Aiden Holt loses battle to continue riding but is back in good health
FORMER star apprentice jockey Aidan Holt has revealed how he was forced to vomit up most of his meals almost every day for the last six months of his career.
The 19-year-old opened up on Tuesday about his constant weight battle two months after he was forced to retire because of the issue.
“I would wake up and even the day after the races I would be too scared to eat so I would eat something and then flip it back up,” the Brisbane-based Holt said.
One of the state’s most gifted young jockeys, Holt was determined to keep going and said the procedure of ‘flipping’ became common practice for him in the last six months of his career.
“I had to do it all the time and it would be like a Monday I wouldn’t do it and that’s about it,” he said.
“The rest of the time I was that worried about my weight — so you just get rid of what you had to eat.”
Holt finally gave up the jockey dream when he couldn’t get down to 57.5kg for the ride on Epic
at Doomben on June 21.
He was starting to cough up blood and had already lost close to 6kg in the two days prior to the meeting.
Holt admits he rarely felt well on raceday.
“You just feel light headed all the time,” he said.
“When you are riding it’s all right and the adrenalin keeps you going but as soon as you hit the finish line and pull up it hits you.”
Holt is unsure whether other Queensland hoops take part in ‘flipping’ but warned young jockeys would continue to be forced to retire if the minimum riding weight of 54kg isn’t raised soon.
Sports doctor Anita Green warned constant induced vomiting was dangerous and said it could even lead to death in some cases.
“The worry is some people tip over in developing a true eating disorder and a small percentage of those people do actually die in the long run because it becomes entrenched and they lose so much weight and can literally self-starve themselves,” said Green, who is also a Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson.
“It’s also a problem with losing acid and potassium and if you do a lot of vomiting it can actually upset the chemistry in the blood.
“It can cause damage to your oesophagus as well and to the enamel on your teeth because acid isn’t what you expect to have in your mouth.”
Fortunately, Holt came out the other end safely and now tips the scales at a comfortable 68kg.
“I spoil myself a bit now and I have a steak and a beer,” he said.
“I have a lot more energy and I wake up and I’m happy to go to work.
“I started back at (trainer) Liam Birchley’s last week after a five-week holiday back home (in Townsville) and I’m riding trackwork and still doing jump outs and trials.
“If it comes off naturally I would give (being a jockey) another go but I don’t think so.”