Students at ACS Egham International School welcomed ex-jockey Ollie McPhail to campus on Wednesday 10 April for an interactive workshop on life in the horseracing industry.
Ollie, aged 31, retired from horseracing after 130 wins and now works full-time as regional education officer for the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust (BHEST). His visit to ACS Egham formed part of the BHEST Racing To School initiative which aims to encourage 10,000 schoolchildren a year to visit their local racecourse, and get involved with racing.
As well as asking Ollie about his time as a jockey and learn top tips for becoming a professional race jockey, students had an opportunity to learn about the wide range of different jobs in the racing industry, from farriers to managing a stable.
Students also had an opportunity to put their horse riding skills through their paces on ‘Equicizer’, a mechanical racehorse that stimulates the movements of a racehorse and helps horse riders improve their technique and fitness.
Tickets for the workshop were sold to raise money for The British Horse Society’s charity work promoting horse welfare across the UK. So far this year students have raised over £500 for the charity, through a series of events including a sponsored ride into Royal Windsor Great Park.
Kate Loveday, a teacher at ACS Egham who runs the school’s Horse Riding Club, commented on Ollie’s visit: “The students were really excited to meet Ollie and hear about his experiences working in the horseracing industry, as well as try out an ‘Equicizer’ for the first time.
"Selling tickets for the workshop also made Ollie’s visit a great opportunity to raise some more funds for The British Horse Society and encourage students to think about the different ways in which they can help promote horse welfare.”