Monday, 27 October 2014

Riders on the storm: protecting child jockeys in Mongolia

Budgarav, 15, was disabled while working as child jockey
© UNICEF Mongolia/2014/Zetty Brake
In a ger tent in Ulziit, horse racing capital of Mongolia, 15-year-old former child jockey Budgarav rests on his crutches and adjusts the baseball cap on his head. Four years ago he was thrown from a horse during training and trampled, losing his front teeth and breaking both his legs. “It was very painful when I fell,” he says.

Budgarav wasn’t wearing any safety equipment and was not insured. His trainer didn’t want to report the injury or take him to hospital. Instead, his legs were bound with camel wool and he was warned not to tell anybody about it. By the time he did get to see a doctor, a month later, his legs and gums had become infected and his condition was much worse.