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Posted on 14th May 2020

Success for learners during Workplace Challenge Day

Our instructor team and yard supervisors work tirelessly each and everyday teaching, supporting, nurturing, and sharing with our learners their extensive knowledge and experience of the horseracing industry. They know what a racehorse trainer requires in a member of their stable staff team because they have dedicated many years of their own careers to working in hands-on positions in racing yards.

Although our learners are continually assessed, during the penultimate week of the 12-week, residential Foundation Course they take part in the Workplace Challenge Day which is a day where our Roving Instructors observe, mentor, and assess the learners during the entire day. Tuesday 12 May was Workplace Challenge Day for group 20.06 and our learners once again rose to the occasion.

The day followed an almost identical program to any other day with the emphasis being on the learners demonstrating their ability to work efficiently, competently, and at industry speed in all tasks, they undertook.

After feeding the horses (at 06:30) the day started in earnest at 07:00 with learners demonstrating their ability to operate the horsewalker, muck out their allocated horses (four), and to tack up their first lot ready for 08:30.

The first lot was in the indoor school which gave the Roving Instructors an opportunity to familiarise themselves with each learner. The second and third lot was on the round gallop with the learners demonstrating how far their riding had come in just 11 weeks. Some of the more challenging and fresh horses were ridden with the learners’ displaying courage, determination, and grit. Riding much more independently than usual with minimal instruction from the instructor vehicle created an environment more akin to what they will find when they start their work placements.

The afternoon got underway with the learners taking part in a Best Turned Out competition. In just the same way the learners will be required to turn horses out for the racecourse parade ring our Roving Instructors wanted to see their skills put into practice. Working diligently the learners groomed, plaited, applied quarter marks, and hoof oil. Wearing paddock sheets and bridles they paraded their horses for inspection. The standard was incredible and the judging process almost impossible. Eventually, the Roving Instructors chose Harriet Kehoe as the winner with Vincent Cross finishing a close second.

The day concluded with an overview presentation in the lecture theatre where the Roving Instructors explained what the learners should expect when they start at their racing yards.

Reflecting on the day, Roving Instructor, Victoria Smeeton commented, “All learners really embraced the day by mucking out four lots each before pulling out by 08:30 prompt. They had one lot in the school and two lots on the gallop and all rode more independently and gave good, constructive feedback.”

Harriet Kehoe – Best Turned Out winner


Vincent Cross – Best Turned Out second place


The overall winner of the day was David Bell who did a fantastic job throughout the day. David arrived as a non-rider but developed skills along the way and will graduate as a rider, which is a fantastic achievement. “David came as a non-rider and has finished the course by being able to ride some of the more challenging horses on the gallops. He has shown focus and determination and has worked hard on his fitness and riding technique. He has also been a mature and professional learner with a positive outlook and a good team player.”

Well done everyone!

David Bell – Overall Winner

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