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Horse and jockey: two parts of a racing machine

Cheltenham Festival 2015
Alone they are nothing. Together, they can be something to which nothing else in sport can compare. Two discrete parts of the same high-speed machine; one brute power, the other the intellect.
 
This is jockey and mount, man and animal, a relationship like no other.
 
How is that unique bond formed and maintained? How to communicate in the thundering melee? And why are both changed forever by what they experience as one?
 
At Cheltenham this week and Aintree next month, scores of jockeys will ride hundreds of horses. It might seem like the most pragmatic and transient of partnerships. Not to those making them succeed.
 
 "As a horse and jockey you really are a team. There are very few environments in the world where a human can come together with an animal and become something so much greater than themselves. When it works, it's truly special."
 
"It's much more than a working relationship," says Sam Waley-Cohen, Gold Cup-winning jockey aboard Long Run in 2011 and runner-up at the National on Oscar Time in the same year.
 
"You build such affection, just as you find doing something in a dangerous situation with a friend. You can't help but have a different level of respect for each other.
 
 

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