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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Equicizer for Jockeys

If you were reading along with us for Kayla’s “How the Equicizer Was Born” installments, you remember that Wooden Horse Corporation is the result of one jockey’s dream to get back to the races. The Equicizer was originally created by Frank Lovato, Jr. with the purpose of getting fit enough to race again as his body healed from a life-threatening injury sustained on the racetrack. It is an ideal tool for jockeys and exercise riders to learn on, use to develop skills and balance, and to get to and maintain the level of fitness required to be a professional athlete.

Matching Strides

On the Equicizer, an aspiring jockey or exercise rider can learn many of the skills they need to know for racing in a safe, controlled environment before trying them out on a Thoroughbred traveling at 40mph. For riders recovering from injuries, the Equicizer can be used long before a doctor will give clearance to ride a real horse. It helps to build strength back up while improving flexibility, core strength, and skills. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than most of the things you will find in a typical physical therapy room.

Another one of the many ways the Equiczer can be beneficial to jockeys and exercise riders is that it can be ridden for an extended period of time without ever tiring. There are Equicizers out there that have been ridden for long, hard hours every day for 20 years on end without tiring! You can only spend so much time in a day galloping real horses to develop your muscles and skills. With the Equicizer, you can ride before sunup, during the day, before bed, or even in the middle of the night! You can practice riding races in the safety of your home or training center no matter the weather, ground conditions, or whether or not there is a even a horse available. The Equicizer allows students and riders to stay in peak shape year round because they are never limited by outside factors beyond their own will power.

Jockey Josh Molitor, 19, trains on an Equicizer, which moves like a horse and helps jockeys perfect their style. Riding for even a minute is hard work, he said.
Jockey Josh Molitor at Arlington Park in 2011

Because the creator of the Equicizer was a professional jockey for 25 years, you could say he and the company are well acquainted with the needs of jockeys as far as training and exercise. Frankie created a wooden mechanical horse to assist in his own rehab and the horse became became so much more in the racing world (and the rest of the equestrian world). You can find Equicizers in hundreds of jockey rooms, training centers, and tracks around the world including at Churchill Downs and the North American Racing Academy in Kentucky.

Mario Guitierrez, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, warming up on the Equicizer in 2012.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, a Champion Jockey in Canada and Eclipse Award-winning apprentice once said of the Equicizer, “This is probably the most important tool that a young, developing rider should have in their home. Not only does it mimic the horse’s action so realistically, it can be ridden all afternoon and the Equicizer never gets tired!” In 2013, Gary Stevens warmed up prior to his win aboard Oxbow. The Equicizer’s reputation in the racing community speaks for itself!

Gary Stevens

By Amanda Chicotel

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