What do Jockeys need to wear during races?

What do Jockeys need to wear during races?

Horse racing is known for being one of the world’s most dangerous sports, as you are riding a massive animal that can go up to 40 miles per hour. Without the proper gear on you could get seriously hurt. Horse racing requires a specific amount of equipment for safety and efficiency in races. The outfit the jockeys wear plays a specific role in the race, so what do they need to wear?


Underneath the skills (The colour of the uniform the jockey wears to represent the horse in the race) jockeys wear skivvies. A skivvy is a mesh or microfiber piece of clothing that is very light and stretchable.

Helmets and Covers

The most essential part of safety is the helmet. The helmet or a skullcap is a mandatory item a jockey has to wear when they race. If the rider falls the Helmet will protect the head from serious injuries and not wearing one could result in life-changing effects. 

Jockeys also wear covers over their helmets which are actually not mandatory and are only worn to represent the colour of the horse.

If the jockeys used a normal hat and then they could potentially fall off the horse and it would result in massive injuries, this is why they use specifically protected hats.

Leggings / Racing pants

Another very important item is the race pants or leggings. These are also actually used for safety. Riding at high speeds that they go at can cause friction between the leg of the jockey and the horse which can cause cuts and friction burn. Having these on protects the leg. 

Race pants are very similar to leggings but are just made from a slightly different material, some jockeys wear leggings and race pants for extra protection. Having a burn or a cut on your leg while racing would massively affect your Irish Grand National odds as the constant pain of this during the race would be a very difficult thing to ignore. 


Gloves are another item that is not entirely mandatory but a lot of jockeys say that they give you the edge in your races as they give you extra grip when trying to control the horse. Controlling and maneuvering a horse at 40mph is already difficult enough so the extra grip and a little extra protection is a massive help for the jockeys. Also, if the weather conditions affect the race then the gloves can help fight against rain. 


Another mandatory safety equipment is the vest. From 1998 onwards the vest was made a mandatory item for racers as it protects you in case you fall off the horse, thanks to the padding around the vest. This protects the riba and chest of the jockeys, as well as all the vital organs in case of a very serious accident. 


A jockey losing focus for a second could result in losing the race, or even worse, an injury. So the jockeys need to wear goggles to protect their eyes from dirt, bugs or gravel. If they didn’t wear goggles, the slightest bit of dirt could ruin the race for them.


Finally, the last item is the racing boots. One of the most important things for the jockey is the position of the feet and legs in the race. The boots ensure the jockey’s feet are locked into place, these boots are specially designed for horse racing. Riding boots go higher up on the leg of the jockey to avoid the saddle pinching the rider’s leg and the paddock boots are used for when the jockey is walking around before or after the race. 

Final Stretch 

All of these designs are a necessity for comfort or the protection of the jockey and it would not surprise us if they added more items for protection of the horses and the riders.

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