William Sandiver 2 interviewed on jockeys

1805, 28th June: ‘The opinions of the late W. Sandiver, the sur-geon of Newmarket on the training of Jockies’. Reference: Whyte JC. History of The British Turf, from the earliest period to the present day; Vol II. London: Henry Colburn; 1840, pg 600-602.

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Note: the formatting below is slightly altered for ease of reading (including removing some hypens that were breaking words at the end of lines, unlike in the reference above). Also, as with any other such information on this website, the below is recorded for historical interest only, not as medical advice!

The following information on this subject, communicated to Sir John Sinclair, in 1805, who was at great pains and cost to collect, by every possible means, the best information respecting the training and reducing of jockies, will be read with interest, from the fact of it’s having been obtained from the late Mr. Wm. Sandevir [sic – and other examples below], an eminent surgeon, of Newmarket, and who had paid the greatest attention to the subject for many years.

Q.- How long the training of jockies generally continues [sic]?
A.- With those in high repute as riders, in a greater or less degree, from about three weeks before Easter to the end of October; but a week or ten days are quite sufficient for a rider to reduce himself from the weight he is naturally of, to some-times a stone and a half below it.

Q.- What food do they live on, both solid and liquid, and what quantities are allowed them of each?
A.- For breakfast a small piece of bread and butter, with tea in moderation. Dinner is taken in a very sparing way; a very small piece of pudding, and less meat; and when fish is to be obtained, neither one or the other are allowed [presumably this should read ‘either’ i.e. instead of the meat?]; wine and water is their usual beverage, in the proportion of one part wine to two of water. Tea in the afternoon, with little or no bread and butter; and no supper.

Q.- What exercise do they get, and what hours of rest?
A.- After breakfast, having sufficiently loaded themselves with clothes, that is, five or six waistcoats, two coats, and as many pair of breeches, a severe walk is taken, or from ten to fifteen or sixteen miles. After their return home, dry clothes are substituted for those that are made very wet and uncomfortable by sweat, and if much fatigued, some of them will lie down for an hour before dinner; after which no severe exercise is taken, but the remaining part of the day is spent in the way that may be most agreeable to themselves. They generally go to bed by nine o’clock, and continue there till six or seven the next morning.

Q.- Are they purged? and what purgatives or other medicines are given to them?
A.- Some of them that do not like excessive walking, have recourse to purgative medicines. Two ounces of Glauber salts is the usual dose, and it is very seldom that any other medicine is had recourse to.

Q.- Would Mr. Sandevir recommend a similar process to reduce corpulence in other people, whether male or female?
A.- Mr. Sandevir would certainly recommend a similar process to reduce corpulency in either sex, as from experience, he perceives that the constitution does not appear to be injured by it. But he is apprehensive that hardly any person could be prevailed upon to submit to such a severe discipline, that had not been inured to it from his infancy. John Arnold, when rider to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, was desired to reduce himself as much as he possibly could, to enable him to ride some favourite horse, without his carrying more weight than was agreed upon; in consequence of which he abstained from animal, and even farinaceous food, for eight succeeding days, and the only substitute was now and then a piece of apple; he was not injured by it at the time, and is now in good health. Added to which, Dennis Fitzpatrick, a person at this time continually employed as a rider, declares that he is less fatigued by riding, and has more strength to contend with a determined horse, in a severe race, when moderately reduced, than when allowed to live as he pleased, although he never weighs more than nine stone, and frequently has reduced himself to 7st. 7lb.”’