Dreadful, bad-mannered, brutal and twisted at times, these words could be used to describe the offensive tweets that get directed at jockeys and trainers over social media platforms especially twitter on a day-to-day basis.
Twitter have publicized they would push a national policy which would increase regulation of social media use among licensed individuals. The policy would monitor and punish social media trolls but the terrible insults keep on pending, too much of a regular occurrence for my liking
Twitter, has made communicating jockeys and trainers easier than ever. In the space of 140 characters, an individual can vent their frustrations by directing offensive comments toward them and how their horses have been running or how they ruined the bet they were waiting on by a bad ride.
It’s a high-pressure environment where jockeys put their lives at risk every time those stall gates open. Confidence is paramount and without it, jockeys frequently fall into form slumps, lose rides and lose support.
When a jockey produces a bad ride, they know it. They don’t need to be abused by punters via social media. As with most professional sports, errors are most commonly made by younger athletes and the same happens in horse racing. It’s why there is such longevity in the senior riding ranks.
If a jockey is decent enough to make few enough mistakes, they can contentedly ride into their late 40s.But getting through their mid-20s is their principal struggle. As they come through the system as youngsters, they are gifted with weight allowances that make them attractive hires for owners. These same youngsters are also the most at threat on social media. They make easy targets due to their lower reputations and they are more active on social media than the veterans who were riding horses before the social media boom.
Punters seem most frustrated when a short-priced favourite gets beaten but seem to ignore the fact that jockeys have absolutely no control over their mount’s odds.
Market prices are dictated by the punters, so when an odds-on favourite gets beaten, the punters did it to themselves. Rarely do we see venting when a long shot bolts. In racing, jockeys are required to make split-second decisions. When they lack confidence, they make mistakes. Everyone does.
Rather than voicing rage towards jockeys, punters should be looking at themselves. In this escapade, you should never be betting with anything you’re not prepared to lose, and if a punter’s reaction is so heated that it warrants abusing a jockey or trainer they should not be betting full stop.
This article is just food for thought on the issue of targeted harassment of jockeys and trainers.