Virtually every other country that conducts racing requires jockeys to attend a recognized school for training. Surprisingly, the United States has never had a top-class, internationally recognized school for jockeys. The horse racing industry in North America needed a place to train individuals who desire to become jockeys.
Back to top
Gender: male or female
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. If you do not have a high school diploma or GED you must take the Compass test and reach minimum scores for entrance to the program. International students must meet a minimum TOFEL score.
From start to finish, it will take a minimum of two years of training to graduate from the program and become a professional jockey.
NARA will provide all the tack, including saddles and bridles. Students must bring their own boots and approved helmets, safety vests and riding crops.
The students will be responsible for feeding, grooming and exercising at least two horses each day. They will spend approximately three hours each day completing their chores in the barn while learning about horse care, approximately one hour riding on the track, and approximately another hour working out on a mechanical horse. Additionally, approximately 3 hours per day will be spent in the classroom.
NARA acquires horses from any one of four different sources, including: private donors who experience charitable tax deductions when applicable; leasing from private owners, adoption from retired thoroughbred facilities, and/or training using a "per day" training agreement.
There are opportunities for scholarship and financial aid support available through Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Please visit the Bluegrass Community and Technical College web site for Financial aid and scholarship information.
While NARA cannot guarantee each student with either an internship or a job, NARA does make every effort to help students with job placement assistance by introducing each eligible student to licensed and qualified professional horsemen and horsewomen, who are already established in the racing, breeding or sales industry.
There are a limited number of dorms available at the University of Kentucky's campus at a cost of approximately $500/month per student. Our students are able to find an apartment for between $450/month to $650/month.
Typically, average class size for students pursuing the exercise rider/jockey pathway is capped at 15 due to a limited number of horse available for riding. There is no cap for horseman's pathway classes but usually classes will close off at no more than 20-25 students. There is no cap for online classes.
NARA classes are held at one of two locations:
The Thoroughbred Training Center
3380 Paris Pike, Lexington, KY 40511
Facilities: Barn 30 (15-20 NARA horses are stabled here for hands-on training); classroom and offices in main building.
Because of the access to two training tracks, this is where we primarily base our Jockey/Exercise Rider Pathway students and faculty.
Locust Trace Agriscience Farm
242 Locust Farm Road, Lexington, KY 40511
Facilities: Office, classroom, lab and 8-horse equine barn and indoor riding ring.
We primarily base our Horsemans' Pathway students at Locust Trace where we also offer dual credit classes for local area high school juniors and seniors.
Yes. As with any other accredited university or college, previously earned credits can be transferred. To do so, students should go to the "Transfer Center" section of the BCTC website:
Students enrolled in NARA will pursue a degree in Equine Studies with two general pathways they can choose: the Exercise Rider/Jockey Pathway or the Horseman's Pathway (for those mainly interested in the care and training of racehorses). NARA is now also working with Morehead State University's Veterinary Assistant program and now offers a certificate providing credits which will transfer toward MSU's Veterinary Assistant program. NARA offers both one year (approximately 30-36 credits) certificates and two year (approximately 65 credits) associate degrees within each pathway.