Supplementary Materials to Comparative Exercise Physiology manuscript: Identification of the challenges to and attitudes of apprentice jockeys towards implementation of specialised exercise training in New Zealand
Jockeys exercise at maximal physiological capacity during a race, multiple times each race day, whilst maintaining a low body weight. Therefore, understanding the physical demands of jockeys during training and competition, along with development of specific exercise programmes is important in preparing and supporting the performance, physical well-being and career progression of these athletes. This study aimed to develop and implement a targeted, jockey specific training (JET – Jockey Exercise Training) programme to assess the engagement and attitudes of a cohort of 50 apprentice jockeys to an off-horse training programme. The JET programme consisted of 8 weeks of tri-weekly training exercises, delivered via video recording through a social media platform (Facebook) and fortnightly in-person sessions. Uptake of JET was poor, with only 10% of jockeys completing over half of the recommended number of JET trainings. The reasons for this were explored via brief structured interviews using cue cards, with 16 apprentice jockeys. Most of the apprentices valued the importance of the increased physical fitness provided by JET. However, they lacked self-motivation and believed they already did enough physical fitness during their workday commitments. The introduction of group sessions, providing both social accountability and support increased JET programme uptake. Industry modification to promote the social context of valuing the physical well-being of jockeys as elite athletes in all industry participants, in combination with early introduction of jockey specific training in a structured framework, may be a key component to the successful introduction of future jockey exercise programmes.