Welfare, Education, and Health Key Points at Jockey Training Conference

HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Conference for Training and Education

Gary Capewell, Julie Krone, Remi Bellocq

Gary Capewell, Julie Krone, Remi Bellocq

10 November 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone was in the limelight on day one of the Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Conference for Training and Education. Champion jockeys shared real life stories of success and failure as discussions turned to jockey safety and health issues at the National Archives, Abu Dhabi, on Thursday, 10 November 2016.

Moderated by Derek Thompson, the first session featured a panel of speakers that are deeply involved in jockey clubs and the welfare of jockeys. Marcel De Bruyne, Director of Belgium Jockey Club; Yasser Mabrouk, Head of Arabic Department, Technical Mgr. ERA; Kai Schirmann, Director, German Jockey School and Chief coach for Apprentice jockeys of the Festival; Pat Buckley, Racing Director, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club; and Richard Mullen, UAE Jockey and Festival Ambassador; all shared their expertise on the topic- Jockey training Worldwide and Prevention of Racing Accidents’.

Champion jockey Richard Mullen underlined the need for jockey fitness: “In the last number of years, jockeys are treating themselves as sportsmen. If you are physically fit and suffer an injury, you’ll come out better.”

Pat Buckley added that the safety aspect in any equestrian event has much to do with the riders themselves. “Instead of indulging in rivalry and stupidity the riders should concentrate more on the course and take extra precautions”, the former Grand National winning jockey said.

Yasser Mabrouk opined that there is no way of stopping the accidents, but they could be minimized. “Stress should be put on training, licensing, rules, fitness and health which could probably help in number of accidents being reduced,” he added.

Marcel DeBruyne added that the by definition “accidents are accidental“. He said since his tenure as the Director of the Belgium Jockey in the last ten years, they have been fortunate to not have many incidents.

Kai Schirmann felt planning properly for safety was of ultimate importance such as a track walk before the race.

The speakers agreed that in competitive sport there are is no perfect solution to avoiding accidents but steps could be taken to minimize them. Suggestions here included improvement of jockey equipment; care to not ride green or unraced horses, unification of the safety measures around the globe, and further educational training for apprentice jockeys.

The post- lunch second session on ‘Jockeys – High Performance Athletes – At The Top’ which was moderated by Gary Capwell from the UK and included Remi Bellocq, Exec. Dir. North American Racing Academy; Melissa Weatherly, Athlete Development and Industry Careers Advisor, Racing Victoria; Anna Velasquez, School Director, Puerto Rico Jockey School; UAE-based jockey and Festival Ambassador Richard Mullen; and USA Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone.

Julie Krone

Julie Krone, Hall of Fame jockey

Krone, recently appointed HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival Ambassador, was as lively as if she was riding a Derby Contestant and kept the audience enthralled with her expertise and experiences which began with her racing career in 1982. Coming from a talented horse training family, the diminutive Krone said she had begun her career as a horse show rider, before moving to flat racing. Krone praised the Festival which continues to contribute excellent opportunities to the racing industry and especially to the education, safety and welfare of jockeys.

Krone’s advice for a successful jockey career: “You should trust your horsemanship, pay attention to the smallest detail and involve yourself totally with your horse.”

Richard Mullen stated: “One should never give up on his dream and keep pursuing.”
Anna Velasquez stated that they have made a good headway in their country despite the fact that language is a barrier. “We are working towards that” she said.

Remi Bellocq expressed that racing schools were doing a tremendous job in boosting the performance of the jockeys. “But talent is most essential in the racing field,” he added.
The panel advised the jockeys to focus on the physical fitness and know what kind of exercise suit them.

Jockey Welfare Panel

Jockey Welfare Panel

The third and last session of the day focused on “Controlled Jockey Diet, Weight Control & Nutrition” and it was moderated by Australian racer presenter Victoria Shaw with panelists: Dr. Georges Wilson from John Moores Liverpool University Researcher, Chantal Sutherland (Highest Earner Professional Female Jockey), Xavier Ziani (FR- Professional Jockey and Ambassador of HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival), Acaena Amoros and Mahi Aramideh, both from Elixir London Clinic; and Dr. Jamal Hout (NAET Practitioner).

American rider Chantal Sutherland, winner of a race during the 2012 Dubai World Cup meeting stated that it was tough for her to control her weight. “After trying out various things, I found out that that yoga and weight training were the ones suited for my body, and this is important as each body has its own requirements and necessities.

Ziani was of the view that Middle East in general and the UAE in particular posed great dangers of dehydration for jockeys because of the warm weather. “You have to find a suitable program for your body. I’m lucky that I am light but many jockeys struggle because of the weight,” he stated.

Dr. Jamal Hout said in many jockeys, energy balance is disrupted. He suggested that one should eat food that gives them the right energy. “It’s essential to eat right and do physical exercises from time to time.”

Dr. Georges Wilson made a PowerPoint presentation of main findings from the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival-supported research at John Moores Liverpool University.

According to the findings:
‘Many jockeys have too high body fat% (14-16%) and there is scope to lower levels (<10%) through education on nutrition.’
“Fasted exercise (first thing in morning) is the most effective way to reduce body weight – then eating 5 – 6 meals and snacks a day, high in protein, low in carbohydrate and adequate healthy fats (fish oils etc.)’
“Jockeys do not use up a large amount of energy during a typical racing day and therefore they need to do additional structured exercise to control weight effectively” Dr. George said.

Mahi and Acaena, who have been working in the UAE for the last two years are professionally qualified nurses and have worked in the UK with cancer and HIV patients. “Diet played a big role in the health improvement of these patients, so we decided to open the Elixir London Clinic to offer advice on healthy weight management through healthy eating.”

The day began with welcome speeches by Dr. Abdulla Alreyes, Director General of the National Archives, Najla Nasser, National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing, Sami Al Boenain -Chairman, IFAHR and Ahmed Saeed, from the Judicial Department.
The Conference continues on Friday.

The conference is held under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister And Minister of Presidential Affairs, as part of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, IPIC as Strategic Partner, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and sponsored by Al Aweer Stables, Ayadii LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Bloom, Petromal, Rise General Trading Co. LLC, Hayatna, Wathba Stallions, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohamed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Omeir Travels, Dr Nader Saab Switzerland, Laboratories Fadia Karam Cosmetics, YAS Channel, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2016, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.

~ end supplied report