Jockeys Up

An active, icebreaker, circle game for large groups

How To Play Jockeys Up

1. Tell the group to get into pairs, preferably with a person who has a similar height/weight to them.

2. Get them to designate one person from their pair to be the "jockey" and one person to be the "horse".

3. The horse need to stand in a small circle in the middle, facing the back of the person in front of them. (ie. when they walk forward they should be travelling around the circle, following the person in front of them).

4. The jockeys need to do the same thing except in a large circle around the horses and in the opposite direction.

5. A leader needs to direct the game a firstly say "Horses go!" (and the horses need to start galloping around their circle). Then the leader says "Jockeys go!" and the jockeys will run around their circle.

6. When the leader yells "Jockeys up!" the jockeys must all find their partners and jump on their back (ie. the horses must give the jockeys a piggyback). The last pair to do this gets eliminated from the next round.

7. To add some more interest, you can make the players change direction.


Added by
on 26 September 2007


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We call this game "Birdie on a Perch". One person is the birdie and the other is the perch. When the leader calls out "Birdie on a Perch", the pair finds each other...the perch kneels on one knee and the birdie sits on the other knee that is up. Helps a bit with any weight self conciousness. Or you can name two body parts (the first one for person one and the second for person two). For example, finger/ear. Then Person one puts their finger on person two's ear. And the last pair to get into the position helps to judge who is the last pair for the next round.

Posted by Deb 6 years ago

We did a western version of this where instead of jockeys we had cowboys (and cowgirls) and instead of saying "Jockey's up!" we said "Saddle up!" Kids loved it.

Posted by Gloria 7 years ago

Just be aware that some kids have really low self esteem regarding their weight. Over my years in youth ministry I've seen girls burst into tears when asked to play games like this. They don't want anyone carrying them because they think they are too heavy. Even though these sort of games are a lot of fun, not everyone sees them the same. By all means play them, just be aware of how people are reacting - we don't want kids feeling bad at youth group, we want them feeling good about themselves!

Posted by S 11 years ago

We played it standing still in a circle - jockeys up, jockeys down, jockey around the horse (run around the horse). The funniest was Jockey up followed by jockey around the horse (while hanging on for dear life!). Even funnier was "horse up". We were paralysed with hysteria - especially as the instructions were given very fast.

Posted by CMN 11 years ago

Played this game and the teens loved it. No blindfold or anything. Just be careful that you dont allow the circles to grow too large... I had a Jockey almost knock his partner out (full on sprint and the partner didnt realize he was that close). It was fun to watch though!

Posted by bob 12 years ago

Tried this with my group of teens, and they had a blast. It was very humorous for the adult group leaders too.

Posted by Matt 13 years ago

Tried it with everyone having their eyes closed (not nuff blindfolds) and got each pair to make up a noise to find each other. Hilarity ensued. Great game! Great idea!

Posted by Leo 15 years ago

So how did they find their partners without speaking? Sounds challenging!

Posted by Shorty 15 years ago

Played this game where everyone was blindfolded and they couldn't speak any language to find their partner... the students loved it!

Posted by Eric 15 years ago
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