If you got injured on the job and couldn’t work would you still be able to support yourself? A group of Grande Prairie men and women want to make sure there’s a bit of money set aside for jockey’s who race at Evergreen Park in the event they get injured.
Former jockey Holly Crichton is helping to create the Grande Prairie Injured Jockeys Foundation because she says even a small injury can end a career.
“Riding racehorses is inherently risky to your physical health because there’s always the chance of injury. If you get an injury, it doesn’t matter how small, it’s almost impossible to ride a racehorse because if you have any type of weak spot on your body it throws you off your riding.”
In 1996, Crichton was paralyzed in a racing accident which ending her career. While she says she was able to manage since she was from Grande Prairie and had support here, most new jockeys these days don’t.
“A lot of these young riders now are from say Mexico and Jamacia, there’s very few that were raised in Canada and so they are trying to support young families and send money back home. It’s even more important because they don’t have that security blanket that I had because I was local.”
Crichton says there are other avenues for compensation but it can be a long wait to access them.
“There’s a jockey’s guild and I’m sure that there’s some sort of insurance fund through B circuit racing but that being said, it’s a really tough go when you are injured especially even waiting for those funds.”
The main source of funding for the new foundation will be an ongoing art sale under the grandstand at Evergreen Park. Art will be displayed every race day for people to bid on and some or all of the money will go directly to the new foundation.