What Do Horse Jockeys Wear During Races?

What Do Horse Jockeys Wear During Races?

Horse racing is a dangerous sport that can lead to serious injury if not wearing the proper equipment as a rider. The sport involves human riders, commonly known as jockeys, saddling a horse and riding it along the track at 40mph.

Riding a tamed animal at high speed around a track requires a lot of skill and the use of specialized equipment for safety and effectiveness.

Horse racing is definitely one of the most specific sports in the world, which is why it requires a unique set of equipment. You probably have seen some of the best racehorses of all time by TwinSpires and they all were ridden by famous horse jockeys.

A lot of different things make out the equipment used in horse racing. In order to be a professional jockey, you need to be able to ride quickly and safely.

This means that things like reins, whips, crops, and blinker hoods can help you get horses to run faster. Additionally, stirrups, saddles, and helmets make the sport safer for both the animal and the jockey.

Let’s dive in and find out what jockeys wear during races and how each equipment and outfit part plays its role.


The most essential part of the jockey’s outfit is the skivvies. A skivvy is a microfiber or mesh piece of clothing worn by jockeys that is very stretchable and yet light.

Skivvies are usually worn underneath their skills (skills are colors of the uniforms that jockeys wear to represent a horse in a race).

Leggings or  Racing Pants

Leggings are another important part of the jockey’s outfit and there is a good reason for that. Since horses move at high speed it causes friction between the saddle and the jockey. By wearing leggings, jockeys protect their skin from any irritation or cuts to the leg that can be obtained while riding.

Racing pants are very similar to leggings since they are made from a similar elastic material and their purpose is to cover the jockey’s legs and protect them during a race. Some jockeys even wear leggings and pants at the same time.

Helmets and Covers

The most essential safety part of the jockey’s equipment is helmets. Helmets or skullcaps are mandatory for each professional jockey during a race. They provide important protection of the rider’s head during a race and prevent injuries if the rider falls.

On the other hand, there are helmet covers. These accessories are not mandatory and the only reason that jockeys wear these covers is to represent their colors in a race.


Trying to maneuver a horse running at 40mph is very difficult and involves a lot of pulling with your hands. This is where gloves come in handy. Jockeys wear gloves just to protect their hands and have a better grip while riding.

Gloves are optional for jockeys, but it is useful equipment that can give you an edge in a race, especially if the weather conditions are bad.

Horse Racing Goggles

Jockeys need to be focused at all times during a race. They cannot risk something hitting their eye and losing their sight even for a split second.

As you might have seen in the recent Kentucky Derby, this is why every jockey wears goggles in order to protect their eyes from bugs, dirt, or gravel that is kicked by the horses in front.


Here we have another safety equipment that is necessary when riding a horse in a race. Vests provide a softer cushion if the rider falls from the horse thanks to the padding on all sides. This protects the rider’s chest and ribs in case of a disaster.

Falling from a horse in a race can be really dangerous, which is why horse racing officials all around the world made vests mandatory to wear since 1998.


Last but not least, we have horse racing boots which are really important when riding a horse. The position of the legs is crucial in a horse race, and the boots will ensure the rider that their feet are locked in.

Such boots are specially designed for horse racing, while paddock boots are used while walking around the horse track. Riding boots are typically longer and go up higher on the leg just to avoid the saddle pinching the rider’s leg.