Riding a Dream Academy Residential Week Announced

Applications have today opened for the Riding A Dream Academy’s second Residential Week which is aimed at supporting talented young riders aged 14-18 from underrepresented communities, diverse backgrounds and those that ride at urban equestrian centres.

The Academy, which is funded by the Racing Foundation, was set up following Khadijah Mellah’s win in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood when she became the first British Muslim woman to win a UK horserace. It aims to help broaden diversity and inclusion in racing by providing opportunities for other young people. The Residential Week acts as a fun introduction to British horse racing and will once again be held at the British Racing School (BRS) from Monday 30th May to Friday 3rdJune. The closing date for applications, via the website www.ridingadreamacademy.com/the-residential-week, is Sunday 13th February.

You can find out more about the activities our first Residential students enjoyed last year by watching this video.

So far the Academy has supported 18 young riders from underrepresented groups and urban equestrian centres through its first Residential Week in 2021, and the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship which runs for a year and currently has eight students. To date, 72% of the Academy’s cohort have come from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

ITV presenter Oli Bell, who co-founded the Academy alongside Great British Racing’s Naomi Lawson said, “At the Academy we are passionate about providing opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds, who have learnt to ride at an urban equestrian centre or city farm so that we can help to make racing more diverse and inclusive. We are thrilled to have supported so many talented riders so far and are looking forward to welcoming our next Residential Week group later this year. We’d love to uncover more stars of the future but more than that, this is about giving opportunities to people who might not otherwise have had it and showing what a wonderful sport racing is.”

Feedback from students and parents has been incredibly positive with one student rating the week, “100/10. Having an experience like this has really enforced what I want to do. I LOVED it.” A parent also said, “I can’t praise the week highly enough – it’s a ground-breaking opportunity that has educated me more in a week than all the years I have been trying to find out what potential there may be for my child in the horsey world.”

Andrew Braithwaite, Finance Director at British Racing School said, “Everyone involved at the British Racing School in the Academy has thoroughly enjoyed hosting the students on the Residential and the Scholarship and it is simply wonderful to see young people being given the opportunity to get involved in racing and experience the thrill of riding thoroughbreds – both groups have been an inspiration. There are obviously a range of initiatives within racing aimed at widening access and giving opportunity to those from underrepresented backgrounds but I would venture few will have as much impact as this.”

Whilst on the Residential Week students benefit from the brilliant coaching of the British Racing School instructors and learn to ride racehorses for the very first time. They learn how to hold the jockey position and bridge their hands, whilst also learning how to look after our horses. Students also have the chance to find out more about the sport by going to the races, visiting studs and other racing establishments and going up onto Newmarket’s famous gallops.

With thanks to Great British Racing & British Champions Series/Riding a Dream