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Posted on 15th January 2020

Workplace Challenge Day for group 20.03

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. Yesterday (Tuesday 14 January 2020) was Workplace Challenge Day and our learners once again rose to the occasion.

After feeding the horses (at 6.30am) the day started in earnest at 7am with learners demonstrating their ability to operate the horse walker, to muck out their allocated horses and to tack up their first lot in one hour.

First lot was in the indoor school which gave the Roving Tutors an opportunity to familiarise themselves with each learner.

Second and third lot were on the round gallop with the learners demonstrating how far their riding had come in just 11 weeks. 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 Tutors 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 Tutors chose Tiegan Alexander with Frank as the winner with Jessica Baraclough with Zig Zag Girl finishing a close second and Abigail Ward with Mick’s Delight a short-head back in third.

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

Reflecting on the day, Roving Tutor, Victoria Smeeton commented, “Today’s wet and windy weather really showed the grit and determination of group 20:03 as they embraced the workplace challenge day with enthusiasm and dedication. Before the morning darkness had lifted the yard was a hive of activity with learners working hard to muck out and pull out their first lot for 8am sharp! The riders showed grit and resilience as some of the horses decided to test their piloting skills and see what they were made of- quite tough stuff as it goes! In stark contrast the yard fell silent at afternoon stables as the twelve students concentrated hard on plaiting, preening and polishing their trusty steeds to be in with a chance of winning the best turned out competition. Standards were high and it took some deciding! Well done group 20:03, may I take this opportunity to wish you all the best in your future careers in racing”

Group 20.03 graduate on Friday (17 January 2020). We wish them all the success and look forward to following their journeys as they establish themselves as Racing Grooms.

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