05:59 pm, Monday 18 March, 2013
Customer Advisors Gemma Jorgensen and Alex Newton,
Customer Services Manager Vicki McCathy
and Exercise physiologist Adam King.
Photo: WorkCover Queensland
WorkCover Queensland has recently visited the Toowoomba Turf Club to meet with injured jockeys and view the horse simulator in action.
WorkCover Queensland Customer Advisor, Gemma Jorgensen said the simulator is a type of device that mimics a galloping horse which was purchased by Racing Queensland to train apprentices and is now also used as a rehabilitation tool.
“In some cases when I refer a jockey to a conditioning program, which helps them get back to riding duties more safely and quickly, the exercise physiologist encourages the jockey to use the simulator for conditioning. There isn’t really anything else in a gym or training session that can simulate the actions of a horse. The simulator enables the muscle groups needed to ride a horse to rebuild, strengthen and recondition.
“The simulator can also assist with any confidence issues – it has helped jockeys refine the riding action without having the unpredictability of a live animal beneath them,” said Ms Jorgensen.
By connecting the simulator to a LED screen and computer, balance, whip action and rein use are being monitored.
Customer Advisor Alex Newton said that during their visit they have discussed the rehabilitation and conditioning benefits of the simulator with Racing Queensland’s training officer along with an exercise physiologist who regularly arranges conditioning and strengthening programs for jockeys returning to work from injury.
“We learnt just how difficult riding a race horse can be and how general fitness plays such an integral and vital part in a jockey’s normal duties. Most jockeys’ injuries are complex and serious in nature, and normal duties are somewhat high risk and unpredictable,” said Mr Newton.
“We have worked with Racing Queensland to arrange availability of the horse simulator for rehabilitation and work hardening. These programs will be formulated and supervised by an exercise physiologist,” he said.
The simulators are available in Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, and Deagon. A mobile apparatus also travels to regional centres.