By Julieanne Horsman
As one half of the famous Cummings Racing partnership, young trainer Edward Cummings is all too familiar with the dangers of horse racing. An average of 200 jockeys are injured in falls annually – that’s one third of all registered jockeys Australia-wide.
“Every time a jockey or trackwork rider is legged aboard a horse there are inherent risks,” Edward said. “The risk of spinal cord injury is exacerbated not only by the speed at which the rider is travelling but also because of the height from which they fall.”
Less than a month ago star Sydney jockey Blake Shinn suffered fractures to his C1 and C3 vertebra when he fell from a horse during a barrier trial at Royal Randwick. Edward and his co-trainer father Anthony Cummings also had horses in the trial and, like everyone trackside and watching on television, were deeply concerned for Blake’s welfare.
“We were told early on he was moving which was obviously a relief, but it’s the ongoing effects of a fall like that that make you worry for a rider,” Edward said. “I contacted Blake that evening and thankfully he was able to respond.”
Despite being sidelined for three to six months, missing out on the lucrative Spring Carnival, Blake will ride again. Others aren’t so lucky.
Having witnessed the life-changing effects a spinal cord injury can have on a person, Edward gladly accepted the invitation to be an Ambassador for SpinalCure Australia.
“In this industry a cure for spinal injuries would provide peace of mind to every participant,” Cummings said. “I’m humbled and excited to be involved and will be doing all I can to support and promote the vital work of SpinalCure Australia .”
To celebrate his new role, Edward is hosting an exclusive breakfast at Leilani Lodge in Sydney on Sunday, 30th September. Guests will be able to meet leading jockeys and sportspeople, explore the stables and see the equine stars of the racing industry. Anyone can provide their details on SpinalCure Australia’s facebook page to go into the draw to win a double pass. The competition closes at midnight this Friday, 14th September.
“I encourage anyone who enjoys racing to follow SpinalCure Australia on social media and support the charity in any way you can. The people we hire and book to ride our horses have an incredibly important job and we need to be behind them every step of the way.”