Racing to School’s Riders’ Programme well received at Equine Colleges

Racing to School is expanding its work alongside cross-industry partners in 2016 to focus on young people who have already declared an interest in the wider equestrian world. With support from the BHA’s Careers In Racing team, the charity has begun working with a number of students from Equine Colleges.

The Riders’ Programme is being piloted in tandem with the charity’s Work Programme – careers-based learning support in schools – and offers students a unique insight into the inner workings of the racing industry, so provides practical information on the wide range of associated career opportunities.

There is evidence of disproportionally low levels of knowledge about the sport among Equine College students, when compared with other equine disciplines. The charity is looking to address this need, while providing a varied and valuable learning activity day for all the young people that attend. Racing to School’s pilot will also include activities with Pony Club members in the summer.

The first of 15 planned events started at Myerscough College in late February, and to-date six colleges, five racecourses and almost 400 students have been involved.

Teachers and students are asked for their honest feedback about all Racing to School activity to help evaluate the impact of the charity’s work. The first few respondents have offered some encouraging comments:

‘It was a very worthwhile day. Really good interaction with the students. Ollie (McPhail – lead education officer) was great and the racecourse made us feel welcome,’ said a Nottingham Trent University teacher who attend an event at Southwell.

A student who attended an event in April commented: ‘Great amount of information given and made me realise the depth of opportunity and jobs.’

A key element of the charity’s programme at a racecourse event relies heavily on the goodwill, interest and expertise of a range of professionals. In particular, the input of the Veterinary Officers, who kindly took groups into the stable yards and that of the Equine Welfare Integrity Officers, explaining their roles and the importance of horse welfare to the sport was very well received by the students.