same is most certainly applicable to rivalling jockey’s as they will want to keep a strong mental approach in check whilst competing for the top crown available in order to deter their opponents away from any unknown weaknesses that they could exploit.

  • The mindset and psyche that a jockey must show when heading into a race:

Mental toughness and ruggedness is always a key aspect in any sporting competitors’ game at every level, whether that be mainstream or grassroots.

When it comes to horse jockeys in racing, their best approach is often considered to be very much similar to other major sporting outputs and events.

Another key aspect of the jockey psychology is that they should always look to approach their next upcoming race as if it were a scenario that this would be their conclusive event. This helps amp up the intensity and drive when heading into any event like the World Cup.

They should also remain solely focused when under immense pressure and have the willingness or drive to push themselves further forward to heights that they never knew they were capable of reaching.

One of the best ways to develop a psyche of this magnitude is to gain a toughness at both a physical and mental level whether that be hours of practice or being placed in environments that would further hone their skills.

Balancing life choices and events both on and off the track is also a key aspect of any jockey’s game as they need to be fully mentally prepared to enter a race without any further lingering thoughts trailing the back of their mind.

  • Building a greater relationship and understanding with your horse:

One of the greatest techniques and facets of any jockey’s approach to a race is to increase your background and relationship with the horse in question.

It is important to know a horses’ strengths and limitations as well as how mentally prepared that the horse will be when heading into a race as well as any physical knocks it may have taken in practice rides.

While these animals may have a tremendous gauge of speed and stamina, it is both the jockey and trainer’s job to know its cutting point and whether it is truly capable of taking to the track in such an intimating environment.

Even the most renowned jockey’s such as the late, great Lester Piggott would always look to build a greater relationship with any racers he was riding alongside.

Piggott remains as one of the all-time greatest British jockey’s due to his expansive listing of accolades as well as numerous winnings at the top level.

Before his sad passing in May 2022, Piggott would often praise the style and approach that jockeys utilise in today’s events. This approach could largely be due to the rising competitive nature and mindset that is so often on display.

Riders now spend more time in practice and as such have a greater understanding of the racer they are set to ride with.

More hours in practice scenarios increase the competitive nature and drive in riders as well as their relationship with their racer which is now widely incorporated to be a critical aspect of any racing outcome.

Should a jockey come up short or underwhelmed by their own expectations in a recent event, they should always remain positive and mindful of any blips that were present in their approach.

Sometimes failure is the best case to earning success, but it can only be tutored with a positive mindset and drive to improve their performance ahead of any upcoming event.

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