Horse riding too risky for Australia’s Olympic swimmers

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Australian Olympic swimmer Emily Seebohm and one of her horses, Platinum.
Australian Olympic swimmer Emily Seebohm and one of her horses, Platinum.

Equine therapy won’t be on the agenda for Australia’s Olympic swimmers, after they were told to avoid “risky activities” in the run-up to Rio.

With fewer than 100 days to go to Rio, Australia’s head swimming coach Jacco Verhaeren said all swimmers had been urged to “cease any sport that could lead to injury”, with surfing, horse riding and even beach football on the no-go list.

But some of the best medal hopes had a lucky escape only last week, after being flown by Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart to Uluru for an exclusive ‘dinner under the stars’ gathering. On landing to refuel, the private jet’s front tyre blew out at the end of the runway.

Verhaeren told News.com.au that it was a reminder that anything can happen at any time and athletes needed to be aware to reduce risk of injury in their lives between now and the Olympics.

He said most injuries usually don’t happen in the pool. “We definitely want to minimise risk in your daily life without becoming paranoid.”

Last year swimmer Emily Seebohm dislocated her knee in the lead up to the world titles while riding her horse, an injury that Verhaeren described as “unfortunate and I would say avoidable injuries”.

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