Talking Horses: Lizzie Kelly leads fitness regime for Grand National

Great British Racing showcase the athleticism of modern-day jockeys in the build up to Saturday’s big race

For the first 30 seconds of a 40-second workout this week, the Equiciser was almost fun. Poised, sort of, in the stirrups of a wooden horse while pushing at its head in a vague approximation of a rhythm, it was possible to wonder for a moment if the physical demands on a jockey are really as formidable as they always like to claim.

For the last 10 seconds, it was torture, for this make-believe jockey at least. As it started to dawn on the muscles in my thighs that it really was the intention to stay balanced in the stirrups for a few moments longer, they started to protest. Angrily. And when, after what seemed like several minutes, it was finally possible to relax, it was hard to believe that any human could keep it up for nearly 10 minutes, never mind jump 30 fences at the same time as they will in Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree.

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