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QHJockee
Feb. 20, 2008, 10:03 PM
Some people think he should keep his mouth shut but I think this is a story worth telling. I know several parties involved in this story and my husband knew Shane for years when he rode for him. Should make good reading.

http://freedomsrein.com/index.php?sectionID=1&action=list

JER
Feb. 20, 2008, 10:23 PM
I liked that HBO documentary about him from a few years ago. I thought it was a moving portrayal of a guy who realized it was time to stand up and say something.

Jockey weights in the US are unrealistic and unsafe. It's not like a TB can't carry more weight safely, exercise riders prove that every day.

Equilibrium
Feb. 21, 2008, 12:27 AM
JER,
Do you honestly believe putting weights up will make the problem go away? Sure a guy like Shane won't have problems, but you will have other guys considering becoming jockey's that will be in the same boat. And while horses carry the weight of an exercise rider everyday, you never reach racing speeds in the morning while galloping. So quite a bit diffrent.
NH jockeys over here are bigger than their flat counterparts and carry more weight. You still have guys reducing to make weights, just bigger guys. I just can't see a weight rise getting rid of the problem.


Terri

Centsability
Feb. 21, 2008, 12:47 AM
I think it's great that he's writing the book. (did you know he had a country album come out a few yrs ago, as well? he can sing!) anyway, as far as the weight issue goes... here's my take from a jocks point-of-view... true, that raising the weights wont "solve" the problems, however having horses get in at 95-110 lbs is rediculous. We have to be 4 lbs under what the listed weight is, in order to tack it. (that listed weight includes our tack) Anyway, although I agree as long as you raise it, there will still be many riders struggling and trying to pull too much weight to make weight, I still agree that they should at least raise it to a REALISTIC weight, such as 125-130 instead of 110. Heck, look at what the jump jockeys weigh!! I'm pretty fortunate with my weight, but I know what it's like to battle and have to pull weight, especially when I was a bug, and it's brutal. Bad enough to pull the weight, much worse to try to work with not only your 1200 lb animal, but maneuver with 12-14 others. The scariest thing is riding with people that DO severely struggle with their weight, and therefore are extremely weak. I've seen some ugly things happen because of that. It's kind of a catch 22, but that's just my take... (nice link, though, Ericka! thanks!)

JER
Feb. 21, 2008, 12:48 AM
JER,
Do you honestly believe putting weights up will make the problem go away?

Nope. Absolutely not.

But it's a first step towards something. And the weight issue is a complex one -- it's not just about jockeys starving, vomiting, sweating and then going out to operate dangerous machinery. It's also about the veracity of the scales -- jockeys riding over their declared weight (there was a scandal about this in NY a couple of years ago) and the unknowing public betting on those fraudulent statistics.

NH jockeys ride at 140 lbs. That's a lot different than 110 lbs.

Centsability
Feb. 21, 2008, 01:28 AM
Nope. Absolutely not.

But it's a first step towards something. And the weight issue is a complex one -- it's not just about jockeys starving, vomiting, sweating and then going out to operate dangerous machinery. It's also about the veracity of the scales -- jockeys riding over their declared weight (there was a scandal about this in NY a couple of years ago) and the unknowing public betting on those fraudulent statistics.

NH jockeys ride at 140 lbs. That's a lot different than 110 lbs.

that scandal was actually over-thrown in court last year. Baez sued NYRA for that, it was a rediculous deal. There was no way those riders were all that weight over in the first place, but then to cross the river that night and ride at the same weights in NJ? hmmm (and I know from personal experience, the clerk in NJ is very strict and always has been. You are not getting away with being 1 ounce over.) It was really a shame and a shock, the charges NYRA tried to file against Baeza. He is such a great guy, and is such a huge part of racing history himself... to disrespect him (and all the jocks, for that matter), was really a bad deal. At least they got it over-thrown.

Equus34
Feb. 21, 2008, 08:07 AM
I for one am looking forward to Shanes book coming out. My husband rode with Shane for several years, I just know him through our Jockey Guild meetings. But both my husband and I have been in recent contact with Shane and told him just how proud we are of him, getting the word out.

I don't think a lot of off track people even realize just what goes on behind the scenes to be a jockey. I never had to worry about weight being an issue when I rode but my husband did. And many of my fellow jockeys like Shane had to fight their weight constantly.

I think that raising the scale of wieghts to a respectable 125 - 130 would help tremendously. I really do.... Reducing, by any means effects the body in some pretty drematic ways. Heaving (vomting) is not only hard on the stomach and esophagus, it robs the body of much needed nutrients and ruins the enamel on the teeth. Diaretics and laxatives are also very hard on the body especially the heart.

The last two years my husband rode he survived on a slim fast shake for breakfast before heading to the track to gallop. Then after galloping, he headed to the gym with me for a two hour work out, then he would have a slim fast shake for lunch. And he like most jockeys that reduce hard would sleep all afternoon then head into the jocks room to sit in the hot box or whirlpool for at least an hour sometimes more. Then ride his races, come home and have a boneless skinless baked chicken breast and some vetables.

How many people could really survive on a diet like that? He was cranky and crabby because he was starving himself as so many jockeys do. And while I understand we chose this occupation as our profession. Jockeys are extreme athletes but they are over worked and underpaid.

I commend Shanes book and hope it gets the great weight debate started again. And I truly hope that something gets done this time. It's been long overdue.

www.cmmbarnbrats.com

SleepyFox
Feb. 21, 2008, 09:31 AM
Some people think he should keep his mouth shut but I think this is a story worth telling. I know several parties involved in this story and my husband knew Shane for years when he rode for him. Should make good reading.

http://freedomsrein.com/index.php?sectionID=1&action=list

I'm sympathetic to the weight issue - I used to ride, but well, it was way too hard to make weight and so I moved to other things in racing. And, I know an awful lot of people who did the same thing. Personally, I support the idea of higher weights, but the problem in this case is the way Sellers is going about making his case. The book and the documentary are fine, but making enemies of the racing officials, horseman and even your friends is not the way to garner support for your issue.

And, frankly, some of his arguments for why weights should be increased (I'm not sure if these are his official stance or just what he says in private) are not going to have widespread appeal.

I hope the book generates some cash flow for him, but the people who need to be convinced of the validity of Sellers' argument have already heard it and are getting to the point they aren't going to listen to anything else from that source.

I'd take the content with a grain of salt, too.

Texarkana
Feb. 21, 2008, 09:46 AM
Hopefully his career as a writer will pan out for him better than his career in the music industry!

I am looking forward to reading this. In general, I agree weights need to be raised (maybe that's because I could never make weight myself, haha). Although I also plan on taking this book with a grain of salt.

SleepyFox
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:17 AM
Hopefully his career as a writer will pan out for him better than his career in the music industry!


Okay Nashville resident :), what did happen with his music career? I didn't know him at that time and am kind of curious, but I'm afraid to ask him - as it is I feel like I'm always teetering between being hugged and being punched in the mouth. There's no telling what story I would get asking some of the other people who know him. :)

Texarkana
Feb. 21, 2008, 10:36 AM
Okay Nashville resident :), what did happen with his music career? I didn't know him at that time and am kind of curious, but I'm afraid to ask him - as it is I feel like I'm always teetering between being hugged and being punched in the mouth. There's no telling what story I would get asking some of the other people who know him. :)

Well, our time in Nashville didn't overlap. But I do remember hearing the tracks. I would safely say he rides better than he sings. :lol:

Ok, all joking aside, he just suffered the same fate so many others do in this town from my understanding. Happens to nearly everyone who takes a shot at the biz.

Equilibrium
Feb. 21, 2008, 12:43 PM
I rode with Shane as well when I rode races in Chicago. I have always liked him and will have to try and get the book over here.

I am in no way saying not to raise the weights, I just feel no matter what you raise them to someone will always try to make weight he/she cannot comfortably do. It will always be an issue.

And yes, it wouldn't kill them to raise them a bit. National Hunt horses carry 140pds but guess what, you have the same amount of jocks starving themselves to make weight too.

Terri

Texarkana
Feb. 21, 2008, 12:56 PM
I am in no way saying not to raise the weights, I just feel no matter what you raise them to someone will always try to make weight he/she cannot comfortably do. It will always be an issue.



I agree that there will always be jocks going through unhealthy measures to make weight. You will have that in any sport where weight is a concern. Even wrestlers wrestling in 200lb classes resort to unhealthy measures to reduce.

But you can't tell me it wouldn't be it healthier for everyone if the weights were raised to 120-130lbs. or more. Very few adults are built to be able to sustain a weight of 110, let alone perform as an athlete!

JER
Feb. 21, 2008, 01:58 PM
But you can't tell me it wouldn't be it healthier for everyone if the weights were raised to 120-130lbs. or more. Very few adults are built to be able to sustain a weight of 110, let alone perform as an athlete!

I completely agree with both of these statements.

Raising the weights also opens up the sport to a greater number of superior athletes. I think this would be good for racing.

Equus34
Feb. 22, 2008, 12:53 PM
I think everyone has made some really good comments about Shane Sellers up coming book. I have been in recent contact with Shane and he is planning on using his book to make the public aware of the weight issue. He just like so many of us before have been pleading for years to raise the scale of weights to no avail.

Shane is hoping that the book will raise public awareness on this issue so he can bring it up again to the racing commision and have some support of the racing public. One thing that is hard to do and those of you replying here that are former jockeys can agree with me on, is that you can't get jockey's to agree on anything....

This is sad but true and "ALL" you former jockeys out there know it is. I was a guild rep at several of the tracks I raced at and one thing is for certain. When your a Jockey Rep. and your riding colony comes to you with an issue,it's your job as the rep to go directly to the management or the racing board to get the concern addressed.

What usually ends up happening and this is what happened to Shane, I know because I have been in constant contact with him especially over these past few weeks. He went to the racing board with the weight issue on behalf of the jockeys and they "HUNG HIM OUT TO DRY".....

I know how he feels been there done that. That is why when I moved to the mid-west to race and was aske by our Jockey Guild manager to be a rep I turned it down. I was sick of speaking up for the concerns of my jockey colony only for them to hang me out to dry.

So this is why Shane wrote the book and hopes to make not only the racing public but Joe public aware of the weight issue so he can "Help" his fellow jockeys even though they hung him out to dry, he doesn't want to see any more lives ruined by the whole dirty secret that is "Reducing" ....

His book can be pre ordered from his web site which was posted at the begining of this thread. My husband and I have already preordered ours as have most of our friends.

Hope those of you who have posted here consider buying his book, it will be a very good read.

Thanks for letting me vent.....

Barn Brats Horse Themed Glassware
www.cmmbarnbrats.com

SleepyFox
Feb. 22, 2008, 05:14 PM
Shane is hoping that the book will raise public awareness on this issue so he can bring it up again to the racing commision and have some support of the racing public.

Does the public really care? It's not like anyone is forcing anyone to be a jockey. As a cause it's not really up there with starving kids or cancer.

But, regardless, it's not the jockeys nor the public that Shane needs to convince - it's the horsemen. When you get the horsemen saying "yeah, our horses can take more weight, go for it" is when you'll see change. Until then, everyone is just going to continue to say "if you increase weight, you'll increase breakdowns and why should we listen to a guy who couldn't make weight as he got older and is now bitter? Horse and jockey safety isn't worth it."

I hope the book brings him some success. But, until he gets some of his other issues together, not too many people are going to be eager to be aligned with him and that isn't going to help his case.

Arcadien
Feb. 22, 2008, 06:45 PM
>>Does the public really care? It's not like anyone is forcing anyone to be a jockey. As a cause it's not really up there with starving kids or cancer. <<

I think the general public would care, if you realize that struggling weight & eating disorders are a common problem in all riding sports (if you go to H/J forum, you'll be able to search many popular threads on this issue).

Also, the spotlight on weight pressures on elite figure skaters & female gymnasts captured the publics imagination to have multiple tv documentaries & best selling books... .not sure if it did much good, though to my untrained eye, both look a bit healthier weights these days! Not many of the general public concerned here could get anywhere close to these weights or sports at that level themselves, but they still cared...

As for 5-10 pounds more weight on horses at top speed causing breakdowns, sigh... come on. Maybe if they are trained carelessly or built on frail twigs for legs, but IMHO that sort needs to be weeded out of our sport if it's to survive much longer, anyway.

I'm for 125-130 as a standard for jockey's! I can't buy the argument that just as many will kill themselves starving to reach this, as there is a much greater population that can meet these weights without so much effort - how many jockey's is there demand for in this country? At some point, you saturate it - hopefully with healthy, reasonably weighted riders!

Best wishes,
Arcadien

Equus34
Feb. 23, 2008, 11:01 AM
Shanes book isn't just about the weight issue it's also about other concerns that face jockey's every day. Such as no health insurance for them or their familys. Yes if a jockey or exercise rider gets hurt on the track they are covered up to a certain point I think (but don't quote me on this) it's $100,000. Trust me an injuried rider can go through that in just a weeks stay at the hospital.

Do you realize that a jockey recieves only $50 in jock mount fee's unless they run first, second or third? Yep a measly $50 to ride a race horse traveling in speeds up to 40 miles per hour with only a flak jacket and a helmet between them and the ground.

Of that $50, they must pay 25% to their agent, 10% to their vallet, and another $10 per mount to the Jockey's Guild. Mind you not all jockeys are members of the Jockey Guild. Also no taxes are taken out so a jockey (which are considered self employed) need to make sure that for every mount they ride they put some money aside to pay off Uncle Sam come April 15th.

Shane's book also addresses these issues as well. He is trying to make not only the public aware of this situation but hopes that making the public more aware will help bring these issue more into the forefront of the Racing Board.

Think about it, Football players, Baseball players just about everyother profesional athlete out there has medical benefits for both themselves and their family. They also recieve disability when they can't play. Not to mention look at some of the salaries they get. Millions of dollars a year to throw a ball around, plus benefits, and a pretty nice retirement package to boot.

There is no other sport that is as high risk, with "nothing" to show for it or fall back on. No retirement plan, no health coverage, no disability nothing. Do you know how hard it is to get health coverage???? Nearly impossible..

When my husband and I were both riding races we paid for our own health coverage out of our own pockets. And it was very hard to even find a company that would cover us. As soon as they found out we were jockey's, they would simply say sorry we can't cover you. When we did finally find a company that would cover us and our daughters we paid over $1,000 a month with a $1,500 deductable.

So Shanes book isn't just about the great weight debate, there is much more to it than that... More than I think even some of the horsemen realize.

Barn Brats Horse Themed Glassware
www.cmmbarnbrats.com

miss_critic
Feb. 23, 2008, 01:44 PM
Shanes book isn't just about the weight issue it's also about other concerns that face jockey's every day. Such as no health insurance for them or their familys.



I think that is an issue that is almost more important than the weight issue. You bring up some excellent points, very well put. Health insurance is something that really should be resolved sooner than later. Do Bull/Bronc Riders have the same problem?

Acertainsmile
Feb. 23, 2008, 02:06 PM
I totally agree that higher weights will just bring bigger guys (and gals) into the jocks room, and the cycle will continue.

What everyone has failed to mention is that along with higher weights, riders will also have their body fat measured... this was discussed when the idea of raising the weights was first introduced.. and I can understand they why's... just not the how's.

Dont quote me, but from what I've understood is that if a rider is under 12% BF, he would not be allowed to ride.

I talked to Randy Romero about this two yrs ago at Keeneland, and it was an interesting conversation.

I'm not sure when they would measure, would it be a day to day thing? Would there be 10 horse fields and only 3 riders? I think it's a complex thing, and if it's like anything else in the racing world, it will take a long time to actually see a change come about.

JER
Feb. 23, 2008, 02:23 PM
What everyone has failed to mention is that along with higher weights, riders will also have their body fat measured... this was discussed when the idea of raising the weights was first introduced.. and I can understand they why's... just not the how's.

Dont quote me, but from what I've understood is that if a rider is under 12% BF, he would not be allowed to ride.



This is a practice that has been adopted in some countries in the modeling industry, which like racing, is a sub-culture rife with eating disorders. The impetus was the deaths of several models who, despite a skeletal appearance and known issues, were allowed to keep working.

Eating disorders, chronic malnutrition and self-starvation, for whatever reasons, are LIFE-THREATENING. The most common cause of death is a heart attack brought on by electrolyte imbalance, after that it's multiple organ failure brought on by chronic starvation and tissue wasting. These conditions, even if they don't kill you, can cause permanent organ damage. Eating disorder patients also have a very high suicide rate.

Yes, you will always have people struggling to make weight. But a heck of a lot more people are going to be able to ride safely at 120-130 than at 110.

The insurance issues are also very important, as others are pointing out, especially when you take into consideration the damage these jocks are doing to themselves.

Unfortunately, like most professional sports, it's a fear-based business. Everyone is one mishap away from the end of their career, loyalty doesn't go far and there's always someone waiting to take your place. The NFL has a huge problem with people playing hurt, taking mountains of painkillers, and ending up permanently disabled (like with dementia). They're starting to deal with it but there's such a huge stigma to sitting out a game, not everyone (especially the non-stars) wants to take that chance. Which is why, like in racing, everyone wants the other guy to be the one who takes a stand for everyone's health and safety.

Shane Sellers is a very brave man. I admire his courage.

Acertainsmile
Feb. 23, 2008, 10:33 PM
JER, thanks for posting... and I am very aware of what jocks go through to make weight, having ridden myself and spending LOTS of time in the jocks room...

Although raising weights will make it easier for the riders who are currently light enough to make weight now, I wonder how many 150 pound excersise boys will dangerously reduce down to 120 pounds to ride. I see it as a vicious cycle.

I commend Shane, and also Randy for sharing their story. My former brother in law started riding at 16, and was the classic example of a rider that flipped and resorted to other tactics to keep riding as he matured. I watched him suffer physically, and mentally for years. He died of throat cancer at age 40 a few years ago. I'm sure he would probably be alive today if he hadnt ruined his body by reducing all those years.

Dont get me wrong, I'm not against raising weights at all... hopefully they will come up with a plan that will work... I'm just not sure they are on the right path.

I also witnessed a rider that reduced so hard it killed him. He was an excersise boy that I personally told was to big to ride. He made the weight, rode a few races, and died of heart failure in the jocks room.

The "system" failed him. The track doctor knew he was unhealthy, as well as the stewards, yet let him keep his license. Untill everyone gets involved, and has a plan in place to deal with unhealthy jockeys, raising weights will be helpful to some of the riders, and a temptation for others.

Equus34
Feb. 26, 2008, 09:36 AM
Yes the body fat % will be the issue if a Jockey that reduces get's his body fat % too low he will not be allowed to ride. When your body fat % gets too low, it's a huge health concern as your organs start breaking down.

Shane also mentions in his book trying hard to get some sort of insurance benefits for jockeys and their familys. Which is something that is definatly needed. Its been too long coming.

Another issue he brings up is jockey's signing away their rights. Yep they have to sign away their rights. Even their rights of self promotion. It's the same thing as say NASCAR.. In NASCAR you see the cars with all the different logo's of the various company's that sponsor them. This sponsor money is put to good use by each car's owner as it helps with medical benefits for the drivers and pit crew.

Jockeys tried getting sponsorships from various company's and the company logos were embroidered onto the sides and back of their Jock pants. Many tracks put a quick stop to that. Why is it that just about every other professional sport can have corporate sponsorship but not racing.

Some tracks I have ridden at wouldn't even let you self promote. In other words have your own name on the side of your jock pants. I was riding in the Ladies Jockey Challenge up at Hoosier Park one year and had on Jock pants with my last name embroidered on the side. After riding the first race in the challenge the stewards called down and told me I had to change into pants that didn't have my name on them.

Bless their hearts every other female jockey that was in the challenge with me said "Don't change we'll all put on our name pants and wear them!!!" I thanked the other lady's and simply said "This is not the place or time, but thank you for your support." So Shanes book covers a lot of this stuff too. He is just trying to make it better for all those jockey's out there and the ones still to come.

Barn Brats Horse Themed Glassware
www.cmmbarnbrats.com

SleepyFox
Feb. 26, 2008, 11:20 AM
As for the sponsorship thing... the difference in racing is that the owner - the person footing the bills - gets no say in the sponsorship and no profit from it. If I, as an owner, am paying someone to ride my horse in a race I should have some say in what logo my horse will be sporting. And, if my horse is carrying that logo, I should get a portion of the profits from it. Plus, it just looks tacky. Same thing with self promotion. This is the argument against it, and yes, I personally feel this way, too.

I agree that insurance needs to be addressed - for everyone in the horse business.