- 05/03/2012, 10:18AM ET
MagicSpecs said 05/03, 10:18 AM
flat horseracing jockeys.
I hope that somebody can set me straight here because as I see it jockeys basically sit there while the horse runs. I'm interested to know if I'm being massively ignorant.
If horse A is faster than horse B then surely horse A wins as long as the jockey can hold on?
If I'm driving a Porsche and Danica Patrick is driving a 3-wheeled Skoda then I'm going to win the race, no matter that she's a faster driver than me.
Jockeys need to be light. That is not a skill.
Jockeys can not fall off. This is a skill, however it is a skill so untaxing that spoilt little rich girls can safely learn it when Daddy buys them their first pony.
Jockeys have to whip the horse when they want it to go faster. This is not a skill - you're trying to win a race so you pretty much always want to go faster.
In the Middle East children used to be used as jockeys during camel racing. They have since been replaced by robots.
If a robot can do it then how difficult can it be?
BuckyBadger. said 05/03, 10:57 AM
I have a couple that are far easier than you suggest. Punter in the NFL or DH in the American League. Both require less training and wider range of skills then being a jockey. For this TD I am going to argue the Punter because I feel getting a hit in MLB is one of the more difficult things one can do.
Jockey's have to prime conditioned athletes. Keeping your weight down like they have to do is only half the battle and not nearly as easy as you suggest. They also have to be very strong for their size and weight so they can control the horse they are riding. Just like your car is nothing like what the NASCAR guy drives, these horses are much stronger and faster than your regular horse at the ranch.
A punter really only has one job to do. Punt the ball. Sure there is skill in getting the returner pinned deep against the sideline or getting the ball to die on the 2 but overall they only have one job to do. He isn't expected to make tackles, only as a last resort, and doesn't have to go through the same training regiment as the rest of the team.
If all the Jockey had to do was stay on the horse than women would dominate the sport and be winning the Kentucky Derby every year.
MagicSpecs said 05/03, 11:37 AM
A few moments of research lead me to the conclusion that female jockeys seem to have quite a history of horseracing success:
According to Wikipedia some dame by the name of Julie Krone had 3704 career wins as a jockey, with numerous successes in 'major' races including a win in a Breeders' Cup race in 2003.
This year in the Aintree Grand National (a course which has a reputation as the ultimate test of horse and jockey) the horse that finished 3rd was ridden by Katie Walsh (.
Without wishing to set off the politically-correct police, I think few would argue that women are as strong as men (of the same size and weight).
So, so far from your arguments it would seem that the skill of jockeys is that they have to keep their weight down (which is harder and more skillful than I think), and that they have to remain relatively strong for their weight - so strong that women actively compete with (and beat) them.
For some reason I've just reminded myself of races I've seen where a rider falls off. The horse (when not injured) often continues running, and will catch and pass the leaders. That thought seems to make the jockeys a bit obsolete all of a sudden.
BuckyBadger. said 05/03, 02:21 PM
There are women jockeys but we all know some women who are built with a lot of strength, even the petites. If strength to control the horse had no factor women would dominate the sport because their frames are lighter. Since it is a very small percentage, even smaller as you go up to major races, this tells us that it takes a very rare women athlete to pull this off. The fact remains barely any other even compete in the Triple Crown races and the % as a whole is very small tells us strength is a big part of what they do.
These are also other skills to being a jockey. You have to know that horse. When to let him loose, when to strike him and when to hold him back. Does he like the rail or can he get around the outside? You act like these guys just jump on any horse and it is all the same. They trained tirelessly everyday, much more then your average punter.
A punter on a football team one of two positions they don't even keep a backup, if he gets hurt they will sub him with a another player. Shows that in a bind they can do without it. The number that get drafted is low so their skills are not in high demand and it is widely known you can get guys off the street to do it.
MagicSpecs said 05/04, 07:44 AM
So here is how you ride a winner.
1) Be light.
2) Sit on the fastest horse.
3) When the gates open, hold on.
4) Give the horse a bit of a whipping to make it look like you're contributing.
No corners. No rails. No tactics, 'knowing the horse', or changes of speed required.
The most skillful thing a jockey can do is find a ride on the fastest horse.
There is undoubtedly skill (and value) in effective punting. Good punting combines technique and accuracy, both skillful attributes.
The ideal punt will gain the maximum field position whilst eliminating the possibility of a return. Skillful punts combine hang-time, direction and strength to allow the gunner to either make an immediate tackle, force a fair catch, or down the ball.
Along with power (for gaining maximum yardage), finesse is also required when punting to the goal line. The control required to avoid a touchback is a delicate and tricky art.
It takes skill for the punter to repeatedly deliver good punts using a situational combination of power, accuracy and finesse. More skill than is required to sit on a fast horse.
BuckyBadger. said 05/04, 07:49 PM
If a jockey was as you suggest we wouldn't see certain jockeys rise to the top of their craft. It would be totally random. Facts are these guys are graded out in ways both of us don't really know. People who follow this sport know about everything on those tracks and they can tell how the trainers want to run the horses by the jockeys that are on them. Is it a big time guy or some runt? If it was as you suggest it wouldn't matter to those who bet on the sport and train them but in fact it is the exact opposite. Borel isn't one of the best because it takes no skill.
Also maintaining the strength to ride these animals while keeping weight is a huge challenge, like making weight for boxing and wrestling. You have to maintain your strength and make a weight that is probably 20lbs less then you fit person's walking around weight.
Punting is a skill but a very specialized one. Don't need to stay in shape, just maintain flexibility below the waist. You want to take a team on an iron man competition or even a full court basketball game give me the jockeys. They will dominate any team of punters. You don't have to be an athlete to punt, to ride one of those beasts you do.
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