Caitlin – BRS Week Residential Placement
British Racing School ran an Equine charity week where 4 of us from Horse Rangers applied to attend and were very lucky to be accepted on this very special residential placement week. I was one of those rangers.
After a 2 hour drive, upon arrival we were taken on a tour of the grounds and saw our accommodation, common room and eating area. It was all lovely. We shared in rooms of 2 with ensuite! Another organistion, Ebony Horse Club from Brixton were also there with 6 of their members. After looking at the yard and race horses we were taken to a room where simulators were. We each got on and were taught how to sit on a race horse and the position in which you ride in. After understanding the position in which you ride, they put the simulator on which moved the horse the way the race horse runs. We practiced how to speed up the horse, slow them down and change your hand positions while riding. This was an amazing experience and enabled us to understand the technicality of riding a race horse and was a really good way to understand what it feels like to be on the running horse.
During the week we were up at 6am for 3 mornings running to muck out a horse we had been allocated, it was very fun and interesting task to see how their yard duties differed to the ones we do at Rangers. By 9am – it felt like lunchtime already!
We were very lucky to also visit different places in Newmarket that are part of the racing community: James Fanshawe’s yard, Warren Hill Gallops, Godolphin’s yard, Darleys Covering Farm and Palace House. These places were all different and it taught me a lot about how the horses differ to the ones I ride and look after at rangers. We learnt about Stud farms, the costs involved and the processes. We met some 3 month old foals. We learnt about what courses were organised by British Racing School, met student jockeys, visited the Gallops to understand how they train and learn. We had a great talk from Careers in Racing who told us about the many ways to get started in horse racing and the whole range of jobs I had never thought about or even knew existed.
We also had riding lessons which was another experience all together! Being able to get on a race horse and ride it in trot and canter was amazing. There were so many different instructions and adjustments to how we normally ride. It was fascinating!
Our final evening was at Chelmsford Race Course where we were taught how to read a race card, understand the betting, met more horses and professional jockeys including Frankie Dettori – who was so enthusiastic and welcoming to us all!
This week away was amazing and if anyone gets the opportunity to go there I would highly recommend it. I learned things that I will cherish for the rest of my life and I would love to go back. Thank you to HRA and Officer Harriet for encouraging me to apply and for BRS giving us such a memorable and amazing week!
Age – 11 years
Special needs – Global delay, hearing impaired, Axenfeld-Reiger Syndrome
How old was Ben when he started riding with HRA?
Ben started riding at HRA in May 2011 when he was 4. He was the youngest rider, and initially it was on a trial basis. Ben’s sister Kerry is a groom at the stables, so Ben had spent a lot of time around horses and was really ready to start learning to ride. He has really improved with his riding and moved up to Squadron 7 in 2017 where he gains additional experience with horse care and management.
What activities has he taken part in?
Ben has participated in a wide range of activites at HRA including the following highlights: –
- Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015 – Fancy Dress Competition – riding Benji dressed as Mr Bump from the Mr Men Books – they were placed second. [pic]
- Marching with Squadron 6 at the Founders Day Parades, including leading Cameo
- Competing at the RDA Open Days and HRA Gymkhana –including helping Princess Anne hand out rosettes when she came to the Open day in 2016, and presenting Princess Michael of Kent with flowers at Awards day in 2015 – [pics]
- RDA Big Ride 2017 – Ben took part in this event riding his favorite horse Benji.
- Ben has been quite the ambassador for RDA activities at HRA, with his pictures featuring on many of the Fund Raising brochures, and videos made for HRA.
Which horses has Ben ridden?
Ben has ridden a number of the RDA horses – all different shapes and sizes – from the lovely ponies Benji and Blackie, the gentle giants Sam, Dolly and Tilly and the marvelous middle sized Joey, Danny and Solly.
Does Ben have a favorite horse?
Bens favourite horses are Benji and Cameo
What does he like most about riding?
Friends, competing at the gymkhana, Windsor Horse Show, mucking out and taking part in Founders Day Parade. Ben initially joined HRA as an independent rider in Squadron 6 when he was quite young and as he progressed and improved, his mother asked for him to move onto Squadron 7, which is more aligned with the mainstream HRA squadrons. He now enjoys mucking out, grooming and badge work as well as riding. Ben’s confidence around horses and people has improved greatly since moving into Squadron 7, and he sees the HRA Logo as representing him riding on Benji. He is very proud of wearing the HRA uniform and always looks very smart when he attends all the HRA events. His favourite day of the week is Wednesday when he comes in early for his session to chat with everyone at HRA.
Val – Finley’s mothers comments regarding his riding:-
Finley has Cerebral Palsy, Global Development Delay & severe speech and language delay. He has been attending the RDA sessions at Horse Rangers with his school Manor Mead each week. Finley absolutely loves the sessions and we have noticed a significant increase in his core stability. He is even able to give simple instructions to start and stop his horse!!
Caroline – Finley’s coach for his RDA riding sessions
Finley is such a delight to have in class. He is very enthusiastic and excited to get on all the horses – some of his favourites are Joey and Dublin. During the riding sessions, Finley communicates well with the helpers and his horse, and it is no surprise that he loves trotting. In 2017, Finley was part of the team competing in the fancy dress competition at the Royal Windsor Horse Show – the theme was Toy Story and he was dressed as Sheriff Woody riding our fantastic horse Victor who was dressed as Sheriff Woody’s horse Bullseye.