Re­search proves ladies ride just as well as men

New re­search shows that fe­male jock­eys are just as good as their male coun­ter­parts, al­though they get fewer rides

Horse & Hound - - Contents - By LUCY ELDER

WATCH out boys — re­search has found that fe­male jock­eys are just as good as their male ri­vals.

While the study’s find­ing is not a sur­prise to many, there are hopes this ev­i­dence will help open up more op­por­tu­ni­ties for women.

Vanessa Cash­more an­a­lysed 14 years of data while study­ing for her mas­ters in thor­ough­bred horserac­ing in­dus­tries at the Univer­sity of Liver­pool. She found that when horse qual­ity is con­sid­ered, women riders were “ev­ery bit as good” as men.

Only 11.3% of pro­fes­sional jockey li­cences are held by women, who took just 5.2% of avail­able rides dur­ing those 14 years. But women make up 51% of the sport’s sta­ble staff work­force, up from 42% since 2010. Women also make up 24% of all jock­eys hold­ing a li­cence — the same per­cent­age as 10 years ago.

Lead­ing Flat jockey Hol­lie Doyle told H&H the re­search is use­ful proof that women can get “just as much” out of a horse.

“It isn’t just about power and strength — ob­vi­ously that’s an ad­van­tage men have — but you have to be tac­ti­cally switched on and a good horse­man,” said Hol­lie, who has rid­den more than 100 win­ners. “In rac­ing, re­gard­less of gen­der, it’s re­ally hard to get go­ing and to get rides and win­ners; it takes a lot of hard work.”

Hol­lie said she has never felt at a dis­ad­van­tage as she is a woman.

“If you’re in fash­ion; rid­ing

win­ners and rid­ing well, who­ever you are you’ll do well,” she said.

Bri­tish Horserac­ing Au­thor­ity (BHA) chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick

Rust added the or­gan­i­sa­tion is “de­ter­mined to ad­dress” why women get fewer rides than men, par­tic­u­larly in high-pro­file races.

“We are proud Bri­tish rac­ing is one of the few sports where men and women can com­pete on equal terms,” he said. “But if fe­male jock­eys are not be­ing given the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as men, this can­not be con­sid­ered equal­ity.”

He added the BHA is look­ing at “any short- and long-term steps that must be taken to im­prove equal op­por­tu­ni­ties”.

Ap­pren­tice Gemma Tutty, who has rid­den nearly 50 win­ners and is bal­anc­ing rid­ing with study­ing for a de­gree in psy­chol­ogy and coun­selling, told H&H she was in­ter­ested horse qual­ity was taken into ac­count. She wants train­ers to re­main free to choose who they want, with­out rules or penal­ties, but hopes wide­spread opin­ions can move to re­gard male and fe­male jock­eys on a level.

“I have seen a lot of girls re­tire through lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties when there will be a lad rid­ing to the same stan­dard and he has had op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Gemma.

“Not all lads get op­por­tu­ni­ties ei­ther, but the fact some train­ers won’t use girls puts us at a dis­ad­van­tage, even if some train­ers use them all the time.”

Gemma Tutty has rid­den nearly 50 win­ners

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