Really? Childhood obesity is so pervasive, that it threatens the ability of race horse owners to find viable jockey.
According to Deborah Butler, a British college tutor and stable lad (a person who looks after the horses in a racing stable), found that a dwindling amount of teenagers are light enough or eager to take on the manual work of looking after horses.
In her PhD thesis, Butler states the following regarding the horse racing industry: “This once ready supply of potential staff has been gradually contracting due to low levels of unemployment, the urbanization of society, the trend for young people to stay on in further education, the younger generation’s increasing body size and their unfamiliarity with the very physical nature of stable and stud work.”
Of course, her finding regarding body weight is only one part of the problem. It appears that things like “urbanization” make horse racing possibly an antiquated profession for future generations.
But there appears to be an apathy towards being fit. That, and an aversion to a good old-fashioned honest day’s work.
Butler, 49, wakes at 4:45 a.m. four days a week to work at the stables, which includes cleaning the stables, washing the horses, and riding them for three hours a day.
“It’s a long day, hard work and in all types of weather. That contributes to the difficulty. Many young people now have expectations of a different sort of lifestyle,” says Butler. “I think that’s partly why we are not getting young people in so much. They’re almost divorced from that type of work these days.”