A one week residential course for you and your pony to experience the fun of pony racing whilst developing yourself as a young jockey:
During the week you will:
- Ride your pony on our gallops whilst being filmed then watch yourself back in the classroom
- Perfect your jockey pose position on our racehorse simulators
- See behind the scenes of a Newmarket Trainers’ yard and Newmarket Racecourse
- An evening of Mounted games in teams led by a current Jockey
- Take part in a Best Turned Out competition judged by a Racehorse Trainer
- Ride your pony up our straight gallop upsides a jockey!
Jockeys that have visited Camp include Frankie Dettori, Paul Hanagan, William Buick, Frankel’s jockey Tom Queally plus many more..
Report from Summer Camp 2017 – by Oscar Palmer
Tuesday- We arrived at 10am on Tuesday which was a good time to arrive as it gave most of the students plenty of time to travel without having to leave too early and still allowed for full use of the day. On arrival, we received a friendly and professional welcome as we were shown very quickly where to put all our kit and where our rooms where, which immediately made me feel at home. I also found it very useful that the horses in the barn had been moved out, so this meant that we could all keep our kit in one place and meant we didn’t need to worry about things getting lost. We were then fully informed about the running of the camp and the health and safety aspects as well. This was after a drink of tea or coffee which was also a good way to get to know the other students on the camp. After lunch, we were then given a tour of the site, which of course was very useful to know where our activities would be, and then we had a riding assessment. This was particularly useful for myself and the two lads from America, Tommy and Teddy, as none of us had met our ponies prior to the course. It was also a great opportunity for the more excited or fresher ponies to relax a little as well, especially as some of them had had a long drive. We then put away our ponies and were taught the correct way to ‘do them up’ in the evening, this was useful as it set us all off on the right track. After dinner, we were then on the simulators, much to everyone’s excitement, where we were shown how to and practiced our ‘’martini glass’’ position and our finish riding. This pleased everyone as we can’t often practice finishes as we can only do so in a race, as Jackie explained. We also practiced our balance work on the wobble pads, which highlighted some areas to work on throughout the week for some of us. After an hour using various equipment and simulators we then headed out for 5-A-Side football on the flood lit astro court with Maureen and Tommy supervising us; dinner and squash in the lunch hall and then showers and bed at half past nine.
Wednesday- After a restful night in our own rooms with en-suites we had alarm call at seven, giving us plenty of time to change for morning stables at twenty past seven. Again, as we were all in the same barn we could all efficiently do our ponies under the supportive supervision from Jackie and Julie. We then had a substantial balanced breakfast of cereal, a fry up, fruit, toast, berries/sultanas and porridge, before a session of fall training or a session with the jockey coach, who helped us become more stylish with our positions and ride more effective finishes on the electric simulators. After one of these activities we were pleased to hear that we were then going to see the Rowley Mile. Everyone seemed to enjoy the visit, especially the visit to Sheikh Mohammed’s box and the Royal Box. Then after lunch we pulled out onto the canter circle to practice riding upsides and two lengths behind. We had radios so that Jackie could instruct us on our positions, which is useful as you can hear when you’re riding and practice straight away, rather than pulling up and hearing how to improve after. After doing up our ponies we then had fall training/the jockey coach. Fall training was very informative as it is one of the areas we aren’t really taught about much, so to know how to fall properly could come in very useful. At five o’clock we had some much needed dinner and a quiz on racing faces and silks which was very fun, although it was a bit challenging for the two American lads.
Thursday- After we had done morning stables we then changed into some smart clothes and went to visit Sir Mark Prescott’s yard in Newmarket in the BRS mini bus. His stable tour was incredibly interesting and even the two owners who were with us were surprised at the level of preparation put into the yearlings by using his pool, treadmill and start gate. We were then all very privileged to get to watch one of his strings exercise on Newmarket Heath and talk to some of his lads and lasses as they were giving their horses a pick of grass. After getting back we then tacked up and practiced riding upsides on the six-furlong surface gallop. This was great as the ground was very even and level so we could really focus on our position without worrying about anything else. This was also true for the whole week, the facilities were so good there was so little chance for anything to go wrong. This meant that we could really focus on what we were been taught. Then after dinner we had mounted games with two jockeys! This was amazing, especially to see how competitive the two jockeys were. This was great as it was so fun and it was also great to get to chat to the jockeys. After dinner, we then had supper and another football match on the floodlight astro.
Friday- Everyone hurried out to morning stables and to breakfast on Friday, as we found out that we would be riding upsides Andrea Atzeni later! We then tacked up and pulled out to the bottom of the surface gallop. As we rode up the gallops we rode in a three, with the two of us up each side of the gallop and then Andrea Atzeni rode up the middle of us and we squeezed on a little. We were paired with ponies that were at similar fitness and speed so that everyone could get the most out of it and enjoy riding faster. We then walked back to put our ponies away and watch the video reviews to help us improve our positions. This was good to watch as well because we could compare ourselves to Andrea Atzeni, which highlighted where everyone was doing well and where we needed to work on. After lunch, we had alternating platting and grooming, saddling and turnout and simulator training sessions. I found that the saddling and turnout was very insightful as to how it is done for a professional race meeting and how it compares to pony racing, as Julie had done it all before so could give advice about what to do and what not to do. We then did evening stables and got our ponies and tack ready for leading up on Saturday, before going to dinner and then filling out feedback forms. Everyone had pretty much one hundred percent positive feedback about the week. This was because it was very well organised and smoothly ran and there were also excellent facilities, like I said, and the food was also very good too, as it was well balanced and there was always fruit/salad available too if we were still hungry, which meant we all had plenty of energy to enjoy the course.
Saturday- On Saturday, we left our rooms and locked all our bags in a room, before we had 45 minutes to plait up and get our ponies ready for leading up in front of our parents, around the grass quad, to show them what we had learnt that week. We then warmed up around the round canter, before riding upsides, in pairs, up the six-furlong gallop. Our parents could ride in the BRS minibus along the side of the gallops so that they could watch and video us and Julie was also filming too, so that we could watch them back later in the theatre with our parents. We then all had a presentation where Jackie gave prizes to the winner of the quiz, the best turned out and outstanding contributions. After this we were then given a packed lunch and took away the ponies and our bags, some of us went to Gibsons to spend our discount vouchers.
The Pony racing camp 2017 was enjoyable for all of us who took part and we would all like to thank Jackie, Julie, Tommy, Maureen and the rest of the British Racing School staff for such a great week!
Contact Jackie Gill for further details or an application form. There are 10 places available awarded on a first come first served basis. Places are not booked until the deposit of £100 is received. A reserve list will be compiled on the same basis.