Catastrophic Equine Injuries’ Impact on Jockey Injuries

Reducing the prevalence of catastrophic equine injuries and sudden deaths could help improve jockey safety.
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Catastrophic Equine Injuries’ Impact on Jockey Injuries
Jockeys who rode a horse that died during a race had a significantly higher likelihood of sustaining an injury. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Any rider that’s ever hit the ground knows that horseback riding can be unforgiving. But imagine your mount, running just feet in front of another horse, falling out from underneath you at upwards of 30 miles per hour. That’s the reality jockeys face on a daily basis.

While many races go off without a hitch, others don’t. Over a six-year span California flat racing jockeys fell 601 times and sustained 325 injuries. Researchers believe that if we can reduce the prevalence of equine injuries and sudden deaths, we can lower jockeys’ injury rates as well.

Recently, Peta Hitchens, BAppSc(Equine), MVPHMgt, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine—in collaboration with Susan Stover, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of the UC Davis J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research, and Ashley Hill, DVM, MPVM, PhD, of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System—reviewed the documented falls and recorded injuries referenced above. The study was conducted in concert with California Horse Racing Board’s Racing Safety Program

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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