For many jockeys battling their weight, it is not that the weights are too low, but usually poor eating habits and a lack of nutritional education that causes problems. Absent a weight certification similar to amateur wrestling, raising the riding weights will not solve overweight issues for jockeys, but will instead likely lead to more unhealthy jockeys. Raising the riding weights would significantly allow more larger individuals to enter the sport attempting to make the weight. As one jockey has famously stated, “More dogs, more fleas.” Sound nutritional education, and weight certification is what is needed.
The health and welfare of jockeys riding at Delaware Park has been at the forefront of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, and as a result, the most comprehensive health and welfare program for jockeys in the United States has been established in Delaware. This program provides the needed education on poor eating habits and nutrition specifically for jockeys.
The Delaware Jockey Health & Welfare Benefit Board has worked with Professor Sue Snider from the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension to develop a nutritional program for jockeys riding at Delaware Park. The program includes assessing the jockeys’ needs through a special survey developed by Professor Snider. Signage encouraging healthy eating habits in both English and Spanish located throughout the jockeys’ room, individual food recall analysis for each jockey, and an annual fun filled nutritional seminar/dinner for jockeys and their families are all part of the continuing nutritional education at Delaware Park.
The services and nutrition program provided by the Cooperative Extension is free, though the Delaware Jockeys Health & Welfare Fund has made donations to the Delaware Cooperative Extension in appreciation of their effort. The nutritional program has been made available nationwide to all state Cooperative Extensions. You may check your state cooperative to see if a seminar can be held at your local track. If you would like any additional information, please feel free to contact us.
There is a wealth of information concerning jockey health and welfare from the leading researchers from around the world in our ICHSJW section. Be sure to view the numerous presentations and country updates for cutting edge information specifically regarding jockeys.
Below is a partial list of material used in our nutritional program. Click on each item to view or print as a pdf:
UD Helps Keep Jockeys Race Ready
UDaily, August 31, 2010
Nutrition Assessment of Horse-Racing Athletes
Nancy Cotugna, Sue Snider, Jennifer Windish
Race Day Recommendations
Handout from University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Sports Dietitians of Australia
What’s to Eat? Nothing for the Jockey, Plenty for the Horses.
Presentation by Sue Snider, PhD, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, June 20, 2012
Get a Leg-up on Nutrition
Agenda for Nutritional Seminar and Dinner, Delaware Park, June 20, 2012
Food Recall Form and Result Sample
A food recall is a diary of the food intake for a day