Following the success of the Future Champions Education Week project in 2014, Newmarket Racecourses, the National Horseracing Museum, BHEST (British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust) and The Horse Comes First initiative have combined to create a tailor made educational program for local students aged nine and ten allowing them to explore, interact and appreciate the unique heritage of their local community.
160 students from six local primary schools have already completed the first stage of the Education Project by visiting HH Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum’s Dalham Hall Stud delivered by BHEST. Specialist breeding and pedigree information regarding Darley stallions and bloodlines was communicated to the children who were also given the opportunity to tour the stud, view some of the horses as well as playing an identification word game to improve their technical equine knowledge, listening and communication skills. Practical skills were also advanced by the provision of a mechanical horse allowing the students to imitate their favourite jockeys while wearing silks.
Throughout the month of June the National Horseracing Museum will provide the students with a comprehensive historical perspective of the British Racing Industry, engaging them academically with tasks such as the “Museum Trail” and “Take One Art Project” which will encourage team work and creativity as fundamental learning tools.
The programme culminates on Thursday, 25th June when the students visit Newmarket’s historic July Course and experience the atmosphere and competition of horseracing. To emphasise the importance of family support to the industry all parents of the children will be offered free admission as an indication of the inclusiveness offered by British horseracing.
Students that attend the race day will also learn about the high standards of equine welfare in the sport and the enormous amount of care given to the racehorses both throughout and after their careers in racing through interactive on course activities provided by the Horse Comes First initiative.
The Education Project seeks to engage children with the cultural significance of their local community and demonstrate how the horseracing industry helps sustain Newmarket economically whilst simultaneously aiming to refresh academic disciplines and demonstrating the versatility of the educational environment offered by Newmarket’s equine facilities and history.
Amy Starkey, Director of Jockey Club Racecourses East Region, said:
“We all agree that it is fantastic to be able to incorporate horseracing, current and historic, into the syllabus of these local children’s learning’s.
The three locations included in Under Starter’s Orders cover different elements of the industry with breeding and history at Dalham Hall Stud and the National Horseracing Museum as well as racing and welfare at Newmarket’s July Course.
The Education Programme is a way of providing local children with an insight into the world of horseracing and where better place to learn than at the home of the sport. “