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16 November 2020

Hartpury announces partnership with national charity Racing Welfare

Hartpury has announced a new partnership with Racing Welfare to carry out industry-driven research into stable staff injuries and recommend strategies to support injured stable staff to the UK horseracing industry.

Emma Davies, Programme Manager for BSc Equestrian Sports Science at Hartpury University, is leading the project in collaboration with the national horseracing charity to investigate the psychological effects of injuries sustained while working in the UK racing industry.

The collaboration will seek to identify employment and psychosocial risk factors of injuries to staff stable working in racing, identify the psychological effects of injuries, and allow the design and implementation of preventative strategies, education and interventions to support staff.

Emma Davies said “The research will specifically focus on stud and stable staff, who often experience a range of injuries while working but who may not seek treatment or psychological support due to fear of judgement, stigma, and the need to appear physically and mentally tough within the industry. The study will look to provide evidence for the expansion of Racing’s Occupational Health Service, operated by Racing Welfare, as well as promote staff health and wellbeing, and retention within the industry.  Racing’s Occupational Health Service, which was launched nationally in 2018, is dedicated to reducing staff sickness and ill health, providing accident and injury support and rehabilitation, and ultimately helping people return to work.”

Simone Sear, Racing Welfare’s Director of Welfare, said:

“We are excited to be collaborating with Hartpury University to support this PhD study.  This new research picks up on a key recommendation from the earlier industry-wide mental health study conducted on Racing Welfare’s behalf by Liverpool John Moores University.  Currently there are gaps in evidence relating to the psychology of injury for stable and stud staff and so the research will make a significant contribution in this field. The findings will also help Racing Welfare continue to expand and improve our services to support the health and wellbeing of everyone who works in racing.

We are very much looking forward to working with Hartpury University and will being doing all that we can to support this research.”

This summer, Emma Davies carried out research for her PhD into whether staff working with the UK horseracing industry believed changes made to their working practices as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic had been effective in maintaining health and safety.

Emma’s new project with Racing Welfare is overseen by Director of Studies Professor Geoff Lovell (Hartpury University) and supervisory team Associate Professor Jane Williams (Hartpury University) and Dr Will McConn-Palfreyman, (Sport Psychologist at Sport Scotland Institute of Sport).

Professor Lovell said:

We are very excited to be part of this important partnership with Racing Welfare that will ultimately help to support stable staff health and wellbeing.

Equine research students at Hartpury – the world’s largest the world’s largest equine educational establishment – have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories to support their studies.

All research activity at Hartpury either directly or indirectly informs not only current industry practice but also the curriculum.

Research is fully integrated within teaching, with staff research active in the areas in which they teach and many dissertations embedded in larger scale research projects.