# Transgender athletes

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22 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

No, I do not have a link. However, if you knew me even a little you would know that I have references.

22 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Any analysis ignoring the advantage of males power to weight ratio are obviously flawed from the start,

No, only if the ratio actually impact the outcome we are investigating. Otherwise you are biasing the analysis by assuming an advantage (after all this is the very question we want to establish in the first place). Especially if other factors, like, say the horse may be more important factors. So what you need to do before assuming that the advantage plays a role, you'll have to look whether the effect is present in the first place and also whether other, potentially more influential confounding factors are present.

In other words, you are doing the exact mistake that many are criticizing. Without first establishing whether your factor has an actual effect you just assume it in all and demand that it has to be incorporated into the research design. And again, this is would be a classic example of bias in the study design. Rather, you would need to first figure out what factors influence race horse performance and then look whether gender is among those and how strong it really is, relative to the system we created around this assumption. For example if we have a huge gender difference, just looking at number of wins really only tells us about how many of each gender are participating, and not that whether is a physiological effect. If experience is a huge contributor and for whatever reason one gender does not stick around for the sport, it does not mean that there is a physiological reason either, and so on.

So the challenge here is of course that a perfect data set would have exactly the same race conditions (including same horses) just with the gender swapped (and having an otherwise comparable cohort) in exactly the same races . Since there is not such a data set, one way to one needs to adjust external variables (i.e. physiology independent parameters) that may affect for example the likelihood of receiving higher rated mount (or being able to race at all).

When adjusting for these factors the conclusion was that

Quote

This paper examines the relative performance and access to mounts of female jockeys in American horseracing, the only major professional sport where female and male athletes directly compete on a regular basis. We modeled the determinants of the probability for a jockey finishing a race “in-the-money”—placing first, second, or third, and the determinants for receiving mounts. Among other findings, the results indicated that the probability for female jockeys finishing a race in the money was not significantly different from male jockeys, ceteris paribus, yet female jockeys continue to receive fewer mounts after controlling for other relevant, observable factors.

Now there are other papers out there looking at the performance of the horse and the impact of the jockey. After all, the horse does the running. And here a fairly recent study suggest that the gender does of the rider does not seem to impact horse performance. In the same paper they also just calculated winning ratios based on UK and Australian data and here they found that in the UK the winning-rate (again, adjusted for the fact that fewer women are competing) to be not significantly different between men and women. In Australia there was a difference but which vanished if one considers the money spots (i.e. top three positions) in the races.

So if the numbers do not immediately show a strong gender-based difference in outcome if one adjusts for the system (in contrast to sprinting, for example) why would one start off with the assumption of a difference and then try to frame the study from a flawed position?

And this exactly is the issue with many of these assumptions. We know there are gender differences, but then we immediately jump to the conclusion they must be pervasive in everything we are looking for. And if we look with these blinders on, unsurprisingly we miss other aspects.

This is one of the big reasons why there have been so many studies claiming to show that for some reasons folks with darker skin colour are less intellectual or that in general we only find the effects we are looking for (see the replication crisis) or why we have pervasive myths in the medical field. I.e. we first need to establish that there is an effect, then eliminate potential sources until we find the determining factors. In other words, we need to apply the scientific method also for those questions and should not start with a strong preconceptions.

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9 hours ago, CharonY said:

However, systematic analyses indicate that there a no significant advantages of men over women and the over-representation of men are driven by these biases.

How can you make such a biased claim, not back it up, and then claim you depend on scientific method?

2 hours ago, CharonY said:

This is one of the big reasons why there have been so many studies claiming to show that for some reasons folks with darker skin colour are less intellectual...

Nice...

If anyone doesn't assume a gender bias and instead see an obvious physical requirement they must be racist as well...

Obviously I won't ask for a link or "references" for such crap.

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Posted (edited)

@CY

Maybe, since you obviously won't cite anything suggesting the physical requirements of a jockey aren't demanding, you can brief us on how you might use scientific method to prove that power to weight ratio of a jockey is an insignificant or minor concern? Or perhaps you don't think it needs to be considered because you believe, or would like to believe, there is no difference between men and women in that regard? Or hasn't been proven?

Biological women may not be all equal, but they deserve their own categories in sports, especially at elite levels. There is nothing progressive about depriving them of that.

Remember the US women's soccer team demanding equal pay? They wouldn't be making a dime if the only category was "open".

21 hours ago, StringJunky said:

AFAIK, the evidence seems to suggest that trans-women are not as strong/fast as cis-men. The treatment reduces it. They are only allowed the same testosterone levels, amongst other things, as is normal for cis-women. I've only seen one trans-person win in a major event, so far.  If trans-women were winning across the board, I think discussions would be had and steps would be taken.

While there had been some requirement for trans women at elite levels to reduce testosterone to levels in the female range, this is not true at all for high school athletes (nor should it be) and even at elite levels the minimum targets are well above. There has been an attempt to strike a balance been fairness for competition and the health of trans athletes.

Edited by J.C.MacSwell
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

How can you make such a biased claim, not back it up, and then claim you depend on scientific method?

Nice...

If anyone doesn't assume a gender bias and instead see an obvious physical requirement they must be racist as well...

Obviously I won't ask for a link or "references" for such crap.

Comments like CharonY’s are ridiculous and grotesque, borderline same level of ridiculousness that comes from the extreme right entourage. But the fact that this political brainwash dressed in science comes from a bilogy PhD is just plain scary.

Edited by koti
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4 minutes ago, koti said:

Comments like CharonY’s are ridiculous and grotesque, borderline same level of ridiculousness that comes from the extreme right entourage. But the fact that this political brainwash dressed in science comes from a bilogy PhD is just plain scary.

+1. Kind of harshly stated...but unfortunately accurate.

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15 minutes ago, koti said:

Comments like CharonY’s are ridiculous and grotesque, borderline same level of ridiculousness that comes from the extreme right entourage. But the fact that this political brainwash dressed in science comes from a bilogy PhD is just plain scary.

If you can counter the biological claims you are free to do so.

12 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

+1. Kind of harshly stated...but unfortunately accurate.

No, it's crap. It lack the support you were demanding of CharonY

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4 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

@CY

Maybe, since you obviously won't cite anything suggesting the physical requirements of a jockey aren't demanding, you can brief us on how you might use scientific method to prove that power to weight ratio of a jockey is an insignificant or minor concern? Or perhaps you don't think it needs to be considered because you believe, or would like to believe, there is no difference between men and women in that regard? Or hasn't been proven?

Biological women may not be all equal, but they deserve their own categories in sports, especially at elite levels. There is nothing progressive about depriving them of that.

Remember the US women's soccer team demanding equal pay? They wouldn't be making a dime if the only category was "open".

While there had been some requirement for trans women at elite levels to reduce testosterone to levels in the female range, this is not true at all for high school athletes (nor should it be) and even at elite levels the minimum targets are well above. There has been an attempt to strike a balance been fairness for competition and the health of trans athletes.

Huh? Did you read the papers? They showed that gender did not influence performance in jockeys. If men had a similar  benefit as in running for example, this clearly should show, wouldn't it? So strangely men running faster is evidence for a physiological advantage, which I agree with. But now lack of a performance benefit is suddenly no evidence.  If that is not a biased way to approach data I don’t know what is. I also note that you counter analyses of data with merely your opinion. If you have data demonstrating how your power ratio effect improves jockey performance you are free to show it.

3 hours ago, koti said:

Comments like CharonY’s are ridiculous and grotesque, borderline same level of ridiculousness that comes from the extreme right entourage. But the fact that this political brainwash dressed in science comes from a bilogy PhD is just plain scary.

Yes following data is super scary.

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I don't suppose JCMacSwell has ever met a racehorse or jockey. He just knows.

12 hours ago, Peterkin said:

What, precisely, is the male jockey going to do with his power advantage? How, precisely, is it used to win races?

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27 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

I don't suppose JCMacSwell has ever met a racehorse or jockey. He just knows.

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1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

I don't suppose JCMacSwell has ever met a racehorse or jockey. He just knows.

Fundamentally he starts of with an assumption (weight/power is important for jockey performance) and arrives at the conclusion that therefore male jockeys must have an advantage, without first establishing whether the premise is true.

The issue with the approach is quite apparent. I could for example stipulate that having testicles clearly put riders at an disadvantage as certain postures and situations can result in pain. In a sport where every advantage counts clearly this is an issue. Therefore, any study that does not take testicular discomfort into consideration is clearly flawed. I also like that looking at extreme marathon runners we now suddenly are only allowed to look at the single top performers when we talk about gender differences, as clearly only the guy on the top is really representative of male physiology (the others obviously somehow don't count). It baffles me that the issue with that is not immediately evident. I wonder if we used that approach to any other question that does not involve gender would be equally accepted as fact.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, CharonY said:

I could for example stipulate that having testicles clearly put riders at an disadvantage as certain postures and situations can result in pain.

I mentioned two. The other is a better padded and distributed seat. These are very minor advantages, partly because of protective gear but mostly because, as i also mentioned, jockeys spend the majority of a race not sitting on the horse. https://www.churchilldowns.com/

Might count for more in cross country. But there, too, the sport being traditional to the cavalry, systemic bias kept women out for a long time. https://eventingnation.com/iwd2020-eight-fearless-women-who-changed-the-face-of-eventing/

When an animal does the actual work, the physique of the handler, trainer and rider matter far less than their rapport with the animal. If one of those those little robots communicates more effectively with the camel than a camleer does, it will win more races. (They used monkeys at one time.)

Edited by Peterkin
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8 hours ago, CharonY said:

Huh? Did you read the papers? They showed that gender did not influence performance in jockeys. If men had a similar  benefit as in running for example, this clearly should show, wouldn't it? So strangely men running faster is evidence for a physiological advantage, which I agree with. But now lack of a performance benefit is suddenly no evidence.  If that is not a biased way to approach data I don’t know what is. I also note that you counter analyses of data with merely your opinion. If you have data demonstrating how your power ratio effect improves jockey performance you are free to show it.

Yes following data is super scary.

I just clicked the links now. I did not see them when you first posted, did you add them afterward?

The first, for me at least, contains only the title and abstract. No paper or data.

The second not even a title available.

So I can't comment on any data. I highly suspect something is lacking and quite possibly agenda driven, but despite that I can keep an open mind.

Can you provide the papers and data?

From the abstract I could read:

Among other findings, the results indicated that the probability for female jockeys finishing a race in the money was not significantly different from male jockeys, ceteris paribus, yet female jockeys continue to receive fewer mounts after controlling for other relevant, observable factors.

So how did they control ceteris paribus, all things otherwise equal? What assumptions were made?

It seems to indicate no experiments were done, and the data massaged and analyzed. Again, what assumptions were they using? If everything was done reasonably well, in terms of scientific method they seem to have enough to support a hypotheses...not a conclusion.

But no paper, and no data to ascertain that.

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29 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I just clicked the links now. I did not see them when you first posted, did you add them afterward?

Nope, there were in the post, including the quote. However, while the urls is give, the second link actually seems broken.

I am willing to explain the methodology in those papers, provided you are willing to read. If it is going to be a handwaving session again I am honestly not inclined to waste more time. The reason is that even without actually reading the methodology you are already assuming an faulty methodology, whereas you are also assuming to be right without having any data to support your assertion. I.e. you seem to demand work from others which you yourself are unwilling to provide. I.e. I see no value to continue unless you are willing to enter a discussion in good faith. Meanwhile here is the abstract to the second paper.

Quote

Studies assessing the effect of the rider’s sex on racehorse performance and physiology during training have not been reported, mostly due to the paucity of available data for female participants within the sport. Here, using a validated system (the ‘Equimetre’™) that records all parameters simultaneously, we objectively report the effect of rider’s sex on racehorse cardiovascular (heart rate, heart rate recovery) and biomechanical parameters (stride length and frequency) at various exercise intensities (slow canter to hard gallop). 530 Thoroughbreds, varying in age (2-7 years old) and sex (including geldings), from one racing yard in Australia, completed a total of 3,568 exercise sessions, monitored by a single trainer, on varying track surfaces (sand, turf, or fibre). 103 different work riders (male, n=66; female, n=37) of which n=43 were current or past registered professional jockeys, were used. Data were analysed using analysis of variation (ANOVA) or mixed-effect models, as appropriate. Sex of the rider did not influence racehorse speed (P=0.06) nor stride length (P=0.42) at any training intensity. Heart rate and peak heart rate increased with training intensity (P<.001), with no difference according to sex of rider (P=0.73). Heart rate recovery after exercise appeared influenced by rider sex, but only when the usual training intensity on each surface was reversed, suggesting an interaction between racehorse anticipation of exercise and rider sex. Male jockeys had slightly higher strike rate in races in Australia, but not the UK. This study demonstrates no overt effect of rider sex on racehorse performance and physiology.

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Main problem is the fact that sports are separated by sex. Take out the transgender athletes and you still have a sexist system.

Though, I would have to say, eliminating the barriers does not exactly mean women will go into more diverse sports. Chances are, women excel and are interested in different things than men. Goes with many things and not just sports (like jobs).

Anyway, yeah- sports should be based on capacity and not sex. There's a reason we have the Paralympics, right?

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There is a lot of \$ tied up in professional sport. It tends to influence how sporting competitions are conducted. If one is running a business for profit, one must, at all times, be mindful of the consumer. Fair play is pretty low on the list of sports consumer demand.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, CharonY said:

Nope, there were in the post, including the quote. However, while the urls is give, the second link actually seems broken.

I am willing to explain the methodology in those papers, provided you are willing to read. If it is going to be a handwaving session again I am honestly not inclined to waste more time. The reason is that even without actually reading the methodology you are already assuming an faulty methodology, whereas you are also assuming to be right without having any data to support your assertion. I.e. you seem to demand work from others which you yourself are unwilling to provide. I.e. I see no value to continue unless you are willing to enter a discussion in good faith. Meanwhile here is the abstract to the second paper.

Okay thanks. That's not enough to convince me you are right, but enough for me to apologize for a couple of the comments to the degree they were personal. I apologize for that.

I googled a couple of lines from that second abstract, and got only slightly more to look at. It's very recent and claims to be the first study of it's kind with actual testing of male vs female jockeys in a scientific manner. I would question the makeup of the 103 rider group of 66 male and 37 female riders, the design of the testing/experiments and how the data is reflected in the conclusions. Just 43 of them were past or present licensed professional jockeys with no indication of further breakdown, and makes no mention of the weights of the riders, or ages of the riders, fitness levels of the riders, though of course that could be included behind the paywall. Where much of the testing included various speeds, often at below racing speed, and effects on the horses physiology, it seems more like baseline testing to form a hypothesis than reach a conclusion.

Is this one recent study, that claims to be the first of it's kind, the basis of your claim?

Am I being overly skeptical?

Edited by J.C.MacSwell
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5 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Am I being overly skeptical?

You do not know the sport.

It's not a question of over or under; it's simply lack of basic knowledge. You do not have a foundation for your skepticism.

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• 2 weeks later...
On 4/28/2022 at 11:33 PM, J.C.MacSwell said:

Okay thanks. That's not enough to convince me you are right, but enough for me to apologize for a couple of the comments to the degree they were personal. I apologize for that.

I googled a couple of lines from that second abstract, and got only slightly more to look at. It's very recent and claims to be the first study of it's kind with actual testing of male vs female jockeys in a scientific manner. I would question the makeup of the 103 rider group of 66 male and 37 female riders, the design of the testing/experiments and how the data is reflected in the conclusions. Just 43 of them were past or present licensed professional jockeys with no indication of further breakdown, and makes no mention of the weights of the riders, or ages of the riders, fitness levels of the riders, though of course that could be included behind the paywall. Where much of the testing included various speeds, often at below racing speed, and effects on the horses physiology, it seems more like baseline testing to form a hypothesis than reach a conclusion.

Is this one recent study, that claims to be the first of it's kind, the basis of your claim?

Am I being overly skeptical?

I think you are, as I do not think that many of the criticism would affect the study design much. So to step back a bit, the question is whether rider physiology significantly affects horse performance. Specifically, physiological differences that are tied to sex would somehow improve, or at lest change the performance of the horse. The best study design, as mentioned, would be to have a set of horses ridden by male as well female riders, as obviously the horse itself will have a huge impact on the outcome. The data is actually slightly biased towards men, as among the registered jockeys only 8 were female and 35 were male- there is no paywall). So if anything, one could argue that there are more race-experienced men in the test group compared to the women. The other parameters of the riders that you mentioned should only have limited impact overall, as you have have strongly suggested that the effects would be sex-based. I.e. if a woman would be able to outcompete a man by just being somewhat more experienced or fitter, then it would imply that training and experience would be a stronger factor than sex.

We can see it by certain athletic performance, such as running, where large groups of men outperform women and it is not necessary to look at the extremes (where a small group of men outperforms all women, but also almost all other men) to find significant differences.

The biggest knock at the study is probably that it has not been peer-reviewed yet, but the basic study design makes sense to me. They also throw in a rather rough comparison between men and women in horse races which is a bit odd for the manuscript, but I suppose that might need a bit more cleaning up when they submit it for review (if it isn't submitted already).

Quote

Race results: There were far more registered male professional jockeys than female in both UK and Australia. Overall, in Australia, male jockeys had a small, but significantly greater winning strike-rate (number of wins per total number of rides, in percentage) compared to female jockeys (female, 9.9 ± 0.5%; male, 11.0 ± 0.2%: F-prob, 0.03), predominantly due to a greater winning-rate in Australia (female, 7.9 ± 0.8 vs. male, 10.4 ± 0.4%) compared to the UK (female, 10.7 ± 0.7 vs. male, 11.3 ± 0.2%). In Australia, there was no difference between male and female jockeys achieving a top three ‘podium’ position (female, 25 (10 – 35) %; male, 27 (18 – 35) %, Mann-Whitney U test, P=0.20).

But yes, the study is the only one to my knowledge that looks at actual physiological (rather than race) outcomes and the impact of the rider on it. It follows somewhat the controlled design that I mentioned earlier, only that this was a retrospective study. Studies looking at performance by gender are quite a bit older but focus on races, where the comparatively low number of female jockeys can make things difficult.

One could flip that on its head, of course and try to find evidence that being a man actually increases horse performance, but the data is even scarcer for that. I seem to recall also that for a given weight male jockeys seem to unhealthier than their female counterpart (due to more dietary restrictions, I believe) but I cannot recall the details anymore.

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There may be temperamental and sociological differences that don't show up in the study, because there are no scientific mertics available. Horses are alive.  They're finely tuned to the emotional state of another creature, especially their partner in a contest. If you're looking for a sport where the human isn't required to provide the motive-power, race car driving would be a lot easier to test.

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43 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

There may be temperamental and sociological differences that don't show up in the study, because there are no scientific mertics available. Horses are alive.  They're finely tuned to the emotional state of another creature, especially their partner in a contest. If you're looking for a sport where the human isn't required to provide the motive-power, race car driving would be a lot easier to test.

The kick-off for this part of the discussion is actually that despite the fact that it is difficult to assess (in either direction), male superiority in performance is assumed. However data to this effect are muddy at best (in contrast to other athletic performances, for example). I.e. despite a dearth of data, assumptions are being made with real-life impact.

Some seem to have taken it as a crusade to establish either male or female superiority, but I see it more of an exercise to figure out where data is actually available to establish a significant impact of sex on performance where there isn't. I.e. how closely do existing narratives actually follow facts (and do we actually know the uncertainty?).

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, CharonY said:

Some seem to have taken it as a crusade to establish either male or female superiority, but I see it more of an exercise to figure out where data is actually available to establish a significant impact of sex on performance where there isn't. I.e. how closely do existing narratives actually follow facts (and do we actually know the uncertainty?).

Okay. So leave the horses out of it; they'll only muddy up the results even more.

The race is not between jockeys; it's between horses. A rider can do lots of things to a horse: bruise him with spurs, hit him with a whip, wreck his mouth, break his spirit, turn him against humans altogether - or persuade him to try his hardest - what the rider cannot do is make a horse run faster than he can run.

Winning is a complicated matter, but it doesn't ultimately boil down to the jockey's physical anything: good riding is about rapport, timing, spatial acuity, understanding of the track conditions as they relate to the mount's ability and temperament - lots of unmeasurable talents and qualities. It's too complicated for scientific research: all you get are statistics, and those are already muddied up with long-standing prejudice and subjective assumptions.

Horse-racing is simply the the wrong sport for assessment or comparison of human abilities.

Edited by Peterkin
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Posted (edited)

The only thing I can think that might make a difference is whether horses respond better to commands, on average, to a deep voice or higher-pitched voice when being urged in a competitive situation. All else being equal.

Edited by StringJunky
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8 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Okay. So leave the horses out of it; they'll only muddy up the results even more.

The race is not between jockeys; it's between horses. A rider can do lots of things to a horse: bruise him with spurs, hit him with a whip, wreck his mouth, break his spirit, turn him against humans altogether - or persuade him to try his hardest - what the rider cannot do is make a horse run faster than he can run.

Winning is a complicated matter, but it doesn't ultimately boil down to the jockey's physical anything: good riding is about rapport, timing, spatial acuity, understanding of the track conditions as they relate to the mount's ability and temperament - lots of unmeasurable talents and qualities. It's too complicated for scientific research: all you get are statistics, and those are already muddied up with long-standing prejudice and subjective assumptions.

Horse-racing is simply the the wrong sport for assessment or comparison of human abilities.

I think much depends on what you mean by this. Are you claiming the horses potential cannot be increased by the burden of having a rider? Or are you claiming a rider can't physically reduce that burden by optimal physical effort? (the optimal part being based on skill and/or mental aspects and the physical effort part based on physical fitness advantage)

10 hours ago, CharonY said:

I think you are, as I do not think that many of the criticism would affect the study design much.

Right. And I don't believe you are skeptical enough, especially to reach the conclusion you did.

10 hours ago, CharonY said:

The data is actually slightly biased towards men, as among the registered jockeys only 8 were female and 35 were male- there is no paywall). to unhealthier than their female counterpart (due to more dietary restrictions, I believe) but I cannot recall the details anymore.

It mentioned 43 past and present licensed jockeys. What were their ages and fitness levels? What were their weights during the tests? How many of the formerly licensed jockeys had health issues that might affect the results? How many were at race weight? How were the differences all accounted for?

10 hours ago, CharonY said:

But yes, the study is the only one to my knowledge that looks at actual physiological (rather than race) outcomes and the impact of the rider on it.

Shouldn't that alone raise your skepticism? This study is early on the subject and limited, covering aspects that don't even pertain to top racing speeds, and even the best scientific studies are susceptible to bias.

If, as you suspect, the data was actually slightly biased toward men, do you think they made no attempt to account for that? Or if they did...how reasonably did they do so?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

think much depends on what you mean by this. Are you claiming the horses potential cannot be increased by the burden of having a rider? (the optimal part being based on skill and/or mental aspects and the physical effort part based on physical fitness advantage)

I mean very simply: a horse (just like a car or a man) has a maximum speed, faster than which he cannot run and a maximum height and length that she can jump,beyond which she cannot jump - even when unencumbered by bit, saddle and with rider.

Quote

Or are you claiming a rider can't physically reduce that burden by optimal physical effort?

Try running with a gag in your mouth and  a monkey on your back, see if it enhances your performance. And, no, a rider cannot reduce his or her own weight by physical effort: as previously stated, the weight limits are set by the Racing Commission; if a jockey is underweight, it's made up by lead weights.

If a rider tries to force them to exceed their capacity, the horse will be injured or killed - and very possibly, the rider, as well.

Skill and mental acuity are not sex-determined characteristics. Neither is depth of vision, anticipation of other rider's moves, pacing, positioning out of the gate, judgement of whether to move on the inside or outside, when to take the horse in hand, when to give him his head, how long to hold back and when to start the final sprint.

If you want something more scientific than a statistical comparison of wins, go to a sport that lends itself to more objective measurement.

Edited by Peterkin
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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think much depends on what you mean by this. Are you claiming the horses potential cannot be increased by the burden of having a rider? Or are you claiming a rider can't physically reduce that burden by optimal physical effort? (the optimal part being based on skill and/or mental aspects and the physical effort part based on physical fitness advantage)

Is that a male horse or a female horse or a horse that's unsure?

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