I was at work and came across a great article from Perth Now, which comes from the land down under. It had all of the elements that Damien Oliver felt were needed to make a complete jockey.
He came up with a few things that I really liked…. He has his game on, and one could learn a lot from his insights. After reading, I found it difficult to add to any of this, but it hit me about a few big time notes.
He felt that:
Knowledge of horse and fellow riders were important, and the lay of the track.
Adaptability to change, as seconds mean the world.
Concentration. You cannot be distracted, or be caught up in an occasion. You must remain focused.
Patience. There is a fine line between waiting too long, and missing the boat… It is that clock in your head.
Vision. You not only need to be aware of what your mount is doing, but have that instinctual sense of what is going on around you.
Upper body. This allows you to hold a horse, and help them to relax and settle. This is the part that makes the good better, and the bad always wonder what happened.
Core strength. You need to watch what you eat, and be active. Many do squats or squat jumps to give you the needed power.
Hips. You must be able to be in the squatted position for a long time. If you come back off an injury, you need to doubly work this area.
Hands. Soft hands can be a riders greatest asset. It is transmitted through the reins. Everything you feel, they feel as well….
Aggression. It is good to have the killer instinct, but be calm and cool in your head as well…
Legs and toes. Your weight rests on your feet. the balls of your feet are most important.
Balance. Your ability to hold yourself in place. This allows the horse to find his stride…
These were all of his ideal traits of a rider. I agree, and it shows in every race. The good ones have it, and the bad ones need it. But, I came up with a couple of others that need a boost as well…
Personality – If you are a man or woman who conducts good business, then you have a better chance at succeeding. If your personality is one where people feel comfortable, then you have a great chance of making lifelong partnerships in your trade.
Workmanship – If you are the first in the barn, and always checking back about your mounts, you show professionalism. This is rare, as only the good ones have it….
Study – As in school, if you study, then you succeed; if you constantly keep up on trends or biases, the hot newcomers, and the ones on the way out. You have an edge. Be a student of the game…
Your best – If you give your word, and follow up with your personal best, nobody could ever ask more. For those that dedicate themselves fully, the game is profitable. The others that show up and ride, just make a wage. But for the few who dedicate themselves, it is like watching a well-thought out play. Just give your all. What more could you give?