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7 January 2021

Study will help develop injury prevention strategies for horseracing staff

Hartpury University is undertaking new research investigating occupational injuries to stud and racing staff working within UK horseracing, with the aim of developing targeted injury prevention and support initiatives to improve employee welfare.

Emma Davies, Programme Manager for the BSc Equestrian Sports Science at Hartpury University, has joined Professor Geoff Lovell (Hartpury University), Dr Jane Williams (Hartpury University), Dr Will McConn-Palfreyman (Sport Psychologist at Sport Scotland Institute of Sport) and Simone Sear, Director of Welfare, Racing Welfare, in carrying out the study.

The research team is inviting stud and racing staff to provide feedback via a short online survey launched today (7th January), to help establish significant risk factors for injury linked to occupational, situational and personal factors, and determine whether current coping strategies used by staff are effective in managing an injury.

It follows Hartpury’s announcement in October that it was working closely with national horseracing charity Racing Welfare to carry out industry-driven research into racing staff injuries and recommend strategies to support injured racing staff to the UK horseracing industry.

Emma Davies said: “We are looking for stud and racing staff who have been working in racing for at least a year, and in a role directly in contact with horses. We are inviting staff to complete a short survey, which should take no more than 10 minutes with no personal data collected, that asks a range of questions related to their experiences with injury while working within the industry.”

With this information, we will be able to develop injury prevention strategies and help Racing Welfare continue to expand and improve services to support the health and wellbeing of everyone who works in racing.

The research will specifically focus on stud and racing staff, who often experience a range of injuries in the course of their employment but who may not seek treatment or psychological support due to fear of judgement, stigma, and the need to appear physically and mentally tough.

The research picks up on key recommendations from the earlier industry-wide mental health study conducted on Racing Welfare’s behalf by Liverpool John Moores University.

Equine research students at Hartpury 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.