what is an outrider in horse racing

An outrider is an experienced equestrian who rides alongside racehorses during competitions to ensure the safety and well-being of both horse and jockey. They monitor the horses’ behavior, assist jockeys in case of difficulties, and help keep the race running smoothly. Outriders are typically skilled horse handlers with a deep understanding of horse racing and the specific needs of each horse in the race. They play a vital role in maintaining the safety and fairness of the competition.

Duties of an Outrider

Outriders are essential members of the horse racing team, responsible for various crucial tasks before, during, and after a race. Their primary duties include:

  • Pre-Race:
    • Assist in saddling and mounting jockeys
    • Lead the horses to the starting gate
    • Position the horses behind the gate and ensure they are calm and ready
  • During the Race:
    • Monitor the horses throughout the race for any signs of distress or injury
    • Assist fallen jockeys or horses in an emergency
    • Ensure the safety of other horses and personnel on the track
  • Post-Race:
    • Lead the horses back to the paddock or barn
    • Help unmount the jockeys
    • Report any observations or concerns about the horses’ well-being to the race officials


Outriders are positioned at various points along the racetrack, typically at the starting gate, the finish line, and any other areas where the horses may need assistance or guidance.


Outriders play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the horses and jockeys during a race. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring the horses’ behavior and identifying any signs of distress or injury.
  • Guiding the horses safely around the track, especially at turns or obstacles.
  • Assisting injured horses or jockeys in case of a fall or accident.
  • Enforcing safety regulations and ensuring fair play during the race.
Monitoring horses’ behaviorObserve horses for signs of distress or injury
Guiding horses around the trackAssist horses in navigating turns and obstacles
Assisting injured horses or jockeysProvide immediate assistance in case of accidents
Enforcing safety regulationsEnsure compliance with safety guidelines and fair play

An Outrider in Horse Racing

An outrider is a person on horseback who rides alongside the racehorses in a horse race to assist in various aspects of the race. They play a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of the horses and jockeys, and in maintaining the integrity of the race.

Communication and Coordination

Effective communication and coordination among the outriders and other officials are crucial for a successful race.

  • Horse Track Communication: Outriders use two-way radios or other communication devices to stay in constant contact with each other and with the race steward.
  • Jockey Communication: Outriders sometimes relay messages to jockeys during the race, such as if a horse has become loose or if there is a hazard on the track.
  • Crowd Control: Outriders assist in crowd control by positioning themselves in strategic locations along the track to prevent people from interfering with the race.
Outrider Responsibilities
Before the RaceDuring the RaceAfter the Race
  • Escort horses to the starting gate
  • Warm up horses before the race
  • Check horses for proper equipment
  • Ride alongside the horses to ensure their well-being
  • Assist with any emergencies
  • Relay messages to jockeys
  • Control the pace of the race
  • Escort horses back to the paddock
  • Cool down horses
  • Assist in post-race inspections

Historical Origins

Outriders have a long and storied history in horse racing, dating back to the earliest days of the sport. In the 17th century, outriders were employed to keep the racecourse clear of spectators and other obstacles, and to ensure that the horses stayed on track. Over time, their role evolved to include escorting the horses to and from the starting gate, and providing assistance to jockeys in the event of a fall.

Today, outriders are still an essential part of horse racing. They play a vital role in ensuring the safety of the horses and jockeys, and they help to create a fair and competitive environment for all.

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope this little article has shed some light on the mystery of outriders in horse racing. These unsung heroes play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and fairness of the sport. So, the next time you’re watching a race, be sure to give a shout-out to the outriders who are quietly doing their part to make the magic happen. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back for more equestrian insights and musings. Take care and keep chasing that racing dream!