Jockeys risk their lives every day in the dangerous sport of horse racing, but a new motion tracking device could make the profession safer.
Every year there comes news of jockey deaths and serious injuries. Riding racehorses is an inherently dangerous profession, and there's no way to really learn how to become a jockey without just riding a racehorse. This apprenticeship period can be one of the most dangerous times for jockeys since they're learning how to ride racehorses in a trial-by-fire-type of situation. But now a motion tracking device could reduce the risk.
Scientists have developed a motion tracking device system which they are using to study the movement and position of experienced jockeys. This system of tracking devices can be attached to a jockey's clothing, as well as to the saddle stirrups.
By taking precise measurements in terms of weight, movement, and position, scientists are given insight to the exact movements of skilled jockeys. Once they know what sets a top-notch jockey apart, they can help teach these skills to younger, less experienced jockeys.
Horse sports are all dangerous, but constantly evolving technology is helping to improve safety. Think about the helmets that were around twenty years ago compared to the helmets of today. New materials, testing procedures, and regulations have improved helmet construction. The same is true of eventing vests, and even the air bag vests which were introduced a few years ago.
Technology improves horse safety, too. There have been many studies performed on the effect of different riding surfaces on horse health and injury, examinations on the details of saddle fit, and even the emergence of new devices which can monitor horse gait, respiration, and even temperature.
Technology can truly revolutionize our future with horses, improving the safety of both horse and rider in many disciplines.