09th September 2016

BHEST – a great initiative to get younger followers of our great sport

Racing to schools, a programme run by the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust (BHEST), is a great initiative to get younger followers of our great sport. They get schoolchildren in for a day of horse racing education which is in line with the national curriculum to excite them about racing. I joined them on a day at Kempton Park with Ollie McPhail and Rob Bellamy.

My day started early as the programme starts before racegoers arrive. The first set of activities consisted of taking the year 5 students from a local school to learn about the weighing room, with incorporating mathematics into the day through learning about the weights for the jockey, and having fun guessing you weight and then using the jockey’s scales as racing heroes such a Nico De Boinville brushed past on the way to work! Then the students were shown round the stabling area entrance where we saw the day’s runners arriving followed by a survey of the parade ring. This was followed by a short break and then onto the second set of activities, Rob took half the class out onto the racecourse to show them the difference between a fence and a hurdle and help them visualise a furlong which they learnt in the morning. Whilst Ollie taught the other half about the ways in which a jockey controls their weight for race day which even for me a relatively experienced racegoer this was fascinating! Over this we watched there of the races whilst we taught the children an even the teachers how to actually read a race card! This is a feat that isn’t easily understood by all racegoers.