California to implement exercise rider certification program

In what is believed to be the first program of its kind in the country, exercise runners in California will soon have to pass an “exercise runner certification” course to remain eligible for compensation program coverage. self-insured Post Time workers in the state racing industry.

The course consists of seven exercises for upper body, lower body and cardiovascular exercises, preceded by the British National Racing College Jockeys Fitness Test. Practice riders have until March 31 to pass the exam.

After that date, “Post Time members will only be able to employ Post Time certified exercise riders without putting their Post Time membership and workers’ compensation insurance at risk for not following the policy,” said a letter from Post Time to California coaches last week. .

The certification program is an attempt to further reduce workers’ compensation costs in the California racing industry, explained Michael Lyon, Post Time program administrator.

Exercise jumpers “represent 40% of our claims but 70% of our costs,” Lyon said

Further explaining the rationale, Lyons said there had been one “catastrophic” jumper injury every year for the past three years which had resulted in “police limit claims” – two exercise jumpers and one jockey (the latter being covered by a companion state insurance program called Finish Line).

Policy limit claims are those over $1 million, with the time of publication covering the first million, while an excess coverage provider funds the remaining costs.

The seven components of the certification exam include exercises such as wobble pad squats, in which the cyclist must balance for a period of time in the “push” position on two wobble pads. A more detailed picture of the seven requirements can be viewed here.

Although each component has a time constraint, California riders are not required to meet all of the standards set out in the British Jockey Examination to achieve a “passing” grade.

On the contrary, for the “board” component, they will have to occupy this position for at least 50% of the British jockey’s objective, which is equivalent to two minutes. In the other six components they will need to average 75% of the British jockey standard for a pass.

According to the letter distributed earlier this month, California cyclists will receive a 30-day membership to train at a 24-hour gym, courtesy of Post Time.

“Training for the test is not a requirement but is recommended to increase the rider’s chances of passing the test. If a rider fails the test on the first attempt, they will have until March 31, 2022 to take a new one. test and become certified,” the letter reads.

“It was going to be implemented before the pandemic, but then the pandemic hit and all the gyms closed,” Lyon told the NDT, explaining that Post Time had “verified” the test with exercise riders. “They said, ‘no problem.'”

This new requirement, however, comes at a time when trainers nationwide are struggling to find and retain qualified practice riders.

the NDT recently dug into the root of the problem, finding that the shortage of skilled riding talent is due to a combination of issues such as uncompromising immigration policies, fewer farms and training centers where young riders can be nurtured, as well as changing societal trends, where the average American is now three generations away from an agrarian lifestyle.

“Two of my best runners are old,” Mike Stidham, G1 World Cup-winning coach in Dubai, said at the time of this earlier survey. “They won’t do this forever, and when they leave I’ll have to find two more to replace them. It’s going to be hard.

Several Southern California-based trainers and riders spoke with NDT on the merits of their concerns about the new certification program, which they believe could eliminate a certain part of the sport cycling community in California.

Older riders seem to be the cornerstone of these concerns – riders whose overall fitness deficit they believe is made up for by experience in the saddle and learning to ride.

There are also varying levels of fitness within the colony of sport cyclists. Work riders, for example, generally achieve a fitness level more comparable to jockeys than exercise riders tasked with slower conditioning work, such as jogging and cantering.

Lyon acknowledged these factors, saying “our goal is not to reduce sport cyclists, but to reduce injuries that are part of their profession”.

Describing the initial implementation of the certification program as a “first round”, Lyon said that if the standards prove too onerous, the criteria could be changed once the results are analysed.

“There is always the possibility for the council to take the test results into consideration,” Lyon said, before repeating, “again, it is not our intention to get rid of exercise runners. Our intention is to make them work in a safer environment.

This latest development touches on the problem of the financial stability of the Post Time self-insurance group, which relies on three funding mechanisms: a daily booth fee of $5.10, a start-up fee of $162, and a share of betting revenue, which is equivalent to 0.5% of the money placed on exotic bets.

In May 2020, for example, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) announced that the California Thoroughbred Business League (CTBL) Board of Directors had “unanimously approved” a $2 million grant from its reserves to be paid to Post Time.

Earlier that year, Post Time proposed a controversial plan to retroactively charge trainers $1,233 per horse for the first quarter of 2020, to help cover financial shortfalls. This proposal was later dropped after stakeholders agreed to the creation of a new position of “security director”, to help establish and regulate uniform security standards and implement them across all facilities. California training and racing.

The new workers’ compensation safety standards have already had a “significant difference in claim frequency,” Lyon said. “Comparing the 24 month period that just ended to the previous 24 months, there was a reduction in claims of 30%,” he said.

Several important details of the exercise rider certification program are yet to be debated. It is unclear who will carry out the tests, for example. It is also currently unclear whether sports cyclists will need to retake the test after a certain period of time, and if so, how often.

“It’s our first crush,” Lyon said, “so there are going to be hiccups and bumps in the road, but we’ll deal with them as they come up. We just want to make the work of cyclists safer for them.

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